Why Branding is Important: the Story behind each Wine

Aug 29, 2019 | packaging

Why Branding is Important: the Story Behind each Wine 

Make a Wine Stand Out with the right Image 

Wine packaging can go from casks, to bottles, to other dubious options like the can or the box that have recently been introduced in the market.

The most popular packaging solution is by far the wine bottle and label combination. The label should not only present relevant information about the wine, but also give it a historical and personal context.  It should be visually appealing, and at the same time make the bottle stand out from the rest of the competition on the wine shelf.

The way the wine is selected can have different approaches. For a more seasoned oenologist it might be through word of mouth, to an enthusiast it may involve some more research in order to decide which wine is the best investment. For most consumers this decision is made while shopping, based on the information they can gather from the label and its image.

The name or brand of the wine, the packaging, the kind of grapes used or the price are analysed, and usually one of the factors that most affects this decision is familiarity. Either because the name rings a bell because someone recommended it, or they’re interested in the region it was produced in, or one of the visual elements caught their eye and sparked their curiosity.


How to Use Packaging to Connect with your Consumer

This is where branding, packaging and semiotics are most important. The style, colour scheme and the imagery used on wine labels can vary a lot between price points and can have a great influence on an overwhelmed customer’s choice while at the store.

We tend to equate the use of illustrative and organic imagery with lower-priced wine, whilst higher-end wines rely more on typographic and elegant ornamental labels.

When it comes to the use of colour, black and navy are popular choices with high-end wines, to reinforce the idea of a premium brand. Gold accents are prevalent through all price points, although more so with premium brands, whereas vibrant colours over light backgrounds tend to be more associated with lighter wines, usually targeted at a younger or a more inexperienced audience. The treatment and placement of type can also have an effect on how the consumer perceives the wine. Serif fonts tend to appeal to a more conservative consumer and are used by more mature and established brands. Sans Serif fonts are linked to a more youthful and modern image, appealing to a younger and more dynamic audience.


Wine’s Branding History and its Impact

The wine label started as a bit of parchment paper tied with string around the bottle’s neck. Later, a wine’s region could be identified through the carvings on the bottle’s pewter stand.  In 1798, lithography was invented and this allowed the mass printing of wine labels – which also brought winemakers the possibility of customizing their wine’s visual identity. As winemakers became prouder of the quality of their wines, creating the perfect label to show it off became absolutely necessary. Elaborate designs and especially colour became increasingly popular.


Historical Wine Brands with Noteworthy Branding

One of the most sought after, prized, collected, and prestigious wine brands of all time is Mouton Rothschild. The long-standing tradition of the extraordinary quality of the wine was surpassed only by the early marketing techniques used to promote the brand, applied by the founder’s great-grandson, Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

In the 1920’s, selling wines with beautiful labels was one of many ambitious marketing tactics employed by Philippe de Rothschild to propel and modernize his family’s winery.

Philippe hired only the most important artists of their time to create original designs to enhance the marketing ability of the wines by making them more exclusive and desirable. This became a permanent tradition of the winery in 1946, and it has only been broken a few times ever since for special commemorations.

Since 1974 certain Vietti wines have been decorated with exclusively designed original works – lithographs, xylographies, etchings, silkscreens, etc. – inspired by the wine of a particular vintage. The print run is the same as the number of bottles produced, and the first hundred labels are signed by the artist responsible for those labels. Each work is only used once, just for the wine of that vintage.

Another very successful branding story is the one of Mateus Rosé.

The creation of Mateus Rosé goes back to 1942, when Fernando van Zeller Guedes created and launched this entirely new concept – a wine with a strong personality and unique taste, presented in an unconventional bottle.

This unusual bottle was inspired by the hip-flasks used by soldiers in the First World War, with a particular shape that stood out in a row of tall bottles. The label, elegant and innovative for the period, was an ode to its rich Portuguese background.

Mateus Rosé’s popularity peaked in the 60s and 70’s, when even Elizabeth the Queen of England and Jimi Hendrix enjoyed having this wine available in all the parties they went to.

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