Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
 

Editor's Letter

 

The Leading Edge of Packaging

May 2013
 
by Jim Gordon
 
 
You know the challenge: How do you get your wine brand noticed when 10s of thousands of other brands compete against yours? One way is to create a bold brand or line that combines an attention-getting taste profile with fresh packaging.

Plenty of wineries have faced the challenge successfully in recent years. Just consider the Top 20 New Wine Brands of 2012. We published the roster created by the Symphony IRI Group in our April issue. All but three new brands have crazy names that nobody would have used 10 years ago, like No. 1-selling Skinny Girl—or Be, Acronym, Fancy Pants, Thorny Rose, Wine Sisterhood, Flirt, Insomnia, Flame Lily and Stark Raving. Gone from the hot new brands are the critter names (except for Curious Beasts).

Besides their startling names, the new wines came with some unusual taste profiles rarely considered commercially viable until this decade: Moscato, sweet reds, low-calorie, Sangria, etc. Virtually all of them closed the deal with attention-getting packaging, at least on their labels and some in terms of format and packaging material.

Bold and bright
The bold-name, bright-packaging strategy worked for these brands, all of which came from large or rapidly growing wineries, but could it work for the 7,237 wineries in the United States that WinesVinesDATA lists as smaller than 50,000 cases? Could it work for those who rely on high quality and high prices to make their livings? They have to consider the difference between the leading edge and the bleeding edge of innovation.

Innovation needs to be done very well to succeed, and not every winery has the vision or the talent on its team to pull this off. We can think of one California winery from a very prestigious AVA that created a flashy critter brand and an unforgettable label, but it gave off a downscale vibe and soon the winery was sending out eblasts offering its wines at 50% off. 

Wines & Vines contributing editor Jane Firstenfeld reports about packaging for us several times per year. “It seems to me, if you want your wine to command a higher price-point, stick with premium materials and a classic design,” she says. “If you’re going for big numbers at a low price point, make it flashy.” In this issue Firstenfeld wrote the cover story about label-printing equipment for small runs (see page 30).

Fetzer’s new package
Fetzer Vineyards of Hopland, Calif., makes more than 500,000 cases, so it’s a big enough outfit to go the flashy route. This spring it announced a deal with a new wine company, Zipz, to package new Fetzer brands Crimson red and Quartz white in a single-serve 187ml wine glass to sell at Major League Baseball stadiums. It is eye-catching because the wine will be in a sealed, sanitary container that serves as both bottle and glass. Retail distribution is scheduled to follow. This is not a strategy for everyone, and we applaud Fetzer for pushing the envelope.

Truett Hurst of Healdsburg, Calif., is a much smaller and less well-known winery than Fetzer, but it appears to be using dramatic packaging as a catalyst for growth. The executives of Truett Hurst, which coincidentally include Paul Dolan, a former Fetzer president, announced just before we went to press that Truett Hurst has filed for an initial public offering. The IPO probably does not signal that the company wants to stay smallish.

Truett Hurst’s planned packaging innovations include:

• Evocative wine wraps: The company states that it has developed, produced and sold one of the world’s first “wine wrap ” packaging concepts to Safeway stores.

• The world’s first paper bottle: Truett Hurst says it entered into a seven-year exclusive agreement with the producer of possibly the first-ever paper wine bottle.

• Proprietary square bottle: The company has designed a square-shaped glass bottle and created a brand that it says will “own” this concept.

Until now Truett Hurst has been making $17 to $50 wines mostly from the Russian River and Dry Creek Valley AVAs in Sonoma County, Calif., and selling them 95% direct to consumer. We don’t know if the company wants to keep those price points while it wows consumers with innovative packaging. But if they do, we say more power to them.

Over the years a few wineries have succeeded at combining colorful or edgy packaging with high-quality wines like Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, Calif. But too few have tried, in our view. All wineries will potentially benefit from those on the leading edge who teach consumers that wine can come in all shapes, sizes and materials—and still taste great.

 
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
 
SEE OTHER EDITIONS OF THIS COLUMN ï¿½ CURRENT COLUMN ARTICLES »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $622 million
7%
$7,995 million
5%
March 2014 $582 million $7,588 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 $252 million
19%
$1,863 million
14%
March 2014 $213 million $1,634 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
March 2015 356
22%
243
16%
March 2014 292 210
     
 
MORE » Released on 04.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • April 17-19
     
    Earth Day Food & Wine Festival
     
  • April 21
     
    Ahead of the Curve
     
  • April 25
     
    Vineyard Mechanization Workshop
     
  • April 25-26
     
    Vineyard to Vintner in Stags Leap
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
FWIW, We make a few wines from a certified Organic vineyard growing cabernet franc, merlot,...
Reader: southoldfc
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
According to the manufacturer, the logs are made through compression and not with a binding...
Reader: Andrew Adams
 
Article: Specialty Tanks Encourage Oak Extraction »
 
What is the bonding agent of the Pressed Oak Logs?
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Is Organic Grape Growing Possible in the East? »
 
Some Long Island, NY, vineyard farmers are already using nearly organic methods. They have worked...
Reader: envcat
 
Article: Loosening AVA Regulations »
 
When I see 'Napa Valley'on a wine label, it doesn't only suggest the flavors I...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Hospitality Coordinato...
 Saint Helena, CA
General Administration and
 Harvest Intern
 Sebastopol, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Marketplace Manager
 Kenwood, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Facilities Maintenance
 San Luis Obispo, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 Pt Tasting Room Associ...
 Gaston, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Consummate Store Manag...
 Chicago, IL
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Accounting Manager
 Napa, CA
Finance
 Wine Buyer Needed
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room/Guest Rel...
 St. Helena, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Sales Representative O...
 West Sonoma County, CA
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.