This is the third post of a 4 part series where previously, I discussed the Port of Leonardtown Winery’s first year labels, and our customers demographics. In this post, I discuss the new label brand categories and their design. The last post will discuss the changes we made to the back of the labels.
In my post, “Local Wines from Local Vines,” I discussed how our wine portfolio expanded from the original 8 to 11 wines. We needed to divide the wines into a series, but the question was, “in what way?” In reviewing the different possibilities, I proposed to the winemaker that we divide the portfolio into 4 categories:
- Single Variety Labels: Wines bearing a single grape variety name, such as Vidal Blanc or Cabernet Franc.
- Lifestyle Labels: These are fun, light-hearted wines.
- Specialty Labels: Wines that are different in character, such as our Chambourcin Rosé wine or our McIntosh Run Apple Wine.
- Premium Labels: These are our serious wines, such as our 1634 and our Cabernet Franc Reserve.
He agreed with these categories and I set about devising the brand design for each category, with a goal of being able to easily tell each wine from the other.
Single Variety Wine Labels
For the Single Variety Labels, I wanted to show a progression in the wines’ scale—in terms of light-to-heavy body and dry-to-sweet. Our winemaker ordered the red and white wines for me and I devised a color strategy using an analogous color scheme. Here is the red single variety labels. The colors progress from red to red-purple to a deep purple.
White single labels progress less dramatically, using yellows. The white labels may be adjusted next year, since we did not receive a press proof and most find the white wine label analogous color scheme not as distinguishable as they could be. Always insist on a press proof, no matter how pressed for time!
Lifestyle Wine Labels
I wanted the Lifestyle labels to really stand out. I discussed early how our customers loved these certain wines—especially the Breton Bay series—and felt these wines were “their wines.” I wanted to celebrate the Southern Maryland lifestyle, highlighting our wines as part of a healthy, active, outdoors lifestyle. I thought illustrations would be a great way to suggest to our customers to “bring us along!” on their adventures. I love the graphic style of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) posters for America’s parks. These posters were created by the Federal Art Program (the visual branch of the WPA) during the 1930-40s. I think each poster makes its subject matter iconic, accessible and grand. It seemed the perfect style for these labels.
I’m proud of the Captain’s Table label, in particular. The wine’s name was inspired by the “Port of Leonardtown Winery” and our riverboat logo theme. I thought most of our decision-makers would want a river-boat illustration reference, but walking the riverboat theme is a fine line with me. How do I convey a “captain’s table” without being overly precious with the theme? My vineman brainstormed options with me on the way back from the vineyard one weekend and when Ger suggested an Adirondack chair with a side table beside it, overlooking water, we knew we had a hit! I thought it was a wonderful addition to our water-based Breeze and Shoals and I especially love it in a moonlit setting. The paddlewheel suggesting a moon came about since I wanted to keep with the “paddlewheel” symbol in each illustration, but didn’t what to repeat the symbol as a sun or clouds.
Specialty Wine Labels
After deciding on using a WPA illustration-style for the Lifestyle labels, I turned to another source of inspiration for me: vintage fruit and vegetable labels. I thought the deep, jewel-like saturated colors would be extremely attractive to our customers and help to distinguish one wine from the other. For our Chambourcin Rosé, I was sure to use the deep blue with red paddlewheel symbol. I read KISSmetric’s True Colors —Break down of Color Preference by Gender and wanted to make sure men would be as comfortable in purchasing the Chambourcin Rosé as women. I think I did okay—I hear many oo’s when people see these labels.
Premium Wine Labels
Due to customer response to our 1634 and Autumn Frost premium wine labels, we decided to keep the same look and feel. We used a premium paper and embossed + gold foil stamped the name. It looks fluid and elegant and conveys the worth of the wine inside. Overtime, we will adjust the size of the 1634 so it matches the new size, which is a bit more narrow and longer. We will also gold foil stamp the paddlewheel/water line (which I sometimes refer to as the vine love knot—it reminds me of the dried grape vine tendrils that are often left on the cordon wires).
In my next post, I’ll discuss the updates to the wine label backs. I’m really proud of them! Please let me know what you think. Your feedback is much appreciated.