Look to the label to make your wine branding stick

The crowded shelves of the wine sector are brimming with Old and New World products jostling for prominence.

According to research group the International Wine and Spirits Record, wine now represents 57 per cent of the global wine and spirits market.

Along with bottle shape and material, a wine’s label is the main way for a brand to be projected, but on a canvas that appears to be limited by size, shape and material, designers now have a growing number of options.

Label manufacturer Avery Dennison will extol the virtues of self-adhesive labelling at a wine-labelling seminar being held in London on 9 February. David Torley, the company’s technical sales manager, says self-adhesive, as opposed to glue labelling, makes for more efficient production as there’s no time spent on ‘clean down’. Self-adhesive, which was invented in 1935, is now largely replacing glue labels.

‘Design freedom’, Torley says, is the main advantage of self-adhesive. ‘You can do clear labels, multiple labels of differing size, and use different papers or finishings,’ he adds.

Harrogate-based consultancy Robot Food has just won a contract to refresh Israeli pomegranate wine brand Rimon on the strength of a series of wine-label concepts.

Robot Food director Simon Forster says, ‘We’re now exploring the idea of applying the label on a slant. One idea is that a crown will sit on the pomegranate at an angle.’ He adds, ‘Our challenge is to create something “unashamedly different” – which is the tagline – without necessarily pushing the fact that it’s Israeli and kosher.’

Rimon’s labelling may be inspired by bright perfume bottles with a traditional design, ‘like the Prada ones’, Forster says. ‘We might add provenance with a neck tag or a recipe, which could be on a separate label.’

Kemistry managing director Omar Honigh-Csizmadia co-owns a vineyard and is producing a wine which he will brand and package himself, marketing it to UK restaurants. Royal Somló will be brought to market in the UK next year.

‘My wine will be hand-sold in restaurants and branded not just in terms of variety, but by experience,’ says Honigh-Csizmadia. He points out that should the name have been taken from the Hungarian grape variety Juhfark, pronounced ‘ewe-farq’, UK consumers may have pronounced it ‘you f**k’ or ‘you fart’. The bottle is labelled with the letter J as a signifier, so it can be sold internationally. ‘We will use other letters for other varieties which will sit within a brand hierarchy,’ Honigh-Csizmadia adds.

Honigh-Csizmadia sees wine labelling as potentially problematic. ‘There are language issues if you’re exporting, and in the US, different conditions apply in every state,’ he says.

Paul Foulkes-Arellano, managing director of Wren & Rowe, which specialises in alcohol branding, says his consultancy continues to explore labelling. ‘We’re now pushing clients to think about putting two or three labels on a bottle,’ he says.

Foulkes-Arellano adds, ‘The paper’s important, too, and you can have any paper on self-adhesive. Then there are metallic inks, foiling, iridescent inks, colour-varnish, embossing, debossing – any idea can be applied to a label.’

But self-adhesive labelling may fall out of favour altogether if wine in aluminium bottles takes off. Some early examples have already hit the shelves, and although they are ‘not for everyone’, as Foulkes-Arellano points out, it could mean designs are printed directly on to the surface.

‘We’re looking into making aluminium bottles for [canned wine company] Rexam,’ says Foulkes-Arellano. The main driver for the shift is sustainability, even though using aluminium brings its own environmental issues.

‘The carbon footprint of a bottle of champagne is nearly a kilogram when it comes over to the UK, and it consists of around 700g of glass – but we don’t re-use green glass,’ says Foulkes-Arellano.

Wine represents:

  • 84% of the UK wine and spirits market by volume
  • 18% cent of the total UK alcoholic drinks market by volume
  • 57% of the global wine and spirits market by volume
  • 12% of the total global alcoholic drinks market by volume

There are at least 5000 wine brands and more than 600 are sold in the UK

Source: The IWSR, 2008

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