Vine Parma wine bottle designs from the portfolio of Russian designer, Raya Ivanovskaya. I like a few things going on here. First of all, the color combination and finishes work really well and make for a striking presentation. Second, the illustrated ‘mask’ faces and ornate heiroglyphic-type bands at the bottom are both very intriguing. I’ve also noticed a nice incorporation of the bar code on the back (close up after jump) – it seems to blend into some designed/illustrated elements which is a technique I’d love to see more of in packaging. Overall, I think this is great work and believe it would be very strong on-shelf.
The Japanese comic book “Kami no Shizuku” translates to “The Drops of God”. It’s the story of Shizuku Kanzaki, a wine enthusiast who is on a heroic quest to find the 12 best wines in the world. Described as “The Da Vinci Code” set in a Tokyo bar, the story is part mystery and part richly detailed, surreal wine review.
The curious thing, is that the Drops of God has been creating an explosive new demand for wines in Asia. A mention of a specific wine can boost sales tremendously.
The Telegraph reports:
Shizuku Kanzaki’s adventures in the comic Kami no Shizuku lead him to sample different bottles in every copy and the featured wines regularly become overnight hits, in some cases tripling sales.
The character was sent on his mission by a request in his father’s will. Once he tracks down the “Twelve Apostles” he will be rewarded with keys to his father’s wine cellar, which because the man was a great wine critic, is a valuable prize.
The comic is read by 500,000 Japanese each week and his sway over the wine market is spreading throughout Asia. Some wine importers say they have never seen such a powerful single influence on their business.
In Taiwan a single reference to a relatively obscure French terroir led to dozens of cases of the wine being sold within a few days.
He has also influenced the South Korean market, where translations of the comic have boosted sales of wine from less than a third of the market to around 70 per cent of alcohol sales.
The Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs is a non-profit organization created by members of the Burgundy wine world to broaden wine and viticultural knowledge with an ecological, environmental and humanistic approach. The Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs holds seminars (one half-day to two days long) which focus on understanding soils, wine techniques, biodynamics, tasting, botany, and many other topics.
The seminars are limited to just 12 people and are taught by a variety of people including an ethnobotanist, a creator of tasting glasses, authors, engineers and of course, winemakers. The seminars are taught primarily in the vineyards and are resuming now that harvest season is ending.
Is there anything more paradoxical than Champagne? Often mistaken as a product or category, Champagne is neither.
It is a region from which a combination of grapes, usually chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, are blended. Despite representing one of the world’s most luxurious wines, it comes from an austere region of Northern France where vines struggle in the cold climate. Many of us would have difficulty naming half a dozen brands of Champagne, yet there are more than 15,000 separate producers.
Perhaps most paradoxical of all, despite the downturn in the global consumption of French wines, Champagne has never been more popular. In 2007 sales surged by 10% and Brits drank about one bottle in every eight. It was in the fall of 06′ that provided a stark reminder of the continued success and beguiling nature of this wonderful drink.
At the top end, Pernod Ricard was unveiling the world’s most expensive champagne. The addition to its Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque range would sell for EUR1000 (about £670). Chairman Patrick Ricard informed shareholders that the champagne would be made in ‘very limited quantities’ and marketed only in China, Russia and the US. While the company would realise fabulous margins, this was very much a brand move and not one driven by the bottom line.
Despite a strong heritage and reputation, the house of Perrier-Jouet is in the shade of many of its more luxurious, notorious and expensive rival brands. The super-premium launch was intended to attract editorial coverage and snare some of the ultra-rich alpha consumers who influence the Champagne preferences of the masses. It was also designed to help Perrier-Jouet negotiate an age-old problem for all Champagnes: scarcity, or rather the lack thereof.
Despite all its allusions to exclusivity, Champagne is relatively commonplace: more than 300m bottles will be consumed this year. The problem for its producers is how to communicate scarcity while still selling millions of bottles of the stuff.
The answer lies in brand architecture. Perrier-Jouet uses its super-exclusive Champagne to build its brand, while making most of its sales and profits from its standard, mass-produced champagnes.
At the other end of the spectrum, you could buy 45 bottles of Marks & Spencer Champagne for the same price as a single bottle of the new Belle Epoque. According to Egon Ronay, that might not be a bad idea: in a blind tasting, he found many supermarket Champagnes were better than some of the best-known labels, despite costing about £15.
Supermarkets now account for 64% of UK Champagne sales and are using the wine in the exact opposite way to Pernod Ricard. Thanks to economies of scale, very discerning category buyers and a plethora of producers, most UK supermarkets can offer top-class bubbly at very attainable prices. The message that the very best quality can be had at the very lowest prices is one that all supermarkets aspire to, especially during the festive seasons. It is also a great way to attract the millions of bargain-hunters who want to stock up for that prolonged drinking binge commonly known as the Christmas break.
So there you have it. The delightful paradox of Champagne: one company making tiny quantities of it at ridiculously high prices to build its brand, while another achieves the same goal by selling huge amounts at incredibly low prices.
30 SECONDS ON … CHAMPAGNE
- In most countries, the Champagne name is legally protected under the 1891 Treaty of Madrid to mean only sparkling wine produced in its namesake region.
- Appellation d’Origine Controllee rules require that Champagnes cannot be sold until they have aged for at least 15 months; vintage Champagnes must age for at least three years before release.
- Wineries in Champagne account for 32,000 hectares of vineyards and employ more than 10,000 people. Their combined annual revenues total about EUR4.3bn (£2.9bn).
- Producers hold a maturing stock of about 1bn bottles at any time – more than three years of sales volume.
- Champagne is best drunk at a temperature of about 7 degsC-9 degsC. There are about 49m bubbles in a regular bottle.
- Sir Winston Churchill was quoted as saying during World War I: ‘Remember gentlemen, it is not just France we are fighting for; it is Champagne!’
Jeremy Boyd, Creative Director of Fuller, has recently completed a quirky new label design for ‘Vertigo’, a Germanic style Riesling for wine producers Vina La Linea.
"The name Vertigo was chosen to represent the “fear of leaping into the unknown” being felt by the clients, a collaboration of Australian wine industry heavyweights Peter Leske, David Lemire and Jason Quinn".
"An uneasy feeling of falling was visually created, with the letter ‘O’ of the word ‘Vertigo’ literally leaping off the main label as a separate piece".
"Both the label and the wine are receiving great applause just weeks after its initial release".
Another grim sign of the global economy comes from the Comite Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, the Champagne producers’ professional body. The Times Online reports that the committee has released its most recent figures which show that Champagne sales are down for the first time in almost a decade. In eight months, global sales have fallen by 2.6 percent.
Exports to the States have really plummeted, down by 22 per cent in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2007. Sales in the UK are also down but only by 4 percent, and the French consumption of Champagne fell by 4.2 percent. This may actually be a little bit of good news for Champagne producers who have been struggling to keep up with demand for the past few years. Also it may allow time for vineyards in the newly assigned Champagne districts to flourish before an increase in cork popping begins anew.
Now how about this great marketing idea – a truly portable premium wine.
Designed by award winning designer Vanessa Fogel, this labour of passion and love has finally come to fruition, with the Launch of these superior Cap Classique wines. The printing and bottling is sourced both locally and in France, giving the the packaging a distinctive European sophistication and sparkle.