Affinity Creative’s Sweet Wine Labels

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How do you makeover the flagship label of a 700,000 case winery?  “Very carefully,” says Cynthia Sterling, Creative Director at Affinity Creative Group, who recently led a brand redesign program for Oliver Winery and Vineyards.

Since its modest beginnings in Bloomington IN in 1960, Oliver Winery and Vineyards has grown into one of the largest wine producers in the U.S. Their success is fueled by a philosophy that all styles of wine deserve the highest degrees of the winemaker’s craft, commitment to quality and respect for customer choice. With the goal of expanding retail distribution and inviting more consumers to explore their fruit-forward wines, leadership engaged Affinity Creative to “carefully and delicately” evolve the look of it’s foundational line of wines, known as The Soft Collection.  Cynthia Sterling describes the creative challenge: “Oliver’s Soft Wine Collection already had a significant following in existing core markets. Given the strong existing visual equities, we focused on evolving them to work even more effectively in new retail markets, while retaining a familiar look and feel that existing consumers would recognize.”

One of the most significant changes made was to state on the labels that these were sweet wines. Sterling explains: “Through a category audit, we determined that it was not only okay to identify the wines as ‘Sweet Red’ or ‘Sweet Rose’; the consumer actually preferred and appreciated this straightforward communication of flavor profile.” It also reinforces winery Co-Founder and Board Member, Bill Oliver’s belief that wine is an experience everyone can enjoy — it makes life a little sweeter.

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The Affinity creative team made other adjustments and embellishments to the label design, all with an eye toward enhancing, upgrading and polishing existing design elements so they work to maximum effectiveness in new markets. A new label hierarchy gave increased attention on the Oliver brandmark along with a supporting line describing this grouping as the Soft Wine Collection. The designers also simplified and enlivened the existing illustration of a grape cluster so it now appears ‘fresh off the vine’.  Additionally, by shifting the location of the fruit, the label allows Oliver name to take center stage. The new location of the grape cluster on the lower right hand side of the label is more unexpected and the addition of copper foil treatments adds a glimmer effect that catches the light, serves as a quality cue and increases shelf impact. And the elimination of the deckled edge on the bottom of the previous version help project a fresher, cleaner and more modern impression.

Oliver is the 29th largest winery in the U.S., was listed by Travel + Leisure among the top 25 wineries to visit in the U.S., and is led by CEO Julie Adams.