Wine Branding | How to develop your authentic brand story

Massimo Vignaiolo
May 27, 2023
Wine Branding | How to develop your authentic brand story
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Winery Branding | How to develop your authentic brand story

All people who create their own brand have a common goal: they want to see it grow, and that more people identify with it and become part of their regular customers. But for that there is an obstacle: there are more and more alternatives in the market, which makes the scenario much more competitive and complex.

This is especially visible in the world of wine, where it is increasingly difficult to stand out from the rest. For this reason, today it is essential to create a wine brand on good foundations. And one of the bases for an effective strategy of wine branding development is the history of your brand.   A good story, that engages the reader and communicates the values on which your brand was created, will allow wine consumers to identify with it more quickly. So, if you want to learn the steps to create and tell the story of your brand, then continue reading this article.

Tell genuine stories

If you tell genuine stories about your wine, then more people will be able to form personal bonds with your winery. Therefore, in addition to giving useful information about the ingredients of your wine, you can tell some part of the viticultural and vinicultural process that makes your wine unique. Like for example, we don’t spray herbicides, pesticides and fungicides in our vineyards. But that means that we have to pass through the vineyard more often to ensure that we maintain the health of the vines and the grapes. This in turn increases the cost of production. So this is the reason why our wines cost X vs. a conventionally produced wine that costs Y.

A beautiful family story can also help your customers identify with your product. But the most important thing is that, when designing the story, think about your target audience. That will allow them to end up leaning towards your product.

Be creative. Be bold.

But does an emotional connection have to appeal to the sentimental? Not always. An emotional connection can also be generated from the humorous. This works well, especially for brands that want to give a disruptive and authentic vision. One of the most concrete cases is that of SLO Down Wines, a wine company that appeals to humorous stories, sometimes bordering on the bizarre, to differentiate itself from the rest.

The label is part of the story

Taking the label as something isolated can be a mistake, especially considering that it is one of the first things consumers see in a wine. Therefore, the desing of the wine labels should not only stand out from the rest of the wine, but also be part of the story.

For example, the label of the Zorro y Arena brand used a fox, which is part of a legend that takes place on the banks of a river, where the brand is located. The logo itself tells a story, which is accompanied by the other elements of the label.

Using a cork or a screw top, that is the question

The choice of using a cork or screw top to close a bottle of wine also conveys a message. Corks tend to be associated with tradition, and are more accepted by this type of consumer. On the other hand, screw tops are more accepted by the new generations of wine drinkers, although they also run the risk of being usually associated with cheap wines. So, you should always think on your consumer, even when bottling and closing a wine.

Should you bottle your wine, or use the box wine format?

Although bottled wine is more widely accepted than box wine, because the latter is usually associated with low-quality wines, box wine is also a format that we are seeing more and more in the market. It happens that more and more people choose the latter format, mainly for two reasons:

  • It is more economical (its content is equivalent to 4 bottles of wine).
  • It is easier to open since it does not have a cork.

Whether you use one format or another, be sure that it aligns with the message you want to convey.

3 examples of memorable marketing stories

These are some of the wine brands that, over time, have managed to stand out and generate from their stories, become etched in the memory of their consumers, generating empathy and loyalty and expanding their sales margin.

1. Francis Ford Coppola Winery

The film director Francis Ford Coppola stands out for his impressive narrative and scenographic capacity. In 1975, a year after winning two Oscars for The Godfather II, Coppola decided to purchase Inglenook, one of Napa’s most prestigious vineyards.

With strong storytelling and compelling photography, the Francis Ford Coppola Winery brand made storytelling part of the DNA of the company and its employees.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Since its beginnings in the wine industry, Coppola has turned each new product or acquisition into an adventure and a mysterious story to tell.

In 1999 he launched Sofia Blanc de Blancs, a sparkling wine created in honor of his daughter. The bottle, label and packaging reflect Sofia’s mischievous, youthful and adventurous spirit.

Another great example is the Diamond Collection: it has wines like Pinot Noir labeled with a black label and silver typography. The style of the label expresses one thing: the exclusivity of every wine.

The Coppola winery has made sure that buying a bottle of its wine is synonymous with adventure: you are not buying a bottle of wine, you are buying an experience.

2. Wirra Wirra Vineyards

Australian brand Wirra Wirra is another good example of how a good story is often the centerpiece of any marketing campaign. In this case, the brand made the bold decision that the central story would not be their own, but that of their community.

Wirra Wirra Vineyards

Participating and feeling like a protagonist, even if only for a few minutes, is something that today’s youth deeply crave, and Wirra Wirra knows this well. That’s why they have encouraged their community to share their stories by telling their own experiences and connections with their most famous wine, Church Block.

The campaign was called “Everyone has a Church Block story… What’s yours?” and was designed so that both new and old customers could remember and share with the community fun moments in their lives associated with the brand.

The campaign was a huge success and led the community to generate very positive associations between the brand and happiness and love.

3. Yellow Tail Wine

Finally, let’s talk about another Australian brand Yellow Tail Wine. This is a great example of the use of the Blue Ocean marketing strategy. The strategy consists of avoiding markets with stronger competitors (the sharks). Instead, it seeks to create less competitive markets, where the brand can become strong.

In the case of Yellow Tail, its founders decided not to take their product to the Italian and French markets, as they could not compete with the quality and abundance of wines there. Instead, they decided to look at the U.S. market. There, they managed to become strong with a particular strategy: to present their brand as fun and accessible. In fact, one of the phrases of the marketing campaign was “we take wine seriously, so you don’t have to”.

Yellow Tail Wine

But that wasn’t the only thing that made Yellow Tail successful again. The brand managed to create an easy-to-drink product that even people not used to drinking wine could consume. On the other hand, the packaging design was much simpler, easier to understand and remember than that of other more “elitist” wines. Finally, they entered the U.S. market with a price below $10, which was in line with the rest of their strategy.

The results were not long in coming. During the first year, 1.000.000 bottles were sold. Moreover, in 2003 it became the best-selling 750 ml red wine in the United States. Thus, it managed to create a new market and take advantage of it. And that is one of the keys to the Blue Ocean strategy.

Final Thougths

Developing an authentic brand story in the wine industry is essential for standing out in a crowded market and connecting with consumers on a deeper level. By showcasing the unique aspects of your winery, you create a distinct identity that differentiates your brand and builds loyalty. An authentic story adds value and perceived quality to your wine, guiding your marketing efforts and attracting the right audience. It fosters emotional connections, builds trust, and sets the foundation for long-term brand sustainability. Crafting an authentic brand story is a powerful tool for creating a lasting impact and ensuring your wine resonates with consumers in a meaningful way.

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