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Let the Wine’s Brand Tell Its Story: Branding for the 21st Century

Would most people rather buy a wine that promises them adventure—even romance—or would they prefer one that simply lists the high notes? Of course, all things being equal, they’d buy the one that promises a better life. The same goes for cars, for homes—for just about everything—even shoes.

Just do it, right?

It’s the story behind the ad that sets a brand apart.

Every winery on the planet lists the flavour characteristics, but all too few tell a story. It’s the consumer’s imagination that sets one quality wine apart from the rest in its class. When a winery can do that, it can stamp an indelible brand image on potential consumers, enticing them to buy. Create an experience for the customers, and they’ll remember that brand forever. Here are some wineries who have done just that:

Base an immersive experience on the wine offerings: Tasmania’s Joseph Chromy Winery takes pairing to a whole new level with its fly fishing adventure. Participants learn how to master the subtle art of fly fishing during the three-hour classes. Afterwards, they enjoy a two-course lunch that features some of the area’s legendary produce. Though it’s not guaranteed that seafood will be on the menu, the mental association of that brand with fish will forever stick in participants’ minds.

Associate the wine with a blissful state: New South Wales’ Brown Paper Wine partnered with a wine tasting company, aptly named “Winefulness”, to present a seminar on mindfulness, the latest anti-stress trend, combined with a wine tasting. The takeaway? Brown Paper Wine is the go-to brand when one wants to de-stress.

Tell the brand’s story: Tiki Wines, a brand founded by an indigenous Maori family, makes their culture’s values their guiding principle. From the organic, sustainable methods they use, to their symbol (a traditional hand-carved object that gives good luck to anyone who receives it as a gift), the company tells the story of the family’s commitment to quality produce and caretaking of the land, inherited from their great-great-grandfather, a Maori chief whose legacy still carries on today through his descendants’ products. Such a powerful association builds brand loyalty in both Maori and in those who appreciate the culture.

Let the label do the talking: Another Maori winery, Matua, labels its wine with a ta moko, a traditional tattoo design, each part of which signifies part of its culture. Chief among those is the topknot, a design that indicates the company’s status as the “head of the (winemaking) family in New Zealand—the first to introduce the country’s signature Sauvignon Blanc to the world. Its headship presents a powerful image to the world’s wine drinkers, who have swept the once-upstart winemaker to become one of the best-known in its specialty.

Instagram it: 19 Crimes Winery, known for its bad-boy image (its name comes from how many crimes a British person had to commit to get sent off to Australia—in its early days as a British colony), posts photos that keep the brand story going. A tattooed hand takes a photo of the company’s wines, all lined up on a shelf in some seedy bar. A set of jailer’s keys in a dimly-lit cell, a shot glass, a bottle of 19 Crimes, and a boxful of corks set beside them. It’s probably the only wine one dares order at the bikie clubhouse. Its popularity has crossed over the Pacific, where the Americans, who not only love their bad boys but make them box-office heroes, and—sometimes—even elect them to a high office.

Make it into a tourist destination: Part of the adventure of visiting R. Lopez de Heredia winery in Spain’s famed Rioja Alta winemaking region is the architecture. From their striking stainless steel tasting room to the buildings—which run the gamut from turn-of-the century to mid-century modern, the buildings alone are a marvel. Underneath the grand edifices, tourists can view cellars containing barrels crafted from oak from all over the world, and a railroad that ran between the winery and Bordeaux. On its website, de Heredia refers to its buildings as a “cathedral.” Their reverence for their product and its story is contagious, bringing many tourists from all over each year to visit the facility.

A good story grabs potential customers by the heartstrings. A great story never lets them go. Doesn’t a great wine deserve a great story?

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