Archive for June, 2011

Last month I unveiled Kiona’s new dessert wine package. The silk-screened bottles represent a significant change in the look of our dessert wines, and we are very excited about it. The bottles should be arriving this week from the silk-screeners, so look for those very soon.

I’m writing to follow up that announcement with another one: we have new labels for our non-estate wines coming very soon. In fact, they have already arrived from the printer and are being applied as I type this. The label that we are moving to is certainly an evolution of what you’ve been used to seeing for the past several years; in fact, I presume there’s a chance that some people won’t notice there’s been an update unless they see the new label and the old label side by side.

Take a look see:


It was important for us to take a long, calculated approach to changing the look of our package. We’ve had the Kiona script since we started, but we’ve had many label variations over the years with little continuity across the board other than that script. The name Kiona means brown hills, so we decided to focus on that aspect and really build the label around that core idea. It was important that people be able to look at the new label and recognize it as Kiona, so to that end, it’s largely evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary from a design standpoint.

We wanted the label to be simple, attractive, recognizable, true to our philosophies of family and place, as well as timeless. These are nationally and internationally distributed wines; our new look had to be as appealing to folks on Capitol Hill in Seattle as it is to folks in Tennessee or beyond.

We actually got pretty far along on a number of designs, even taking one so far as to shop it around to printers. Like I said, it was important for us to look at this as a long-term change. Would a design look as good to me in 10 years as it does now?

We had to be very conscientious of who we aligned ourselves with in the industry. We are a family owned and operated business, not a mega-winery. In my opinion, there is a very formulaic “corporate look” that a lot of the bigger wineries subscribe to. It was important that we not tread too far in that direction, because that’s not where/how we compete and differentiate in the marketplace. On the flip side, it’s not conducive for our current sales volumes to look like a small basement/garage operation.

So after a very long process, we ended up with the design that you see here. It’s a wrap-around label (one piece) that shows a stylized/watercolor inspired panorama of Red Mountain and Saddleback Mountain. Red Mountain is on the front. The Yakima River is represented in the middle, and the big/sloping face of Saddleback is on the back underneath the Gov’t warning text. The paper is embossed with a texture and the Kiona script will have a silk-screen high build, meaning it will be raised from the rest of the paper. We wanted to give people a sense of place without being so obvious as to smack a drawing/picture of vineyards and/or our building on the label. The layered watercolor look inspires a wind-blown feel, which, if you’ve ever visited Eastern Washington, is fitting for the area. Best of all, it’s a visual interpretation of the Kiona name that simultaneously tells a story and looks nice (at least in my opinion).

On the “back” we have two distinct paragraphs. Some might argue that this is too much text, but I always prefer to give people information: they can choose whether or not to use it. The first paragraph is what I call the “outside the bottle” details, including brief family history, ideology, and pronunciation/explanation of the word Kiona. The second paragraph gives a brief overview of what to expect in the bottle… or the “inside the bottle” details. I am including both of these because different consumers prefer different types of information. The sweetness scale is a tremendous tool for the consumer, and one that we hope will make purchase and pairing decisions easier.

The QR codes are something that we have a “wait and see” attitude on. I personally think that it’s great. How cool is it to scan a code and get a 30 second run-down on the exact wine in your hands from the winemaker… all while still in the grocery store? Time will tell if people will actually use it. My hope is that this will appeal to the younger set of consumers who identify with the importance of social interaction and stories, and who carry smart phones everywhere they go. A decent percentage of people will look at that and have no idea what it is, but that’s why we’ve got the more traditional information back there as well.

So that’s our new label. Hopefully you like it… if you don’t hopefully you’ll keep drinking the wine inside.

UPDATE: I almost completely forgot to mention that the final artwork was done by none other than Jessica Knollmeyer, a University of Washington and Art Institute of Seattle student originally from the Tri-City area. She has aspirations to do a graphic design full-time when she is done with school. If you’re looking for someone with a the ability to listen to what you want and the design talent to make it happen, look no further. Here is her LinkedIn profile.


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