US-based Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest vineyard in Washington state. Parent company Ste. Michelle Wine Estates approached Denomination with a desire to evolve and elevate its flagship brand, Chateau Ste. Michelle, to become a player on the global stage. It also needed to expand the engagement of the broader portfolio mix beyond Riesling and Chardonnay, and continue to attract a younger wine drinking audience.
The brand wanted a label that reflected its strong Washington heritage and eye to the future. The new identity communicates the sophisticated legacy of Chateau Ste. Michelle and elevates the brand to visually appeal to consumers looking for a premium wine in a crowded market, while also staying recognizable and familiar to loyal fans and customers of Chateau Ste. Michelle wines.
“We’ve positioned Chateau Ste. Michelle as a contemporary classic, with a tier structure that appeals to all levels, from novice to connoisseur,” says Rowena Curlewis, CEO, Denomination.
“After a visit to the Pacific North West, we felt that regional heritage would provide greater differentiation in a sea of US competitors, as well as being more culturally relevant to foreign consumers. There’s a specific mindset in the Pacific North West that made sense for the brand. It’s aspirational but inclusive; premium but inviting; creative and forward-thinking.”
Recognizing and celebrating those cultural dynamics meant that Denomination could remain true to the brand’s legacy while bringing it into the modern world.
The creative response has been developed to allow Chateau Ste. Michelle to celebrate the differences between its tiers, particularly the popular Indian Wells and Columbia Valley ranges, increasing awareness and engagement at all levels with a broader global audience.
The sideways depiction of the château on the old label has been redrawn and now appears front-on and in a contemporary style that depicts the grounds at the winery in Woodinville, Washington. For the Columbia Valley range, the lush foliage seen in the gardens at the château are conveyed through loose watercolors, giving a modern edge to the design. For the Indian Wells range, to represent its contemporary winemaking style, foliage is replaced with a dynamic and modern red brushstroke. The new labels not only invite consumers to ponder the wonders that lie within, but they also build in other distinctive assets which can be used to drive tier storytelling and differentiation both on- and off-pack.
The winery invested in premium print finishes to capture the product’s integrity. Now the château sits as an embossed gold foil marque, delivering heritage and stature. The asset works across digital platforms – an important consideration given the desire to broaden appeal to a younger, more social media-savvy consumer.
“Our whole brand identity has been refined to give it more modernity and sophistication while maintaining immediate recognition,” says Francis Perrin, Chief Marketing Officer, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “Denomination reimagined a brand that had a traditional feel, but without compromising its integrity.
“A strong, collaborative partnership meant Denomination fully understood the brand and was able to create a long-term strategy that will enable future growth that considers packaging, broader marketing channels and trade.”
Editor of Touchpoints magazine, writer for Packaging Europe magazine and design enthusiast!