Oct 11, 2021

Linking tradition with modernity

Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs Magnum wine has received an award in the product design category of the Red Dot Awards. We take a closer look at the bottle design.
Elisabeth Skoda

Launched in 2020, Cuvée Elena Magnum by Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs took the top award in the Beverage Packaging subcategory of the Red Dot Awards.

Every year, the Red Dot Award jury considers more than 18,000 submissions from 70 countries. Evaluation criteria, according to the terms of the competition, include ‘symbolic and emotional content, formal quality and degree of innovation’.

The white wine by Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs. The cuvée is available exclusively in the magnum format (1.5 l), and its annual production includes 1,300 bespoke bottles in frosted and transparent glass.

“The bottle is produced at Waltersperger – the oldest glasswork of France. They use high-quality raw materials, including sand and the best quality minerals elements from around the world. Their experience and many centuries savoir-faire, result in the crystal-like quality of the glass,” explains Natalia Vremea, export manager at Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs.

“The thick set, large-diameter bottle dates back centuries. It was the traditional bottle shape in Saint-Emilion in the 18th century before what we call the “Bordeaux bottle” became common. The idea behind reviving was to emphasize a link between tradition and modernity. An additional factor is that this broad-shoulder bottle allows to display the artworks from Art Russe Foundation in the  best way, both vertically and horizontally.”

Each of the Cuvée Elena magnums is handcrafted by master glass blowers Mauro Falco and Joel Lafargue at Waltersperger, France’s oldest artisanal glass factory labelled Living Heritage Enterprise (EPV). The delicate floral motifs are applied to each bottle individually by artist Victor Kirilov.

The Elena bottle design idea is by Andrei Filatov, the winery owner, who considers himself a disciple of architect Jean Nouvel, who also was behind the architectural reconstruction of Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs.

The case for Cuvée Elena is made from transparent cast acrylic. While protecting the magnum in transit, it highlights the unique shape of the bottle, its design features and the nuanced colour of the wine.

“Cast acrylic is the only material that enables to create an absolutely transparent case. This permits to see the colour of wine and the shape and decoration of bottle through the packaging. Also, it nicely and very accurately repeats the bottle silhouette,” says Ms Vremea.

Reusability was an important criterium at the design stage. Thanks to the functionality of the concept and high-quality workmanship, the case can find its place as an interior design object, e.g., as an element of table setting or stand-alone decorative object. Developed by winemaker Louis Mitjavile and the team at Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs, Cuvée Elena is the first-ever chardonnay from Saint-Emilion.

Elisabeth Skoda

Editor of Touchpoints magazine, writer for Packaging Europe magazine and design enthusiast!
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