Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Critters Be Gone

Recently, two BC wineries have gone through re-branding efforts with new label designs moving away from critter-centric logos. Both Naramata-based Howling Bluff Estate Wines and Golden Mile Bench's Golden Beaver Winery have replaced their cartoon animal branded labels with new, slick-looking and modern labels that better reflect the serious product within.

Howling Bluff's new logo elevates the name of the winery's home vineyard to that of a brand for the winery's new releases in 2011. The name "Summa Quies" comes from the Latin meaning (roughly) "a higher calm or peace". The new label is slick, focused and fairly forgettable - perfect really, as one should be thinking of the wine inside and not of the stylistic coyote howling at the moon on the old label. The change also elevates the packaging up to the standard to which the winery's excellent Pinot Noir has obtained over the past three vintages.

Golden Beaver Winery has gone through a more dramatic change, re-branding the winery name to Castoro de Oro which roughly translates back to golden beaver in Italian. Logos, labels, signs and their website have all been updated with an artistic beaver-wearing-a-coat-and-top-hat-pondering-life design, moving away from the Canadiana fueled drunk-beaver-crapping-on-a-barrel cartoon. The modern design is eye-catching, interesting and potentially topical - why is a beaver wearing a felt top hat... does he not know what felt was traditionally made of?

The moves are purely economical, as most business decisions are, but the aesthetic effect on the industry as a whole - one still struggling to be taken serous at times - is a welcomed side-effect for those of us who would like to see the BC wine industry flourish both domestically and abroad. The business reasons are likely rooted in the reliance of small-to-medium sized wineries on stable and repeat restaurant clients ordering their wines. Restaurants have been known to keep wines off their wine lists due to the design of the labels despite the quality of the product within. If a wine is at all hard to sell, for whatever the reason, it's not worth their time (or the space to store it).

The move away from critter-based cartoon labels and logos is certainly restaurant-friendly and a change for the greater good but only time will tell if was good for business - here's hoping.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2011 IconWines.ca

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