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Brewer Clifton's EX Post Facto 2016 Syrah Wins Best of Show in Packaging Contest

Sixth annual packaging conference honors innovative branding
by Stacy Briscoe
August 09, 2019

Yountville, Calif.—Brewer Clifton, a Jackson Family Wines brand, won the gold medal for best classic wine packaging and was also named Best in Show for its EX Post Facto 2016 Syrah during the 2019 packaging conference.

According to the winery, the Ex Post Facto 2016 Syrah packaging was produced with the intention of creating something “distinctly different with a retroactive effect or force.” The direction for the design, provided Brewer Clifton winemaker, Greg Brewer, was to use a typewriter font. Taking it a step further, designer Heather DeLong decided to use vintage typewriter keys.

“The Ex Post Facto conjured up ideas of prohibition and the era surrounding that time. Using the vintage typewriter was a way to invoke a sense of time,” DeLong said. “By adding the emboss on foil, I was able to achieve a realistic looking label. Taking a minimalistic cue from the front label, the back-label mimics someone just simply typing on a sheet of paper.”

Indeed, it was the label’s clean, simplistic design that caught the attention of the competition judges:

“Clean, minimalist design, quality bottle, and the foil fits seamlessly. This gives the buyer a sense of high-level professionalism in winemaking and wine quality.” —Barbara Gelfand Summer, former designer of Wines & Vines magazine and who helped launch the competition in 2013.

“It was clean and simple, but it was also different, that was what attracted me to it.” —Liz Thach, a professor at Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute.

“Sometimes wines that have very little front label presence actually stick out on the shelf. By creating this sense of mystery, the winery has drawn the customer in to learn more.” —Curtis Mann, , wine buyer for Raley’s.

Alternative, luxury, redesign and series design Gold Medalists
Judged by a panel of experts in the wine, retail and media trades, the Packaging Design Awards is a traditional component to the annual wine packaging conference that was first organized and produced by Wines & Vines magazine. This year, the conference drew 119 entrants to the competition. Besides the classic and best in show categories, the contest also asses the best in luxury, redesign, series and alternative package design.

Alternative Design
Bandit Wines Tetra Pak by Trinchero Family Estates
According to the winery, Bandit was the first traditional wine nationally available in Tetra Pak available in the US, when it launched 2003. Since the 2017 redesign, sales have grown double digits in total retail.

“I just love the level of detailed information covering the Tetra Pak. And the image evokes the lifestyle the package is made for.” —competition judge, Sarah Schneider.

Luxury Design
AXR Napa Valley
According to Kilee Lockwood, manager of AXR Napa Valley, the modern design is intended to juxtapose “old Napa” with the future of winemaking. “Our goal is to take our guests on a journey through the past, present and future of the Napa Valley,” she said.

“It takes time and money to etch a bottle. It says…there’s attention to detail and tells the customer that it costs more. The dark bottle makes the wine look elegant. It reminds me of a black sports car or limousine. —competition judge, Liz Thach.

Chehalem Winery; Redesign by CF Napa
The new look for Chehalem Winery is a nod to the estate’s 30-year tenure. “When you’ve been making Oregon Pinot Noir as long as we have, you embrace label evolution,” said president Gray Mortensen. The new label was created to pay homage to both the winery name and the namesake AVA: the crest represents “valley of flowers,” the native translation of the word Chehalem.

“Anyone who is familiar with Chehalem knows that their wines are excellent examples of quality Oregon Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. However, their original label had lots of color, making it look like a entry level Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The new label has a distinct market, classic look and clear, forward messaging, making it look like an upscale choice in the category.” —competition judge, Curtis Mann.

Series Design
Dry Creek Vineyard, Terroir series
“Our Site Specific Terroir Series is the culmination of nearly 50 years spent working with different vineyard sites within the Dry Creek Valley,” said Dry Creek Vineyard marketing coordinator Amber Duval. She noted that the decision to highlight individual vineyard sites and intricacies of the valley with the hand-drawn art was intended to parallel the sustainable grapegrowing and winemaking practices Dry Creek practices. “This particular series was created primarily with our wine club members in mind, as well as any guests who come to visit the Dry Creek Vineyard tasting room,” Duval added. “From our location in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, guests can see and experience the undulating nature of the topography while tasting wines from those specific micro-districts.”

“From the topographical map on the front label to the information packed on the back, this one sets the bar for informing the consumer while offering a handsome package.” — competition judge, Sarah Schneider.

About Wines & Vines Packaging Conference
The sixth annual Wines & Vines Packaging Conference took place August 8, 2019, at Lincoln Theater in Yountville, California. The conference sessions, exhibits and amenities are designed for winemakers, winery operations managers, purchasing managers, wine marketers and other industry professionals. This is the essential meeting day for every winery that wants to improve its packaging look and performance.

The packaging conference is now part of WBM Events, which also produces Innovation + Quality, WiVi Central Coast and the upcoming Wine Industry Technology Symposium and Wine Industry Financial Symposium, which take place Oct. 1-2 at Copia in Napa, Calif.
To learn more about the event, please visit

About the Packaging Design Awards
The full day conference concludes with a ceremony to announce and honor the winners of this year’s Wines & Vines Packaging Design Awards. Winners are announced in the categories of best classic format, best luxury design, best alternative format, best series, best redesign and best in show winner. The top 50 entries from the contest are on site during the conference where attendees review and vote for the “people’s choice” winner.

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