The 37th annual London Wine Festival descended upon us two weeks ago, for three full days, allowing us to check on all the latest innovations, designs and wine trends that have emerged over the last year. With hundreds of varietals and merchants in attendance, the Cabinet team were lucky enough to check out the latest going ons. While a majority of stands at Olympia held up wine traditions, there were some interesting rumblings from brands trying to make wine more contemporary and accessible.
Here are some of the trends we observed:
Every category wants to get in with millennials and wine is no different. Some brands got it right, like Australian brand Alpha Box and Dice who make visually appealing and engaging designs while feeling authentic. Each wine in their range is named by an illustrator who tastes the wine and creates a design inspired by the flavours. The only unifying element within the range is that the focus of each varietal is a large monogram.
Other brands try a bit too hard. While their designs are contemporary and definitely defy category norms, you do have to wonder if the marketing team understand what appeals to millennials at all. Like this sign below. It’s important that a brand story comes from a place of authenticity – no one wants the brand equivalent of a brand; it’s comparative of a parent trying to act like their kids.
Split and individual portions, along with cans and craft beer bottles were some of the alternative packaging formats that could be found dotted around the fair. This innovation is most likely targeting youthful demographics as they’re open to new methods of consumption. In a category that is dominated by purists, it will be interesting to see how these are adopted.
Illustration and Photography
Etch drawings or foiled flowery landscapes are a dime a dozen but brands like Xixarito and Nivarius brought a breath of fresh air to the fair. From blocky illustrations to surrealist, photographic portraiture and vector work, these brands really stood out from the rest.
Designs that comprised of only type also made an appearance. The scripted option feels new, but is heavily grounded in wine decoration. Slurp tries to deliver a youthful pack and utilizes this clever way to communicate multiple messages, but sometimes a pack can appear to work too hard.
Why clutter the design when a simple and iconic design can do the heavy lifting? Some things are better left unsaid.