By Barbara Barrielle
Presentation packaging has many forms and their structure is as important as their design. Boxes have to be made so that a bottle may be shipped without damage, that the label remains forward at all times, and that the recipient is blown away upon receiving the wine package.
Dave Miller, Principal at Affinity Creative Group, explains why brands continue to employ presentation packaging and where it is effective. “Presentation boxes are used in the trade with customers as a launch box to present a wine that is new or a rebranding. The hope is that the buyer is impressed and orders the wines,” says Miller. “These packages are also used to present special or high-end offerings and to show appreciation for loyalty to members and very good customers.”
Affinity Creative Group are specialists in customizing secondary packaging and integrating these special bottle presentations with a winery’s brand identity.
Bob Kersten, Director of Strategy at Affinity Creative, focuses on implementing clients’ marketing plans in a holistic 360 degree approach and secondary packaging is part of the multi-faceted approach that includes digital marketing, social media, retail presentations, labeling and messaging. He feels that beautiful presentation packaging notches up the experience for the consumer.
“Secondary packaging is an investment in consumer engagement, less of a package and more of an experience,” says Kersten. “It is a way for a brand to distinguish itself because it’s a break from the current norm of plain brown Amazon packages. A gorgeous presentation package distinguishes a brand; it is tactile and you want to touch it, feel it and it is a delight or surprise to open the package and find what is inside. Ideally, the consumer keeps the box around and reuses it. It creates a deeper connection with consumers and the (wine or spirits) brand.”
Foley Family Wines is in the process of creating holiday and entertaining presentation boxes that encapsulate an assortment of their brands, reflecting the wine family and not just one brand. For example, a box slotted for this holiday season has what they call “something for everyone” until they choose a more fanciful name. Included in this package in a bottle of Chalk Hill 2018 Estate Chardonnay, a bottle of Sebastiani 2016 Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon and one of Four Graces 2016 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir. Another approach has been to group wines by varieties for an exploration of how terroir affects aroma and taste.
“El Pino Club is a new brand for Foley Family Wines introduced this year that showcases site-specific Pinot Noirs from our best vineyard blocks in the Russian River Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, and Dundee Hills. The distinctive packaging is a big part of this wine to reflect the unique ‘personalities’ of each of these AVA’s and our winemakers’ signature styles.” Says Foley Family Brand Manager Deborah Olsen. “To launch the program this summer in our unique Covid environment, we were looking for secondary packaging that was ship-worthy and reflected the luxury nature of the brand.
“Dave and his team worked to put together a custom three bottle presentation box with an outer shipper that safely delivered three bottle sets to our key customers. These are wines that are wonderful to experience side by side to appreciate the full range of Pinot Noir, so the secondary packaging Dave and his team developed allowed us to showcase the portfolio in a way that was on brand: both attractive, distinctive and informative.”
When done well, investing in the secondary packaging can lead directly to increased sales. When J Vineyards launched the gift box for their Cuvée 20 NV Brut Sparkling in 2019, they registered a volume increase of almost 20%.
Louis Roederer created a special gift box for their iconic 2008 Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne which includes two limited edition champagne flutes created by French glassmaker Lehmann. This presentation packaging gift box was specifically designed for high-end champagne consumers that do not have the opportunity to enjoy champagne in restaurants or bars during the pandemic and was made available through wine.com. The luxurious and very tactile package is a perfect gift or personal indulgence to enjoy during a difficult time.
There’s a wide range in the cost of different secondary packaging options depending on the wine’s price point and what the goal of the packaging is.
“Affinity produces boxes out of wood, corrugated or a .060 or .080 or thicker rigid material mostly. Wood boxes can be of pure wood, say pine, walnut, bamboo, or some other hardwood and sometimes of MDF composite, or they can be of corrugated or what we might call a rigid or set-up box. A set up box is a nicer presentation, particularly when it comes to a gift box. Corrugated is normally used if you need to be focused on costs,” says Miller.
“What we design and the materials involved, like real wood of mahogany, walnut, pine or even olive, and the volume will determine if we make the box run in the US, Canada or China,” Miller explains. “And the additional costs would probably not be expected to be covered by the retail price but would be a marketing expense in the marketing of the wines.”