Never the Same Story

USA – 1000 Stories Wines

Never the Same Story

Challenge

Bourbon barrel-aged wine 1000 Stories was a stellar success for US producer Fetzer Vineyards, launching a series of similar products across the country.

1000 Stories’ winemaker Bob Blue was the first to reintroduce wine aged in bourbon barrels, and the brand was a strong presence in the double-barrel category. However, with rising competition and increasing demand, 1000 Stories felt that their existing brand storytelling no longer gave weight to their name nor highlighted its craftsmanship.

Fetzer Vineyards approached DAf to create a new brand video and key visual that added meaning to the same 1000 Stories and underscored this wine’s small batch technique.
Client
Fetzer Vineyards
Capabilities
Video

Key Visual
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Solution

Led by DAf Founder and Executive Creative Director Felipe Dacaret, DAf traveled to California to shoot the brand video on location in Mendocino County, including in a Napa Valley cooperage, to obtain an authentic bourbon aesthetic. We created a recognizably American, mid-century inspired literary look that harmonizes seamlessly with the world of bourbon.

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Brand Video

This result was a strong look and feel that reinforces 1000 Stories’ winemaking and distinguishes it from other bourbon barrel aged brands. The brand video combines a number of elements integral to the brand’s character, from the winery to city bars, the majestic Mendocino county to the great American bison; and the diversity of these shots reveals glimpses of the thousands of tales each bottle of wine holds.

A key differentiating aspect of 1000 Stories is that every batch made is hand selected and overseen by the winemaker. While style remains constant, no batch is ever the same. The brand also has a strong and emotive name, which we wanted to connect to and reinforce through the tagline. Therefore, “Never the Same Story” was chosen to express the dynamism of the batch technique, while also communicating an inspiring message to the consumers—that 1000 Stories celebrates individual creativity, nodding to the American gift for inspired storytelling.

In this sense, DAf proposed that 1000 Stories become the wine both of and for storytellers, as a way to concreate a strong emotional connection with the product.
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Key Visual

The typewriter in the key visual and brand video is a nod to the artisanal approach behind 1000 Stories’ small batch philosophy, as well as to the slow, deliberate work of the storyteller; an approach, that, while not the easiest path, brings greater closeness and understanding between the writer and their work.
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Key Visual
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This vintage appearance of the typewriter reinforces storytellers and storytelling, while use of the whiskey glass connects the wine to its bourbon barrel-aged category. The direct simplicity of the shot gives it a contemporary freshness, expressing both the brand’s value for heritage and its forward-thinking spirit.
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Client Testimonial

“The team was just fantastic, a dream, to work with! The sneak previews on camera during the day were better than I could have imagined. We thought the mood film was fantastic but seeing the actual filming, the final version will be a home run! We are so pleased to have partnered with you on this one.”

“Everything was fantastic! I only have excellent comments, no concerns or room for improvements. Thank you all for your work to make this happen. An amazing team!”
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Never the same story.

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September 25, 2020

The Dark Side of Pinot

USA – Mark West

The Dark Side of Pinot

Challenge

California’s Mark West is the epitome of total devotion to Pinot. The challenge we faced was to find a high-impact way of differentiating Mark West Black from the classic Mark West, branding it as a richer, darker, more full-bodied Pinot Noir.
Client
Mark West
Capabilities
Brand Video
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Brand Video

Generally lighter than most red varieties, the concept behind Mark West Black starkly challenges traditional ideas about what Pinot Noir is capable of.

To powerfully illustrate the “the dark side of Pinot,” we transformed the color black into the compelling protagonist of a highly charged, full-thrust brand video. The black bottle is an elegant dark force, attracting and pulling in elements that gradually unite to form the brand label. A black on black look, blended with heavy sounds and bold rhythms, places the new features of this intense Pinot under the spotlight.

As the video draws to a close, the classic Mark West is neatly placed alongside its dark alternative, further illustrating the differences between the two.

Alluringly dark, rich and smooth.

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Target

This video was first used to develop B2B relationships for Mark West and then to appeal to USA wine consumers.
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December 1, 2020

Young Red

USA – Bonterra

Young Red

Challenge

Consumers may be forgiven for thinking that wine categories are set: red, white, rose, sparkling, fortified. However, by nature, some wines seem to occupy the space between these categories. Young Red, a newly-launched product by Bonterra of Fetzer Vineyards, is one such wine.

Made from the second-pressings of rosés, Young Red is dry, clean, light and ideally served chilled. It evokes characteristics of white and rosé wines, though is proudly and firmly a red. Fetzer needed a key visual for trade and consumer use that would launch and establish this new product as the first in its category and allow it to serve as an introductory wine for consumers new to Bonterra’s portfolio.
Client
Fetzer Vineyards
Capabilities
Key Visual

Storytelling
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Solution

Positivity, youthfulness, premium cues and a connection to Bonterra’s organic farming practices were all key elements that Fetzer wanted to communicate. Knowing this, DAf developed a brand storytelling that harmonized with Young Red’s whimsical, botanically-inspired label and gave value to its origins and profile.

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Storytelling

Looking at a budding flower, it’s almost inconceivable that so much potential lies waiting. Contained, held.
And then, beautifully, it blooms. Petals are revealed and its true nature is unearthed. Ready to thrive.
Winemakers feel this same suspense while awaiting their grapes. Each harvest is the chance to produce new life.
However, as Young Red shows, beautiful wines do not have to spend years in the cellar.
This is wine’s new spring.
A wine that reflects the care that crafted it. A red with intricate notes and aromas; though light enough to serve chilled.
 A wine to open today; and savor by daylight, twilight or moonlight.
Young Red: The elegance of a red, delicacy of a rosé and liveliness of a white. A wine that holds these elements and grows them—until just the right moment.

key visual

DAf’s designers worked with a photographer to photograph the Young Red bottle alongside fresh natural flowers, lit by soft open light evocative of the afternoon and evening consumer situations that suit this wine’s profile. Being a product launch, it was important to the client that the consumer be left in no doubt that this was a red wine with a distinct profile and serving condition. Therefore, the text “Vibrant. Chilled. Red. The elegance of a red, delicacy of a rosé and liveliness of a white,” was selected.
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Result

The product has been launched to trade and consumers and the Key Visual published in Wine Enthusiast.
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Vibrant. Chilled. Red.

October 13, 2020

J.T. Meleck – Branding

USA – J.T. Meleck

Branding

Challenge

When Louisiana rice farmer Mike Frugé decided to become one of the first distillers in the US to produce rice whiskey and vodka, he needed an agency that could provide a holistic approach to his new products.

The American innovator approached DAf about a collaborative project to create and develop the brand, name it, design the packaging and create a brand storytelling so he would be ready to take his product to market. It was a big project and an exciting opportunity for DAf to unite its two passions—strategy and creativity—to craft a new brand.
Client
J.T. Meleck Distillers
Capabilities
Packaging Design

Brand Book

Video

Photography
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Solution

This project presented the chance to work on a strong strategy for the brand, while also developing its creative direction from scratch. DAf traveled to Louisiana to meet the Frugés and discover the nuances of their family farm’s 150-year history. By visiting the farm and conducting an extensive interview process with Mike, DAf had a solid basis to build his new brand to reflect both him and his family history. It was clear that the brand DNA would be a fusion of two elements: the Frugé’s family heritage and the importance of rice and crawfish farming for their family and for Louisiana.

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Brand Storytelling

A brand storytelling was developed, weaving together the Frugé family history and the importance of rice in Louisiana culture, giving value to this new product as well as intrinsically linking it with Louisiana heritage. This is the story of J.T. Meleck:

One family, one farm, one great idea…
a new Louisiana classic.

This is a story about providence.

It begins in 1896, when J.T. Meleck had the crazy idea to grow his first rice on 20 acres of marshland in south Louisiana. He called it Providence Rice. He provided hard work and sometimes providence provided the water. Against the odds, the name J.T. Meleck became synonymous with Louisiana rice, but to us he will always be great, great uncle John.

Four generations later my brother and I still grow rice – and now crawfish – on the same 20 acres as our Uncle John. We’ve grown a little since then but we are still as connected to the dirt as J.T. Meleck.

Rice has become part of the fabric of Louisiana and the Cajun culture. Served in gumbo or smothered in crawfish étouffée. Just like rice needs gravy, good times need good food and drink. We like a cold beer, but nothing beats the “brown cajun cocktail”.

Over the years I began thinking, why not make our own? And what if we could make a great spirit from our rice? It would make our Uncle John proud…

The result is something truly special. It’s not just another bourbon, or scotch, or even a blend. It’s an American Rice Whiskey, born right here on our farm, just off highway 35 in Branch, Louisiana.

And like any good Cajun invention, if one is good, then two must be better. So we made a rice vodka, too. While the road to get there wasn’t always smooth, the result certainly is. Turns out, it’s the smoothest vodka we’ve ever tasted: effortless to drink, as tranquil as evenings on the porch, and as warming as nights spent telling stories by the fire.

We’re proud to take our rice from grain to glass.

We work the dirt and grow the seed, just like Uncle John did. That’s why we’ve named it J.T. Meleck. Because our crazy idea has managed to create a whole new Louisiana classic. One that goes straight from our farm to your front porch.

That’s what we call providence.
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Naming and packaging design

Passing through an extensive strategic process the rice spirit was named after Mike Frugé’s equally innovative grandfather. J.T. Meleck represented the Germanic side of the family, as opposed to the Frugé Francophone Acadians, and was an inspiration to Mike for his ability to overcome even the worst setbacks and make the rice farm thrive.

To further represent the brand, the packaging designs for both products were steeped in family and Louisiana history, reflecting the rice and crawfish farming for which the state—and the Frugés—are known.

Louisiana’s influence is further reinforced through use of the color blue and the fleur-de-lis lily motif, while the “imperfect” style of the crawfish illustration, and of the logo itself, make reference to the honest hard work of this family and of the man who began it all: J.T. Meleck.
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Photography

Taken at the Frugé’s farm, DAf’s original photography clearly depicts the protagonists of in the story of these rice spirits: the land, crawfish, rice, love for Louisiana and a desire to always share food and good times with family.
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Storytelling Video

A storytelling video was developed to present the new rice spirits to consumers. Mike Frugé provides the voiceover, sharing his family’s four-generation story of farming the same 20 acres first planted by J.T. Meleck. Relaxed and conversational, the film features both original photography and video content. When combined with Mike’s calm, engaging tone, the visuals faithfully depict the backbone of this new brand: Louisianan culture and a family’s history. This video was a straightforward, one cameraman production, gifted to the client to share with their distributors, and produced in such a way as to capture Louisiana clearly and simply.

Brand Book

DAf created a brand book to communicate appropriate use of each component of J.T. Meleck’s branding; including brand concept, storytelling, visual identity, color, typography, photography and application samples.
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Results

The Frugé family were extremely contented with the outcome of the project. While the whiskey is coming to the end of its aging process, the vodka has already launched and is performing well in the market:

“The vodka is off to a magnificent start,” the client informed us. “The bottle is being received extremely well. People understand our story just by looking at the packaging design.”

Now in stores…
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Client Testimonial

“The work we did with DAf was the foundation of our success. Getting our story built and translating that to the label has been invaluable.”
Mike Frugé
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Brand creation from the ground up.

October 14, 2020