Rustic Ridge Vineyards is a winemaking family business located in the hills of Jamul in Southern California.
Lien Design, on the other hand, is an award-winning branding, packaging and graphic design agency from San Diego responsible for Rustic Ridge Vineyard’s package design overhaul for two wine varieties – Sauvignon Blanc and Rose of Merlot.
The origin story of Rustic Ridge Vineyards is pivotal to understanding this package design. Founded in 2002, the winery doesn’t boast decades of tradition in the fine art of viticulture. It was a modest venture from the get-go, and the one that was (and still is), in many ways, a labor of love.
A significant part of Rustic Ridge Vineyards’ appeal is their small-scale wine production that makes about 300 cases of fine vintage every year, making this enterprise locally oriented and hospitable towards visitors from the community.
Lien Design has managed to encapsulate the winemaker’s most defining facets: their friendly and guest-welcoming stance, openness to a broader range of demographics and penchant for symbolism and mythology, into two complementary bottle designs.
The brand’s package design breaks away from the longstanding norms of wine labels. Instead of going with the ornate, elaborate design, Lien Design went for a more restrained approach.
This design school of thought results in a universal product appeal and better visibility on shelves: a wine label that is “against the grain” is easily noticeable in the sea of similar wine bottles in retail stores.
Of course, this design particularly resonates with this wine’s target audience: younger, casual drinkers instead of experienced connoisseurs with conservative tastes.
To achieve this mass appeal and accessibility, the agency opted for a hand-style illustration of a vintage Chevy truck – an integral part of the vineyard’s premises. The car is a landmark that greets every visitor and has become synonymous with the winery among the locals.
The illustration’s golden lines work well against the black and white background for the white and red wine, respectively.
The choice of typography is a very stylish, modern-looking sans-serif font in bold, vertical mode for the brand’s name and light, horizontal mode for the wine variety. The color scheme for the entire wine label consists of golden, black, white and red hues.
There is something almost sacred about the winemaking craft (and, in some regards, the joys of suitably restrained winetasting). Wine has had an enormous historical significance from times immemorial, which peaked with two wine-loving civilizations, ancient Greece and Rome.
It’s the former that gave the world its pantheon of gods and, in it, Dionysus – the god of grape harvest and hedonism.
Lien Design included a neat nod to the Greek god of wine in the form of a constellation above the car illustration.
The constellation is the Corona Borealis which, according to Greek mythology, is the crown Ariadne received from Dionysus. He placed this crown in the heavens to commemorate her, symbolically creating this constellation.
Lien Design’s story for Rustic Ridge Vineyards is for two label designs – one for each variety.
The color of the bottle or the beverage inside of it plays a decisive role in the package design process. More than just a factor that guides it, it is an integral part of the actual design.
To attain color balance, the deep red Rose of Merlot bottle sports a black label with a white brand name. The golden Sauvignon Blanc bottle has a white label with the brand name in black.
The Rose of Merlot’s standout element is the golden lines standing out from the generally dark appearance. In the case of Sauvignon Blanc, it is the brand name whose black color contrasts the bottle’s overall brightness.
Lien Design’s package design for Rustic Ridge Vineyards is a simple and elegant testimony to the winery’s dedication to its craft.
A unique trait of this wine label design is that it is resoundingly modern as well as timeless. The hand-drawn illustrations, a touch of mythology and symbolism and spot-on choice of fonts make it all work very well as a whole.
This agency’s primary expertise is in food and beverage package design. With their extensive knowledge and track record of creating memorable brands, it is safe to conclude that they have repeated this feat with Rustic Ridge Vineyards.