Bingham Family Vineyard: A Wine Brand and Family in Perfect Harmony

“When you have a product, you’d better really like the label,” says Betty Bingham of Bingham Family Vineyards, “because you’re going to see a whole lot of it for a very long time. Every time I look at a bottle of our wine, I’m thankful that we spent the time and money and worked with Bauerhaus Design.”

The Bingham family has been farming in Meadow, Texas for generations. Current owners Cliff and Betty began when they married in 1981. In 1992 the farm became certified organic with the Texas Department of Agriculture. They grew mostly cotton and peanuts, rotating in black-eyed peas, sesame seeds, or whatever the market called for. In 2003 they planted five acres of grapes.

The decision started out as a practical one. As Betty explains, the water tables were dropping in the area and grapes need a lot less water than peanuts. Plus, there was a growing market for them with local wineries.

BRANDING A NEW CROP

Growing grapes was new to them but it was still farming. When they established a winery to make their own wine in 2014, however, they were in unfamiliar territory. “We had no idea what we were doing when it came to branding or marketing a product,” explains Betty.

They found guidance at the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association Conference. Rebecca Ritz, owner of Bauerhaus Design was speaking there. They hired her right away.

“I was apprehensive of the entire process of working on our brand,” remembers Betty. “I had no idea what to expect, but it really flowed smoothly. Rebecca walked us through the steps and gave us the answers we needed when we didn’t even know what questions to ask.”

winery logo and label design
winery logo and label design

BAUERHAUS GETS IN TUNE WITH BINGHAM

By learning as much as she can about a client, Becca is able to zero in on what sets them apart. Her process always begins with an extensive questionnaire asking clients about themselves, their wine and winery, and what makes them unique. It’s an essential part of designing a brand that will represent the winery’s distinct personality.

The Binghams knew they wanted to communicate a joyful customer experience with their brand. In their initial conversations with Becca, the family focused on their love of art, music, wine, and food. It was around these aspects that they built their brand position.

wine label design with music
wine label design with music

GROWING A LEGACY

First, winemaking is truly a family venture. Betty and Cliff have eleven children ranging from age 34 to 15. They’ve always encouraged them to choose their own paths but they’ve all worked in in the business at some point. “From the vineyard to retail sales, there’s such a wide variety of jobs and opportunities,” says Betty. “they each find the aspect they enjoy doing and find their niche.” Some have studied Oenology and Viticulture and plan to make a career at the vineyard.

Music plays an integral part in the Bingham family. “With eleven kids, people sometimes asked Cliff if he was hoping for a baseball or football team,” says Betty. “He’d say ‘actually, I wanted an orchestra.’” Each member plays at least one instrument and they can often be found entertaining the crowd at the winery or one of the tasting rooms. It sets the wine brand apart from others – a winery with a musical family.

Last but definitely not least, is the distinctiveness of the wine. “We produce 100% authentic, estate wine. In Texas, that’s somewhat unique,” explains Betty. “Our 100% Texas grown grapes reassure our customers that they’re exploring and enjoying the true taste of Texas High Plains wine.”

Texas wine label design
Texas wine label design


A DESIGN THAT HITS ALL THE RIGHT NOTES

Becca was able to incorporate the family’s passions into their logo and label. She transformed a musical note into a stylized capital “B,” with the family name in a sophisticated font beneath it. On the label, a drawing penned by Cliff’s mother Peggy Bingham is beneath the logo. Finally, a banner at the bottom of the label reads “100% Texas Grown / Texas High Plains.”

“We’re all so pleased with it,” says Betty. “Rebecca was very patient with us. She’s good about listening and adding little details while keeping to what was necessary from a design standpoint.”

Logo design on wine capsule
Logo design on wine capsule

A BRAND THAT KEEPS PACE WITH ALL VENUES

In addition to the vineyard and tasting room in Meadow, the Binghams have a tasting room in Grapevine, Texas that is part of the Urban Wine Trail. In fall 2018, they will open their third location in Fredericksburg, Texas. They are partnering with Yee Haw Ranch Outfitters, a retailer that wanted to include an authentic tasting room at its new location.

It’s important that Bingham’s branding and image remain consistent across all venues. Each location – and a wine club – brings different customers and sometimes even different price points. Bauerhaus provides a Brand Standards Guide to its clients. It has all the information needed, such as colors, fonts, and specs, to use the logo for marketing purposes without having to call Becca every time.

music wine label design
music wine label design

A GRADUAL CRESCENDO

The Bingham’s original five acres of grapes have expanded to more than 160 with ten varieties each of red and white grapes. Their production has increased steadily in the four years since opening. They use 10-20% of their grape yield for their own wine and grape juice and distribute the remainder to other wineries in the state. They still farm an additional 2000 acres of other crops.

Betty sees her children’s range of ages as an asset for keeping in tune with the market as their target demographic changes. She once would have described their target market as baby boomers, but her thoughts on that has evolved. She’s finding that Generation X and Millennials have an appreciation for their wine’s authenticity and they enjoy interacting with the grape growers and winemakers.

The Binghams have learned that a strong brand strategy is essential to their success. They’re confident that the recognizable logo and brand identity orchestrated by Bauerhaus Design will help their wine brand flourish for generations to come.

Wine brand logo and packaging
Wine brand logo and packaging

Leonard Wine Company: Creating an American Wine Brand with European Flair

When Tom Leonard and his son Chris established Leonard Wine Company in 2014, they agreed that nothing but the best would do. “Our wine was going to be high-end,” says Tom. “Not just our wine, but everything about our wine brand was going to be first class. We were going to find the best bottles we could get, the best corks, and the best labels.”

They wanted the best for their logo and brand identity too. They enlisted Becca Ritz or Bauerhaus Design to help transform their vision into reality.

Before contracting with Bauerhaus, the Leonards hired another designer. “We explained what we wanted. He came back to us with a very professional, very polished presentation. It was very cool, but it was the total opposite of what we were trying to do.” Instead of listening to their feedback, the designer kept trying to steer them toward his designs. “It was frustrating,” says Tom.

Finding the Right Match

An online search led them to Bauerhaus Design. Becca invited Tom to be her guest at the Midwest Wine & Beverage Conference. He liked that she specialized in the wine industry and hired her. “She understood what we were trying to convey,” says Tom. “She was very easy to work with and came up with some very creative stuff that worked. People comment on our labels all the time. The design matches our personality. She gets it.”

Becca created all of Leonard Wine Company’s packaging, including their labels and capsule design (the foil sleeve on the top of the bottle.) She also designed their website, letterhead, business cards, and tech sheets, which provide buyers with important details about the wine’s characteristics.

Partnering Across the Miles

Leonard Wine Company was founded when Chris Leonard approached his dad about starting his own wine label. “I was about to retire after 40 years in the family manufacturer’s rep business and was ready for something new,” says Tom.

The two are from St. Louis, Missouri, where Tom still lives. The plan was for Tom to manage operations from St. Louis. Chris would make the wine in Napa, California, where he had worked in the industry for the past ten years.

Wine is in their Veins

Fine wine and cuisine figured prominently in the Leonard family for generations. Tom’s grandmother had a catering business, and later a high-end French restaurant. He spent summers as a teenager working there and learning about wine and pairing food with wine. He worked in restaurants throughout college in the 1970s. “When everyone else was drinking beer,” he recalls, “I was drinking wine.”

After college, he spent nearly a year traveling around Europe with friends. “Experiencing the differences in wine from country to country, I developed an even deeper appreciation.”

Chris considered culinary school before opting for a degree in Hospitality Management. He began his winemaking career while in college, studying under a Master Sommelier. He worked in vineyards during summer breaks. He also traveled abroad, working grape harvests in New Zealand and Italy. When he settled in Napa, he applied the valuable hands-on knowledge of his European experience to work at prestigious vineyards. He learned the industry and was mentored by renowned winemakers.

Taking a Novel Approach

“Our goal was to do something different,” says Tom. “Chris wanted to make wine using California grapes, and European techniques. That’s what makes us unique – we’re a couple of guys from Missouri, making California wine in a European style.”

The Leonards decided to specialize in two varietal grapes: Zinfandel which is native to California, and Roussanne, which is less well-known in the United States and typically used for blending. “Very few people make 100% Roussanne wine,” says Tom.

Rather than grow their own grapes, they buy them from vineyards around Napa. Despite not having their own acreage, Chris is very hands-on, working the vines himself. He prunes and shapes them by hand, cultivating the crop exactly how he wants it. The result is a unique grape with a more concentrated flavor.

The winemaking and fermentation takes place at a custom crush facility. These production sites, which are common in California, can be rented by independent winemakers.

Two Distinct Branding Strategies

Leonard Wine Company’s brand is actually two branding strategies, mirroring the two different grapes. The Zinfandel is bottled using the Leonard label. It features a lion, like those found on European family crests. “There are a lot of lions in logos,” says Tom, “but Becca made ours distinctive.” She turned the lion’s paws and tail into fleur-de-lis as a nod to St. Louis. The lion is holding a wine glass.

The Roussanne brand pays homage to their Midwest roots. “St. Louis is all about the Gateway Arch and the Muddy Mississippi,” says Tom. “Becca understood our vision for the Muddy Arch brand.” The logo features an outline of the iconic landmark and the river flowing at its feet.

Elegant, Vineyard Designate Wines

The Leonards’ wine distinguishes itself as a luxury wine brand. It has a higher price point and is targeted to older baby boomers. They find that the older demographic is willing to pay more for a classically structured wine than younger generations. Becca’s design expertise helps them steer their marketing efforts in that direction.

In its first year, Leonard Wine Company produced 300 cases, increasing by about 200-300 cases per year. “For 2018, we’re at about 1000 cases per year,” says Tom. “We’re starting to get more of the market share. We have the resources and connections to get more grapes as we grow.”

The Leonards plan to open a traditional tasting room soon, but currently sell their wine to restaurants, wine stores, and online. Their sales breakdown is approximately one third each in California and the St. Louis area. The final third comes from members of their wine club throughout the country, many of whom joined before even tasting the wine. The wine’s reputation and news of their old-world techniques fueled word of mouth sales.

Private dinners comprise another sales stream. Staying true to the family’s culinary background, they host farm to table dinners. Guests enjoy special menus created by a professional chef, designed specifically to pair with Leonard wines.

Nothing but the Best

Tom and Chris recognize that building a wine brand can be time-consuming and expensive, so it’s important to find someone who understands what you’re trying to do. “Wineries are Becca’s niche,” says Tom. “It’s what she specializes in, and it shows. She knew what was best for our brand. The value is definitely worth it.”

How Market Research can help your wine, spirit or food brand import to the US

 

Wein

 

Do you know the type of wine club your customers prefer? The social media channels they visit daily? Do you know what radio stations your customers listen to? Read the top 4 reasons why your brand should use market research.

This past year we have worked with several wine, spirit and food brands on gathering market research through online surveys. We have helped the Japanese company, Shirataki Sake, use market research to learn how Americans perceive sake. For Maruhon Sesame Oil, we created surveys and used the results to determine final packaging design, bottle closures, flavor preference (dark, medium brown or clear) and pricing.

What is Market research?

 

“The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting information about a market, product or service to be offered for sale in that market, and about the past, present and potential customers for the product or service; research into the characteristics, spending habits, location and needs of your business’s target market, the industry as a whole, and the particular competitors you face .” – Entrepreneur.com

 

In a nutshell, we love market research because it helps focus the design and marketing recommendations we make.

Top 4 reasons to do Market Research:

Identify your demographics

  • If you know your target demographic for your wine, spirit or food brand, it will help you know where to advertise and what social media channels your brand should be on. Are most of your consumers Millennials? Then being on Instagram is a must, as well as having innovative events.
  • Knowing your demographics can also help you know which radio station to advertise on and which magazine to appear in. All media rep’s will be able to tell you exactly which demographics (age, male/female, zip codes, etc) listen to their radio station or read their magazine.

Guide your communication with current and future customers

  • Through Market research you can determine how your customers prefer to be communicated with. Weekly or monthly email? Social Media? Snail Mail? More information on your website? All of these things can easily be determined with market research.
  • Knowing who your customer is, helps you write in the correct tone of voice.
  • Market Research is particularly important in crafting your yearly marketing plan.

Identify opportunities

  • One wine brand we worked with found out that their most loyal customers had wine club memberships elsewhere, which lead them to start their own wine club.
  • Our client, Shirataki Sake, found out that many Americans don’t realize that sake can be paired like wine, which lead to more educational posts on social media and in their email newsletter.

Helps you minimize risk

  • Are you planning on importing your product into the US? Market Research is a great tool to find out the preferences of the people in the cities you plan to launch in.
  • For both Japanese companies, Maruhon Sesame Oil and Shirataki Sake, we developed questions to determine which flavors, bottle closures, buying behavior trends, plus key selling words like “100% pure” and bottle styles that consumers preferred.
  • Want to find out if your customers are interested in trendy wines, like rosé, or a new wine varietal? Surveys are a great way to find out this information. Plus, since online surveys can be filled out anonymously, your customers are more likely to be honest.
  • Which is easier – paying money up front to figure out preferences or launching a product that doesn’t sell?

How can you do market research?

Surveymonkey.com is a great free online resource to build your survey. Not sure what types of questions to ask? Schedule a free 30 minute chat with owner, Rebecca Ritz.

Why your response rate on social media is important

Print

Imagine this scene: You are a dinner party and the person next to you asks you a question. You don’t respond, but just keeping eating. They ask the question again thinking you maybe just didn’t hear it. They are again met with silence. How do you think that person feels? Incredibly frustrated and I bet every time they think of you in the future they are going to think of you negatively.

Now, think of this: U.S. Millennials prefer to use social media to ask questions, while older demographics prefer email. If someone asks your business a question on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and are met with silence, how do you think they will view your brand? Not so good.

Why is a fast response so important?

Every potential customer that comments is looking for affirmation from your brand. Plus, you can build those positive responses into growing your brand online. Reviews and positive comments can potentially be seen by their friends, which is a great way to get your customers to do your advertising for you.

How fast should you respond?

We tell our customers to reply within one business day or sooner. For example, one of our new clients, Shirataki Saké, that we do Facebook and Twitter monthly posting, recently launched in the U.S. market by throwing a New Years Eve party with Houseparty.com. We responded to every comment within hours and often within an hour.

ResponseRate_black

What if they respond negatively?

What should you do if a customer responds negatively or is upset they were not chosen? Respond with empathy, like we did here:

Response_Negative_black

How can responses help you sell more?

Here is how we converted a happy customer to a 5 star review. First, ask a customer that comments often if they can be your first review:

Sake review request_Review_black

Second, once they leave a review, again respond with a positive comment.

 

Positive reviews show others your brand is high quality and that your company cares about their customers.

 

FirstReviewSake_black

This leads us to our last response rule: Follow your fans and comment, like and re-post their photos. Want to know about what you should post on social media? Read 5 secrets to improve your winery’s social media results.

Want examples? Join me at the #TWGGA17 conference

I’m presenting Content Marketing for Wineries: Create, Share and Engage with Your Customers at the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association’s 2017 Annual Conference & Trade Show. My session is scheduled for Thursday, February 16 at 2:15 pm. You also can stop by our Bauerhaus Design booth #205. I’d love to meet you in person!

 

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Logo design of the new wine brand: Leonard

wine brand logo design and branding

How do you create a lion that is fierce, yet contemplative and is the cornerstone of a future wine brand?

Owners of the Leonard wine brand reached out to me earlier this year to discuss creating a wine brand targeting consumers that regularly purchase $30 bottles of wine. This father and son duo live in two different states, but I was still able to meet in person with one in Sacramento, California while in town for the Unified Grape and Wine Symposium and the other at the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Next, I reviewed Leonard’s answers to the business strategy and design questionnaire I sent over. The client specifically requested “a bright gold rampant lion holding up a Bordeaux glass of wine that has a body that is detailed, angular, and fierce. For the face, the goal is to create a studious and contemplative look, as he looks up to study the contents of the glass of wine. Somehow combine the brawn of a fierce lion, with the brains to show restraint and examination.”

I spent hours researching and then went to work designing 3 logo options, each with a hand drawn lion and paired with classic serif typography. The type/font choice is a big decision when it comes to wine label design. Part of my process involves creating an entire page of the word “Leonard” in different typefaces and then choosing the type that best pairs with the target consumer. For example, a serif font communicates “we are a traditional wine” while a sans-serif gives the message “we are non-traditional or a modern wine.”

It was very important for the lion to be 100% original, since this lion will end up being the main focal point for the wine label. After several different hand drawn lion designs were presented, we ultimately ended up choosing this fierce yet contemplative one:

Leonard wine logo design

Next up, I am in the process of creating the Leonard wine label and their business cards.

What did Leonard think of working with me?

I have often found that the best description of how I work often comes from clients describing the process. Here is what Leonard had to say of working with me on the logo design:

We are a family originally from Missouri, now beginning a brand in the wine business. Our goal is to keep our product line and business model succinct, keeping communication fluid and close knit as we build this brand. After briefly working with a designer in CA, we noticed that our input for our brand was taken only with a grain of salt. We experienced a poor exchange of communication throughout those initial stages of development. As a family, we decided to end our relationship with this CA designer.

Going back to our roots in the Midwest, we found Bauerhaus Design and began working with Becca on our wine label, Leonard. Becca was happy to pick up where our first designer left off, and since the inception of our relationship with Becca, our brand development has only achieved greater progress as each exchange has taken place.

In creating our brand, Becca’s advice was to start with logo design. She has created a combination of image and family name for our logo. The presentation directly reflects our thoughts on wine and how we wish to be portrayed to the consumer. Since no one in our family is a designer, we could not have envisioned how the design would actually turn out on paper. The end result captures everything we could have imagined with Beccas personality and perception of tasteful design, intertwined. When you meet Becca you see she is fun. If you were to meet me you may see I am a bit dull. Our logo is serious, as requested, but with a great presence of personality thrown in by our designer.

Although it is important to discuss how pleased we are with the final logo designed by Becca, we would also like to share the importance of working with a designer who says, “yes, I can try this” or “yes, I can do this”. It is evident that this person’s attitude on brand development is to empower all of the ideas given by her client, while using her expertise to steer the client in the right direction. Unlike our first designer, Becca never told us “no, I won’t try this” during the logo design.

There are, in fact, many more positive comments to share about Becca’s work ethic and performance. In keeping with our brand identity of succinct and meaningful, we hope the meat and potatoes of Becca’s creativity and positivity has been transposed through this recommendation. We would like to officially thank you here, on paper Becca, and say how pleased we are to continue the design and branding process with you.

Chris & Tom Leonard

Case study: Creating the wine brand of Nelson Hill Winery

I’m excited to show off a large project I’ve been working on this year: Nelson Hill Winery’s logo design, wine label design and website design. Nelson Hill Winery is a boutique winery specializing in single vineyard Pinto Noir and are located in Anderson Valley, California. I first met owner Barbara Hill, through a partnership with Bruce at Digital Wine Marketing. I provided website designs and Digital Wine Marketing programmed the website in the Drupal Content Mangement System (CMS). The e-commerce section is integrated with Nexternal eCommerce Platform.

Before:

Once the website design process started, we realized that Nelson Hill Winery did not have a strong logo design. All they really had was the below wine label design:

Before wine label redesign

I talked to Barbara about their winery, their goals and target audience and where their name “Nelson Hill Winery” came from.

A little more about Nelson Hill Winery from Proprietors Barbara and Greg Hill:

Our Deep End Vineyard is planted on a rocky, south-facing slope, nestled in the elbow of an ancient spring-fed creek in the heart of the Anderson Valley, a few miles from the Mendocino coast. We produce small lots of premium pinot noir in the Burgundian style: delicate, subtle, with flavors of black cherry and spice, uniquely crafted to enhance your dining experience. We hope you’ll enjoy the fruit of our passion for old-world pinot noir!

Where did the name “Nelson Hill Winery” come from?

Barbara’s maiden name is Nelson. It was always meant to be a “total family” venture to pass on to generations in the future. Everyone loves to come and help do whatever they can, or just camp in our backyard. We had over 50 people for Thanksgiving one year.

Logo Design

The final logo design is a custom illustration I drew from their old world negociant’s French scale that they have at their winery in Mendocino County, California. Barbara and Greg love that it is “very recognizable, almost unique, symbolizes our love of old French things, and our preference for old world wine making, more Burgundian techniques, etc.”

And while I presented several different type options, they ended up choosing the same fonts they had on their original wine label. I added in spacing between letters to give it some breathing room and have the ability to easily scale down. I also simplified the color scheme to black and a deep red.

 

Nelson Hills Winery logo design

Wine Label Design

For their wine label design we focused on creating a classic design to target the high end consumers that purchase their wine at their boutique winery or at Pinot Noir events in California. I chose a textured paper to help give it the feel of fine stationary.

NelsonHillWineryfrontwinelabel

I think it’s important for wine labels to work on three levels. One, catch your attention across the aisle or room. Secondly, once you pick up a wine bottle, it needs to catch your interest. In this case, we wanted the focus to be on the French scale. The last level, is once you have the bottle home let the consumer read a little about your brand story. Another words, what is unique about your winery?

NelsonHillWinerywinelabeldesign

Winery website Design

For the website, I provided Nelson Hill Winery with two different website design options and they chose to have a large image gallery with three main boxes:

WineryWebsiteDesign

See the live website at www.nelsonhillwinery.com.

NelsonHillHomeMockup