The Thought Process Behind Two January Rebrandings

January is a time for both New Year’s Resolutions and, if recent winery announcement trends serve as an indicator, rebranding and reinvention.

A pair of Canadian wineries announced their rebranding campaigns this week and shared the thought process and procedure involved with updating their labels and shifting their storytelling.

Flat Rock Cellars was established in 1999 and hangs its hat on its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling from its family-owned vineyard in Niagara’s Twenty Mile Bench sub-appellation.

The winery’s new branding is the first redesign in two decades and features a new label design that reflects its limestone soil, which owner Ed Madronich said speaks to the uniqueness of the land on which their grapes grow.

“This new look speaks to the importance of our place, our soils, our rocks and our promise that the quality of our wine will never change – nor will our pursuit of excellence,” Madronich said. “We are not afraid to push the envelope. It’s just who we are.”

The rejuvenated logo references the stone cairns that dot the property, creating a link between people and place.

The project was led by Brandever, a design firm from Vancouver whose labels are displayed in museums and galleries around the world. 

Cross-sections of limestone were obtained from the property by a geologist and one-of-a-kind microscopic images were used to create bold, texturally rich images that speak to the uniqueness of our place. 

“Flat Rock Cellars has the type of rocky terroir that not only inspired its name, but also produces award-winning wines. Using this simple, but powerful connection – we were able to rework the brand into a seamless and modern creative space,” says Brandever Senior Designer Claire Tam. 

In the Thompson Valley, Monte Creek Winery is undergoing big changes, including updates to the name and packaging and investments in winery infrastructure.

The center of the new logo illustrates an M, symbolic of both Monte Creek and the rows of the vineyards. The C on the bottom incorporates the C from Monte Creek and is also symbolic of the ancient lake that formed the terroir. The negative space within the monogram that forms a V, signifies the Thompson Valley. The monogram resembles a thumb print, to reflect the winery team’s intentional handcrafted process.

Sustainable practices are paramount at Monte Creek, which practices regenerative agriculture, a practice that includes the rehabilitation and conservation of the ecosystem. Examples of the winery’s techniques include a compost program and using cover crop blends with Indigenous species. The team utilizes “chicken tractors” in the vineyard (allowing chickens to graze row by row), and is also a Certified Salmon-Safe farm, certified for its practices that protect and enhance salmon health and habitat through transformative land and water management practices.

The winery team has employed several initiatives that reduce energy consumption and waste at its on-site restaurant that are geared toward minimizing the winery’s carbon footprint. Examples of these initiatives include using pigs to eat food scraps from the kitchen, and growing produce that’s used in both restaurant dishes and drinks.

Designer Adrienne Van Haeren of Signify Design helped bring the new look to life. The design is intended to describe the winery’s nature, its environmental conditions, and its processes.

“We felt that our brand needed an update to better align with our vision,” said Erik Fisher, general manager at Monte Creek Winery. “Over the last eight years, we’ve invested our time and resources into creating a motivated, innovative, and sustainable operation, and the look we had was not reflecting this anymore. We are ready for wine lovers to understand who we are both in the bottle and on the shelf: a premium product that is delicious and sustainable.”

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