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Bold, debossed label gets small-lot winery in the game

Caliza Winery uses modern, yet elegant labels that combine visual intrigue with a strong, tactile feel to create a high level of differentiation.
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Caliza Winery, a boutique, family-owned winery in Paso Robles, CA, specializes in small lots of quality Rhône-styled wines. The winery produces handcrafted varietals that are bold, yet elegant, including red, white, and rosé.

Carl and Pam Bowker launched the brand in 2008 amidst a very competitive marketplace. According to a report, “A Signature California Industry: California Wine,” by the Wine Institute, California is America’s top wine producer, making 90% of all U.S. wines. In 2009, California had nearly 3,000 wineries, predominantly family-owned.

Making marketing even more of a challenge for Caliza, the company is a limited-production wine producer, with the majority of its wine sold directly through the winery’s tasting room. The balance is sold at select specialty wine retailers and upscale restaurants, as well as online.

To establish their wine as a premium brand, the Bowkers needed a label that combined visual intrigue with a strong, tactile feel to create a high level of differentiation. Looking to capture consumers’ attention at shelf, the winery turned to Redbarn Marketing, a marketing communications company specializing in the wine industry, to design the label.

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“Caliza Winery came to Redbarn Marketing with the intent to stand out in a sea of uniformity,” says Redbarn owner Scot Burns. Wanting to depict the free spirit of the winery owners, along with the artisanal qualities of the wine, Redbarn designed the label to prominently feature the word “Caliza,” which is Spanish for limestone—found in the soil in which the vineyard is planted—handwritten in a scribbled fashion. The text looks as if it were done very quickly with a broken feather quill-tip pen.

The text was purposely designed to be hard to read, in the hope of capturing consumers’ attention and get them to focus on the label. In addition, a heavy debossing technique was used on the Caliza brand signature.

“We used a calligraphy base to reflect elegance and give a nod of respect to tradition,” says Burns. “We also wanted the off-white Caliza signature to seem as if it was almost carved out of the main label. And to further enhance the off-white signature and create depth, we had a scuff varnish applied only to the background color. We then left the off-white signature as raw paper for increased contrast.

“Normally people see embossing and think it’s a sign of an extra effort, but debossing is much more subtle and challenges one to think about why it appears different to them.” Debossing was also used to smooth out the paper texture within the logo, for an enhanced effect.

Color conjures feel of wine To help differentiate the varietals in the line, Caliza picked distinctive, modern color schemes to reflect the characteristics of each. For example, the label for the red varietals—which include Azimuth, Companion, and Syrah blends—are printed in black and red on 60# Fasson® Classic Felt Natural White pressure-sensitive material from Avery Dennison Corp. Black was chosen to give a solid, rich label background, and red was used to capture the vintage, matching the red wax capsule on the bottle.

The Caliza white Rhône blend, Kissin’ Cousins, is printed in a fresh, grassy green color, along with a dark beige on Fasson Uncoated Welded Litho p-s material. Redbarn says the colors were chosen to reflect the green and yellow of the vines and grapes of white wines, with a modern twist.

The color scheme for the Pink rosé blend reflects the shade of the wine within the bottle, Burns explains. “This is a smooth wine with structure and elegance, so we didn’t want a hot pink because that would have been too racy for the wine,” he says. “We also didn’t want it to be too pale of a pink because it would have been too feminine. Instead we chose a middle-of-the-road pink that felt just right.”

Caliza Pink also incorporates a dark beige color on Fasson Uncoated Welded Litho p-s material. Burns adds, “For the label appearance, we wanted to use very high-end, pressure-sensitive paper that would visually and tactilely reflect the quality of the wine. We wanted something with grain and tooth to mirror the handmade qualities of the wine.”

To top off the new packaging, each bottle is hand-waxed instead of being capped with a foil capsule, to help project the artisanal qualities of the wine and add another point of differentiation.

Offset produces clean, crisp look

WS Packaging Group converted the labels at its San Luis Obispo, CA, facility on a Gallus TCS rotary offset press. “Caliza wanted a solid, dense background color for each of its labels,” says WS account executive Ryan Mahoney. “The labels had to look clean, crisp, and high-quality. Offset provided the best opportunity for printing on the Fasson textured label material.”

To ensure solid ink coverage and matching of the PMS colors to the off-white p-s material specific to the red blends, WS used an ink drawdown technique to test the color of the ink mixture. In addition, WS developed a sculpted deboss die to achieve maximum depth on the Caliza text.

“Our goal was to create a series of dynamic labels that would ultimately bring the Caliza brand to life and make an emotional connection with consumers,” says Burns. “Working with WS Packaging to print the labels allowed us to bring the complex design elements to life, creating a one-of-a-kind label that certainly sets itself apart from other California wines.”

Says Caliza owner Pam Bowker, “Since launching the Caliza brand, there isn’t a day that goes by in the tasting room that someone doesn’t comment on how much they like the Caliza label. Once they try the wines, our customers understand the plan for a bold and expressive label to go with a selection of equally bold and expressive wines.”

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