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Gallo gets shapely

Two new bottle shapes from Ernest & Julio Gallo of Modesto, CA, are shaking things up in the retail wine rack. The brands involved are Gossamer Bay and Ernest & Julio Gallo.

The Ernest & Julio brand takes an hourglass shape in two sizes (right). For Gossamer Bay (below left) only the 1.5-L bottle has
The Ernest & Julio brand takes an hourglass shape in two sizes (right). For Gossamer Bay (below left) only the 1.5-L bottle has

"We wanted to relaunch the [Ernest & Julio Gallo] brand, to draw more attention to it," says Susan Reckers, manager of the Ernest & Julio Gallo brand. "A good place to start is with the bottle. With a proprietary shape like this, we communicate that we care about the brand and about the consumers who like the brand." Both the 750-mL and the 1.5-L sizes for Ernest & Julio Gallo have adopted the new "hourglass" shape, designed in-house by Gallo. Consumers have indicated they like it not only because of its pleasing appearance but also because the tapered-in-the-middle shape makes it easier to grab, hold and pour. The more traditional-looking bottles used previously are being phased out completely. Like the old bottle, the new one is made by Gallo. So are the front and back paper labels. The front label is distinguished not only by a grapevine that appears to be hot stamped in gold foil (material specs were not available from Gallo) but also by how small it is. "The strategy there was to use a label that wouldn't distract attention from the new bottle shape," says Reckers. "So we used a clean, minimal label." Bottles are colored dark green for merlot, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon. Bottles for chardonnay are "dead-leaf" green. Over the flange finish is a polyvinyl chloride heat-shrink capsule that extends down the neck about 2". It's clear, so the cork shows through. At the bottom of the capsule is a paper neck label. The Ernest & Julio Gallo line sells for $3.99 to $5.99 for the 750-mL bottle, and $5.99 to $8.99 for the 1.5-L size. The new bottles started appearing on store shelves in May and are available nationwide. Gossamer Bay's new look Similar in its use of elegant but spare labeling is the redesigned 1.5-L bottle for the Gossamer Bay brand, which reached store shelves in September. Gallo marketing manager Brian McFadden comments on the timing of the redesign. "That the two Gallo brands should redesign within just a few months of each other is largely coincidental," says McFadden. "But the motivation behind both is similar. It's much more difficult in today's consumer products world to distinguish yourself from the competition. Not only do you want to bring attention to the category for the retailer, but you also want to bring attention to your brand, to grab the consumer scouring the shelf and seeing for the most part look-alike bottles and labels." Once again the bottle was designed in-house. Colors are the same as for the Ernest & Julio Gallo brand. Like the hourglass bottle for the Ernest & Julio Gallo brand, the Gossamer Bay bottle has a paper neck label and a PVC capsule over a flange finish. But the flange is considerably more pronounced than in the other brand's bottle. So far only the 1.5-L bottle has taken on the new shape. "This size represents a fast-growing opportunity," says McFadden. "People are drinking better wines, but they still are looking for value. The one-and-a-half-liter size is a nice combination of value and quality." A notch above the Ernest & Julio Gallo varietals, the Gossamer Bay brand in a 1.5-L bottle sells for $8 to $12. The new bottle is available nationwide. Equally new are the clear film labels on the front and back. They replace paper labels used prior to the bottle redesign. Especially attractive is the front label, which shows a monarch butterfly on a leafy twig and has the word "vineyards" highlighted in a bar of gold. "We wanted a cleaner, more modern look," says McFadden. Before committing to the label design, he continues, "We took this label through consumer research and tested it in-market, too. It always tested very well." This label is not produced in-house, but the company isn't naming the vendor or the material specs. Presumably Gallo pays a premium for pressure-sensitive film over paper, but again, cost comparisons were not provided by Gallo.

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