Safeway To Launch 12 New Consumer Focused Wines

Pleasanton, Califoria based grocer Safeway and the wine company Truett-Hurst are preparing to roll out a line of Private Brand wines that could change the way you shop for wine. Each is wrapped in vibrant, foil-like packaging designed by Stranger & Stranger to help consumer’s pair wines with special occasions.

I can’t wait to experience this in store and taste the wine – defining brands based on consumer need instead of an archaic system of regions or grape type is truly engaging the customer.

A wine called “Curious Beasts,” a red blend geared for Halloween and Day of the Dead, has a dark foil wrapper decorated with skeletons and skulls. Another called “Shuck’s,” is suggested for seafood pairings, has fish illustrations and recipes on its foil wrapper. A brut rose from the Russian River Valley is designed for occasions like an anniversary or the birth of a child.

According to an article in the California daily the Press Democrat:
“We sell a lot of wine with traditional labels on it, but to really do something revolutionary, we wanted to create something that never has been done before,” Phil Hurst, CEO of Truett-Hurst said. “Everyone sells wine on terroir, and barrel aging, and grape varieties, and that’s fine, but we wanted to sell wine on how people buy wine, and that is the occasion.”

Safeway has made a multi-million dollar commitment to sell more than 50,000 cases initially, Hurst said. Truett-Hurst expects to produce 100,000 cases of the wrapped bottles in the first year. Most will retail for $11.99 to $21.99 a bottle, but a premium champagne will sell for $50.

After conducting focus groups with consumers, the company has identified 22 events that trigger wine purchases and is creating wrappers for each of them. The first nine brands in its new “Evocative Wrapped Bottles” line are expected to be on Safeway’s shelves starting now, the company said.

Truett-Hurst worked with Founder and Creative Director Kevin Shaw of Stranger & Stranger, company based in New York and London. Shaw has become an equity shareholder in the Healdsburg company and will design new labels for a diverse list of wine marketing channels. According to Shaw:

“The idea came from our own No.13 pack. We created brands in a packaging format that stands out and adds value, interest and gifting opportunities. The added real estate that the over sleeve gives us has allowed us to engage with people in a way that a tiny back label never can. Everyone just wants to pick up and read these packs.

The best ideas are the simplest and we made them look striking and very individual. The launch range is just hitting the shelves and we’re developing new ideas every day.

I have to say that I applaud the way that Safeway have so enthusiastically embraced the idea. This is just the beginning. We’re going to see a lot more interesting ideas in the wine aisles this year.”

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.