By Meghan Read, Managing Director of drinks design specialist agency Denomination
For as long as we have been fermenting grapes and blending spices, food and wine have brought out the best in one another. There is nothing like finding the perfect wine to complement and heighten a meal.
From the richness of a well-aged cheese to the bright acidity of fresh citrus, each ingredient interacts with wine in its own unique way, magnifying subtle nuances within the glass to open up new depths of flavor and texture.
There is a wonderful sense of pride that comes from selecting the perfect bottle to share with loved ones over a dinner party. But what if you want to provide a non-alcoholic option? Can you still enjoy the full wine-pairing experience, without the need for alcohol?
It was this question which inspired the Miller Family Wine Company to align with renowned chef Cat Cora to launch ‘Hand on Heart’: a new line of premium non-alcoholic wines, crafted with food in mind.
A flavor profile crafted for the dinner table
For a long time, non-alcoholic wine has not had a place at the table. Despite a growing desire among wine drinkers to reduce their alcohol intake, the selection of non-alcoholic alternatives has historically been quite limited.
The few no-alcohol wine options which are available are generally perceived as overly processed and lacking the depth and character of their full-strength counterparts.
This is where Hand on Heart flips the script. The line consists of three varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Rosé. Each is skillfully crafted by the Miller Family’s winemaking team using the same techniques used for their premium, full-strength wines, with the alcohol gently removed. The result is a line of non-alcoholic wines with all the complexity and unique varietal characteristics wanted at the dinner table, with none of the alcohol.
But how do you get customers – many of whom have been disappointed by non-alcoholic wine in the past – to recognize that what is inside these particular bottles will not only taste good, but have been created to complement their meal?
It must shine through in the brand identity and bottle design.
For starters, each bottle of Hand on Heart features expert tasting notes from the winemaker, advising what it is best served with, whether it’s at a summertime picnic or grilling with friends. Chef Cat Cora also uses her social media platforms to promote the wines alongside various dishes to try at home.
A commitment to quality, written in design
The joy of sharing a beautiful bottle of wine can be as much about the visual experience as the liquid within. In developing the brand identity and packaging for Hand on Heart, we were determined to bring the same level of skillful artistry to our design as what had gone into the wines.
The non-alcoholic wine category is currently saturated with packaging which suggests a sacrifice in quality. Loud “0% alcohol” call-outs and “wine-light” messaging give the sense of something compromised.
We wanted to break this mold. We approached the pack design using the same strategic lens as we would to create a full-strength, premium wine brand. Instead of overwhelming the space with proclamations about diets, we wanted to signal that there is a premium drink inside.
It was very much inspired by the idea that any of the bottles could be placed on the dinner table and look the part alongside the full-strength wines. The foil-stamped icon of the heart in hand stands out in an arresting sculptural emboss, offset against the clean background of the textural, off-white label. Much like a crisp, white tablecloth.
The name Hand on Heart was inspired by the winemaker’s commitment to the winemaking process and dedicated craftsmanship that goes into creating each varietal. That guarantee is stated in delicate text along the neck of each bottle: “full of heart, not alcohol”.
Each of these elements is brought together with care and intention to tell the story of an elegant, characterful wine. They are designed to assure anyone considering Hand on Heart that this is a non-alcoholic wine that requires no sacrifices when enjoying the age-old ritual of having a drink with a meal and friends.