Wine Packaging Designer Encourages Innovation

Founder of international design firm says 'nothing is insurmountable'

by Kate Lavin
wine packaging conference stranger kevin shaw
Kevin Shaw’s award-winning package design firm specializes in wine, beer and spirits.
Yountville, Calif.—Designer Kevin Shaw is not afraid to shake the tree and see what falls out. As founder of the design firm Stranger & Stranger, he’s created a wine bottle made of cardboard and packaged rum inside a ceramic killer octopus. Come Aug. 17, he’ll be sharing his vision of how packaging connects consumers with products and how the wine industry can look to other luxury items for inspiration.

“Something I always say about the industry is that it’s very insular, and they have to look out to other sectors and what they have done,” Shaw told Wines & Vines. “We’ve got some interesting takes on how the wine industry could start doing things slightly differently.”

The designer said that one of the biggest hurdles to breaking the wine packaging mold is response from retailers. “They all say they’re up for it,” when it comes to innovation, Shaw said, but in practice alternative packaging can be a tough sell when it comes to buyers—particularly at large chain stores. (Click here to read about the wine retailers who will be speaking at the conference.)

Shaw, who lives in Sonoma County, is a native of England, where he says the discount culture has homogenized wine packaging. Indeed, many domestic wineries also follow the model of European producers by packaging their wines in dead leaf glass with a cream-colored rectangular label sporting a sketch of an estate vineyard. Today his firm has offices in London, New York City and San Francisco, Calif., and specializes in beer, wine and spirits design.

“The Future of Packaging Design” will feature real-life examples of packages that push the envelope beyond the chateau model, including inspiration from outside the wine industry and into the diverse realms of craft brewing, spirits, fragrance and more.

Shaw’s talk will be followed by a drawing for a double magnum (3 liters) of Schramsberg Vineyards sparkling wine. Conference attendees can enter for the drawing by voting in the Wines & Vines Design Awards.  

Other educational sessions include the wine retail session, a presentation from Michael David Winery’s marketing executives on how they used packaging to grow their brand to more than 100,000 cases, tips for bottling sanitation and mechanization by professionals from The Wine Group and Trinchero Family Estates and consumer reactions to packaging, as studied by Nielsen Co.

Attendees also will have the opportunity to speak with professional designers and visit packaging exhibitors at a wine packaging-themed trade show. The event is taking place at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, Calif., on Aug. 17 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. To see the full schedule, or to register, click here.

Currently no comments posted for this article.