Randall Grahm's Wine Packaging Hits and Misses

Bonny Doon vineyard founder to give keynote address at packaging conference Aug. 9

by Wines & Vines Staff
Old Telegram is one of Bonny Doon's witty labels on which artist Chuck House and Randall Grahm collaborated. The name was a pun on Vieux Telegraphe, a classic wine estate in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Napa, Calif.—On Aug. 9, Randall Grahm, the iconic winemaker and an original Rhône Ranger, will take to the stage of the fifth annual Wines & Vines Wine Packaging Conference to deliver a keynote address on his experiences in wine packaging.

Grahm, founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, Calif., is known for an envelope-pushing creative and even comedic approach to wine marketing, including brand names and packaging. He uses puns, in-jokes, literary references, foreign phrases and internationally known artists to name and/or promote his wines in a way that few others have dared to.

Grahm earned a reputation as a kind of jester in the courtly world of wine beginning in the 1980s, but he is also an accomplished and serious winemaker who has introduced or popularized numerous innovations in winemaking and wine packaging, including micro-oxygenation, blending Rhône varietals and mastering 15 years ago how to prepare and bottle wines under screwcaps without sacrificing quality or price.

Grahm promises to share Bonny Doon’s successes and missteps in packaging during his keynote address, including insights he learned from a mentor, artist Chuck House.

He’s entitled his talk "Give This Person a Cigare: The Doon & Dirty of Wine Packaging.” In Grahm’s “dooniverse,” Cigare Volant is the name of Bonny Doon’s flagship wine introduced in 1980s using grape varieties traditional in the southern Rhône district of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The connection is that a local government in Châteauneuf-du-Pape once enacted a regulation banning flying saucers (cigare volants) from flying over the vineyards.

Creative labels and memorable brand names helped Bonny Doon become a brand incubator over the years. Grahm created several brands including Cardinal Zin, Big House and Pacific Rim, built them to substantial size and later sold them.

The Wines & Vines Packaging Conference will be held Aug. 9 at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, Calif. The full-day conference concludes with a ceremony to announce and honor the winners of this year’s Wines & Vines Packaging Design Awards. Winners will be announced in the categories of best classic format, bust luxury design, best alternative format, best series, best redesign and best in show winner. The top 50 entries from the contest will also be on site at the conference so attendees can review them as well as vote for the “people’s choice” winner that will be announced that day.

More information and tickets available at wvpack.com.



Currently no comments posted for this article.