Let me throw out these two words… wine label. What goes through your mind?  Yellow Tail, Robert Mondovi, Barefoot, Gallo, Sutter Home… all of these produce thousands of cases of wine per year. There are around 1,000,000 wineries worldwide. Some are really small, producing just a couple hundred cases per year and then there’s Gallo, the world’s largest, producing 70 million cases per year using 80 different brand names. Our little winery, White Squirrel, is what the industry calls a boutique winery, that’s a winery producing less than 10,000 cases annually. However, as boutique as we are, we still have 18 different kinds of wine and 18 different wine labels.

Not only do we sell wine at our winery, we also sell wine in grocery stores and package stores. That means our product sits beside wines from some of the world’s largest producers with professionally designed, ad agency produced, focus group approved, wine labels.

While visiting City Liquor in Dyersburg I proudly strolled through the wine section where White Squirrel Wine was on display. Bert Chandler, the owner has several hundred wines on display and does a great job with White Squirrel. As I scanned through the wines, reality slapped me in the face. I realized our cute, beloved, cartoon-squirrel wine label did not stand out among the crowded field. In fact, our label appeared bland and somewhat lacking.  I almost felt sorry for the precious, cartoon-squirrel.

Over the past several months I have immersed myself in wine labels, looking for the style that best suites White Squirrel Winery and a label that would sit proudly beside Yellowtail, Beringer and others. I visit retailers, take pictures, do online searches for critter wine labels, check out wine label contest winners, and quiz family members. Finally, I realized I needed help with the concept I had in my head. I posted a job on an online freelancer marketplace, GURU.com.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story!

(preview: next blog will include pictures and concepts)