Premium wine now offered in a stylish, convenient format

By Kari Embree in Beverage Packaging on October 02, 2014

Single-serve wine consumption has been on the rise due to its appealing features like convenience, affordability and portion control. Responding to this growing demand and seeing an opportunity to introduce true innovation in a traditional category, Italian American television personality and journalist Giuliana Rancic has launched an all new, cutting-edge wine brand: XO, G.

After discovering a wine package last year called StackTek, which consists of four prefilled, individually sealed, shatterproof, stemless wine glasses that snap together to form a perfect equivalent of a 750mL bottle, Rancic reached out to the team at Stack to explore opportunities to bring this convenient package to women worldwide. What followed was a multi-country wine brand, XO, G that reflected Rancic’s persona, with a stylish design that looks like a personal gift from Rancic to her fans, and imported wines from her favorite global appellations. 

Packaging Digest caught up with the team at Stack to discuss this innovative partnership and what the packaging design and process entailed.

What is the motivation behind introducing this wine brand?

Stack team: The partnership began when Giuliana opened a bottle of Stack Wine in her home after a long day on the set. She loved that Stack allowed her to have a single glass of wine without wasting a whole bottle and started thinking of all the occasions that Stack would perfectly compliment (picnics, concerts, etc.). She posted a picture on to her 1.5 million Instagram followers and was amazed at the response.  That’s when she realized there was an opportunity.

For the Stack team, a partnership with Giuliana Rancic was the perfect strategy to activate consumers. Introducing a true innovation in a very traditional category, such as wine, is a challenge… consider the resistance that screw cap closures faced before Plumpjack made a high profile statement for convenience and approachability on their Napa Cab.

Giuliana was the perfect celebrity partner for our company because she has a track record of introducing good quality, high value, affordable brands that every day consumers can enjoy.

 

What design trends does your packaging set in the premium wine market?

Stack team: The innovative StackTek format offers premium wine consumers convenience without compromise. For the first time, wine lovers can enjoy the $10+ wines in a format that better fits their lifestyle—portion controlled so they can enjoy one glass at a time, while also easily portable and sharable. We think “convenience without compromise” is one of the biggest unmet needs in the wine business today.

Consumers are experiencing a dramatic change in the way they consume products—news, music, books —the common theme is that they want high quality content, but in a more convenient format. Why should the wine business stand still in this regard? 

There will always be a time and a place for a traditional 750mL glass bottle, corkscrew and stemware, and that format will continue to drive most of the volume in the industry. But there is also an opportunity to extend the usage occasions of premium wine to casual evenings at home for singles who don’t want to open a whole bottle alone, and to extend the usage to more casual events, in a way that is effortless for wine lovers. Backyard BBQ’s, outdoor concerts, imagine all the possibilities.  

We have a lot of consumers tell us that they want a healthier lifestyle. During the week, they would like to enjoy one glass of great wine, but will hesitate opening up an entire bottle—StackTek is the perfect solution: one glass at a time.

The wine industry is starting to see some innovation in alternative single serve formats, for example Sophia’s Premium Sparkling wine in a can, and we are encouraged by their success. We honestly believe StackTek is the best solution in the industry for premium still wines from both a consumer and product quality standpoint.

  • Image: designed to look like a stemless wine glass
  • Product quality: shelf life of 96 weeks is the best in the industry amongst single serves

 

What were the key goals and requirements from a marketing and packaging view?

Stack team: From the beginning, we wanted this new brand to be a very personal extension of Giuliana’s style and commitment to quality from the brand name and packaging design to the quality of the wine. 

It was important to Giuliana to have the package look fabulous, but the wine quality must be there. With her name on the package it had to be a product with great value that will not disappoint her fans. Therefore, wine quality was paramount. Giuliana and Stack selected high quality varietals that she and her husband Bill love to drink at home, and which are popular with premium wine consumers—dry French Rose, Italian Pinot Grigio and French Pinot Noir. These wines are true to the region, well made and really fresh and delicious. 

On the name, Giuliana chose to use XO,G, which is how she signs her Tweets and Instagrams. The package should feel like a gift from Giuliana to her fans.

On the packaging, we wanted it to stylish and pretty, like a piece of home decor. The chic design looks great sitting out on a kitchen counter, and is a show-stopper as a gift. The pattern is made up entirely of X’s and O’s, wrapped up with a printed ribbon and tag, and signed by Giuliana to make it very personal. 

 

Describe packaging components of glass, closure, label (other?) by vendor(s) and specification (or structure/polymer, size, style). To what degree is each custom?

Stack team: The innovative format was invented by one of the founders Matt Zimmer. Matt is an engineer who came from the packaging business, but did not work in the wine business at the time. He initially sketched out the design on a cocktail napkin after wondering why you can’t have just one glass of good wine without opening a whole bottle… sometimes it takes someone outside of the industry to embrace a new approach, unconstrained by tradition.

The entire StackTek package is custom, and fully patent protected. The containers are our proprietary Vinoware technology, which includes the stemless wine glass shape and shatterproof material.  All the raw materials are custom made. 

Our suppliers have proven to be amazing and dedicated partners in the launch of XO,G, including Zuckerman Honickman, Hammer Packaging and Sac Container

The end product is assembled on our proprietary high-speed, vertically integrated bottling line in Modesto, CA. 

We have ample capacity to handle current 750mL glass wine brands who would like to extend the use of their 750mL brand into this innovative format.

 

Hammer Packaging, 585-424-3880

hammerpackaging.com

 

Sac Container, 916-614-0580

saccontainer.biz

 

Zukerman Honickman, 610-962-0100

zh-inc.com

 

 

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