Echo Bay Vineyard is a new winery in the Okanagan Valley – a unique wine growing region of western Canada. From the very beginning the client planned to create exceptional, minimal intervention wines that are representative of where they live.
The challenge for this project was to create something that would not only communicate and justify the value of their wine, but to convey that their wine is an expression of time and place. Without leaning on a traditional family heritage story that so many wineries are based on, they needed a design-system that would act as a strong foundation for the years to come.
With the basic notion that the same piece of land growing the same grape varietals every year would result in very different wines, I focused on the effect that weather has on a vineyard over the course of a year – a constant flux in light, temperature, precipitation and humidity. During the research phase I gathered together different sources of how synoptic weather ( an overview of the current weather state ) was recorded before modern computing. The precise symbols and descriptions I found covered almost every possible weather scenario. For example there’s a symbol for ‘continuous drizzle moderate at time of observation’ , but also symbols for ‘photometeors’ like spectral rings appearing around the sun, which might not affect the weather, but take on deeper, often superstitious meanings for some cultures around the world.
‘Synoptic’ means coming together to form an overview, and was a perfect name for the signature Bordeaux-style blend that Echo Bay produces. It represents the combination of varietals on the estate, and an overview of what a small piece of land can produce when you have an entire family helping out. When recorded throughout the year, the system of weather symbols can tell the story of the grapes, but also the experiences of a family living on the estate.
When applied to the human elements of a vineyard, the symbols can extend to how personal memory is attached to time and place; the violent hail storm that ruined an outdoor dinner, or sitting and gazing at iridescent rings around the moon by the lake’s edge. The application of the symbols to all these different elements across the estate is what will allow flexibility and opportunity for the branding to evolve and grow with the winery. The label’s symbols are embossed with an antique copper foil on textured, bright white paper. To match the labels and connect back to the family estate where the grapes come from, each bottle is hand dipped in an earthy-copper sealing wax.