Spinach Branding conceives Maze Row as a new US brand in fine wine
Spinach Branding has helped create Maze Row, a new name in fine wine. From our base in London, the team worked intimately alongside our Californian client to imagine and conceive an importer and exporter brand, one that approaches the fine wine scene in new and exciting ways. And since our first encounter was at the height of Covid and the pandemic restrictions, the journey to the brand launch has been anything but dull. Perhaps the situation created a closer connection between our teams across continents, leading to a heightened sense of creativity.
The client, part of E. & J. Gallo, approached our branding agency due to our portfolio within the drinks and hospitality industries and the lifestyle luxury sector. Through the years, Spinach has worked with ambitious new wine and drinks brands such as Domaine La Lauzeta, Island Beers and CAP Gin; we have teamed up with established names including Sacred Spirits and Martin Miller’s Gin, industry giants such as Enotria&Coe, we work with Justerini & Brooks to create the fine wine merchant’s product publications, and are long term partners with the Campari Group.
We were intrigued by the Maze Row concept from the start. It tapped into so many of our specialisms: conceptualising an idea from scratch, challenging a traditional industry, and redefining the concept of luxury. These are areas we are genuinely passionate about. What’s more, the portfolio of partner-producers within the Maze Row collection of fine winemakers share strong values. They are all artisans who make unique products that connect intimately with time and place — all of which made the project even more compelling. And the international team have been a delight to partner with from the start.
Maze Row has been a complete brand building project to include brand definition, creating a brand platform and conceiving a name. “Using data, research, anecdotal experience and their own expertise, the Maze Row team developed an intriguing new proposition for the US wine market,” explains Leigh Banks, branding director at Spinach. “Over the past 24 months, we have worked with our client to further define the proposition and then translate it into a unique creative expression. And despite the pandemic and limitations on travel, we have been able to work closely with their team and conduct many creative and intellectually stimulating, as well as fun, workshops where we have been able formulate ideas and coalesce around an exciting proposition.”
From concept to creation
The Maze Row brand is anchored on a concept we coined: ‘In wine, we find life’. This brand essence, our guiding philosophy, formed the base from which we could build all the connecting components to make a compelling and enduring brand. We also created a brand book to explain to the Maze Row internal team, wine producers and partner brands how this opening line will help shape their new company.
The opening statement reads: “In wine we seek truth, craft and the passion of discovery. In life, we seek to build a community connected by a love for wine and wine culture. We are Maze Row Wine Merchants. We inspire a culture of fine wine discovery, a life that talks of people and their sense of place, of truth, craft and endeavour. An enriching journey, encompassing heritage, terroir, culture and philosophy. Through our curation of wines, stories and immersive experiences, we share the best of life with the adventurers, the bon vivants, the passionate connoisseurs.”
When it came to naming this new brand, we knew it had to connect the past with our vision for the future. “Maze” references the first home of E. & J. Gallo founders, Ernest and Julio Gallo, on Maze Street in Modesto, California. The word also symbolises the new company’s mission to inspire and guide customers in an explorative journey through the labyrinth of wine and wine culture. Meanwhile, the word “Row” reflects the hand-selected terroir-driven artisan wine producers in the portfolio, simultaneously visually and viscerally capturing the image of rows of vines from which they are producing the singular expressions that carry an unmistakable sense of place. Thus, the name Maze Row was born.
We also knew from the start that it was fundamental to the project to refine and redefine the concept of luxury. If Maze Row is to be a new space in fine wine, then it was central to the branding project to understand what this means to the modern consumer of fine wine. Our research found that younger wine enthusiasts are thirsty for knowledge, they want to learn, be educated by experts.
Our target group, our design group, has a passion for discovery and exploration; they long to be connected to a community who share their vision, and they simply want to be excited. They see fine wine within a wider cultural landscape that includes the wines and the process of winemaking, but also involves the people and places, the stories and histories, arts and ideas, design, culture, philosophy — all the elements that together make wines so special, such a timeless luxury.
With storytelling an essential component of Maze Row, naturally we needed a platform from where we can explore all these other areas, involve a wider community, and publish articles that reflect and expand on the values of this new brand. VOICES, our luxurious lifestyle magazine in print and digital format, helps express and support the Maze Row concept to great effect.
“Maze Row is all about experiencing wine and wine culture in a way that hasn’t been done before,” says Banks. “This is an ambitious vision that won’t happen overnight. The intentions are to lay the foundations now, and in 20 years time to be able to look back with hand on heart and say we changed the way people experience wine — for the better.”
Images © Spinach Branding for Maze Row Wine Merchant.
Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.< Back