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New branding for Ménage à Trois Midnight

Mare Island, California-based Affinity Creative Group, an independent brand consulting, design and implementation firm that specialises in wine, spirits and luxury goods, was engaged by Trinchero Family Estates to create branding and packaging design for Ménage à Trois Midnight. This is a new product tier for the enormously popular wine brand.

Affinity was tasked with the following program goals: to capture the ‘dark blends’ customer, increase shelf space and shelf presence, and gain incremental sales for the Ménage à Trois brand.

Ménage à Trois Midnight 2012 is a 13.65%abv dark red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot that offers a more voluptuous flavour experience from the core Ménage à Trois Red Blend, a the top selling wine in the US. The California appellations in Midnight are North Coast, Central Coast and Lodi.  

The overall goal was to design a package reflective of the brand’s fun and approachable personality, while also communicating a premium positioning and a more luxurious flavor profile from the core product.  

The new branding targets the consumer seeking something different and sampling new offerings like Apothic Dark, Carnivore and H3 (from Columbia Crest). This is a broad target market of men and women, affluent, mostly college educated, and who appreciate good food and enjoy consuming wine with others. Those who want a product that is approachable and easy to drink, but has the body and structure of a ‘real’ wine. 

The label

“The design for Ménage à Trois Midnight carries the familiar 'dancers icon' and brand logo as seen on the core Red Blends product  (see before image below),” explains Ed Rice, director of strategy, Affinity Creative Group

“The addition of ‘Midnight’ signals a different offering and product profile, which is supported by the descriptive copy on the front label.  The use of a black background and supportive embellishments, delicate rules and ‘Dark Red Blend’ completes the messaging that signals this product is similar yet distinctive from the well-known Ménage à Trois Red Blend.”

The label, produced by Collotype Labels, Napa, California, is litho offset printed on pressure sensitive uncoated stock, enhanced with a de-bossed texture to create a natural, toothy, and high-quality finish. Several refined printing techniques help communicate the premium aspect of this new tier for the brand: the embossing of key communication elements (dancers icon, logotype, Midnight, ornamental design line, top and bottom rules); and the high gloss screen-printing (icon and logotype) to create a dimensional high-touch package.

The Wine Producer

Trinchero Family Estates is one of the largest family-owned wineries in the US and the largest based in Napa Valley. The firm produces and markets a portfolio of more than 30 brands including Sutter Home, Joel Gott and Ménage à Trois. Trinchero also imports, markets and sells Viña Doña Paula wines from Argentina; along with Los Cardos and Carmen from Chile. Trinchero also owns the Reynolds Family Winery and Little Boomey brands through a supply arrangement with Angoves Family Winemakers of Australia.  Annual US sales of all brands in 2013 exceeded 18 million cases.

2 July 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor