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Is this Australia's best wine bottle?

20 June, 2013

A uniquely shaped bottle of port which has achieved the accolade of "Australia’s best-designed wine bottle" is the toast of a design consultancy run by University of South Australia graduates in Adelaide.

The bottle, housing tawny port from Langhorne Creek’s Bleasdale winery, was created by Parallax Design and has just been nominated as the best wine bottle by 12 industry representatives at Australia’s Wine Industry Design Competition in Sydney.

Matthew Remphrey, managing director of Parallax Design, who graduated with a Bachelor in Illustration Design in 1992, explained the inspiration behind the award winning maritime-influenced design.

"The bottle is short, squat and robust to give it an old maritime feel, as if it is able to withstand the rigors of being on a boat buffeted by waves at sea, with twine around the neck of the bottle," Remphrey said.

"The maritime design was inspired by Frank Potts, the founder of Bleasdale winery, who joined the Royal Navy aged nine. He was commissioned on Nelson’s HMS Victory and sailed the world before arriving in South Australia in 1836.

"The label on the bottle – Fortis Et Astutus is the family motto, meaning bold and crafty and the glass used in creating the bottle is from France, with the twine coming from China."

Peter Perrin of Bleasdale winery paid tribute to the design and said it helped to explain why an annual production run of 500 bottles had already been snapped within the first six months of the year.

"The brief was to come up with a suitable package to showcase some really old wine which also fitted in with the heritage and history of Bleasdale and this design fitted it perfectly," Perrin said.

"It has been selling fast and it’s gone from being a curio, which we sold at the Cellar Door, to something much bigger: we have been contacted by a wine retailer asking if they could stock the bottle as part of their Father’s Day gift items."

Dr Armando Maria Corsi, Senior Research Associate at UniSA's Ehrenberg-Bass Institute said the bottle’s stand out appeal would give it market recognition.

"One of the biggest challenges brands face is to generate mental availability, that is the ability to be noticed and recognised in a buying situation," Dr Corsi said.

"Given the very brief time consumers spend in front of a shelf, it is important for brands to stand out among competitors. The unique features of this bottle design will certainly help Bleasdale compete against other dessert wines.

"UniSA's Ehrenberg-Bass Institute is a leader in the analysis of consumer behavior towards wine and we teach our students that package design and labelling is a crucial aspect that wineries should not neglect so I’m particularly pleased to see that former UniSA students have won such an important award."

Remphrey agreed about the importance of brand design.

"Buying a bottle of port is not really an impulsive purchase, but to see the design and think that the bottle could make a nice gift for someone, possibly a Father’s Day present, that’s when the design becomes important," he said.

"It’s also a statement about the person who buys that as a gift for someone else."

Reflecting on his time at UniSA Remphrey highlights the teaching of conceptual design as a particular highlight of his course, enabling him to develop creative thinking skills and pursue a career in design.

As for what goes in the bottle, design and product are a perfect blend, as Remphrey readily admits.  

"It tastes as good as it looks," he said.

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