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Time to change the packaging Featured

6:59am EDT July 19, 2002

Winemaker Nicholas Ferrante is taking baby steps toward modernizing the image on his wine labels, maintaining consistency and changing just one product line at a time.

"In labeling, you want to update your look while keeping some continuity so you don't lose people," says Ferrante, general manager of Ferrante Winery & Ristorante.

Established in 1937 by Ferrante's father and uncle, the family-owned winery is located on 35 acres of vineyard in Ashtabula County. It produces 15 varieties of table wine, totalling 80,000 gallons annually, and sells it in 11 Ohio counties.

But changing a brand -- whether it's simply the packaging, a logo or an entire product line -- can't be taken lightly. It requires a lengthy period of evaluation to determine not only how to go about the change, but also to promote the change in a way that keeps customers buying the product or service.

Ferrante says part of the reason for the change in the labels was that he wanted to take advantage of the flexibility of pressure sensitive technology. That new technology for making labels is less labor intensive than the glue-applied technology he formerly used, and allows for easier changes. Three pressure sensitive labels make up the front bottle design.

The new graphics were launched late in 2000 with Ferrante's basic table wines, which are sold in many Northeast Ohio grocery stores. The remaining lines will follow over time because, Ferrante says, it's prudent to move slowly.

Susan Jaeger, the graphic designer who worked on the project, says consumers buy a product based on looks. By keeping some of the flavor of the original label, Ferrante is building customer confidence that the product's taste has not changed.

Jaeger describes the new look as clean, innovative and very new for an Ohio-based wine. The image she wanted to portray was a "California ... upscale feel."

The "FERRANTE" logo was kept, while at the same time, a new logo identifying the wine with the initials "FW" was introduced. How to reach: Ferrante Winery, (440) 466-8466

Deborah Garofalo (dgarofalo@sbnnet.com) is an associate editor of SBN Magazine.