Robilant designs Italian elegance into the US wine category

Intricate illustrations evocative of the wine's flavour and codes of traditional Italian gardens feature in Pinot Grigio Flora Lisa's brand identity.

It could be said that wine doesn't have the same elegance in the U.S. as it does over the pond in Europe, a notion supported by the fact that almost half of all American monthly wine drinkers are aged 55 and over as of 2020.

Younger consumers in America are likelier to go for the alcopops or hard seltzers on the shelf that reach for a bottle of white wine. Is this because the U.S. wine market hasn't quite cracked the codes of sophistication associated with fine wine?

Milan-based branding agency Robilant has been working in this space for a while now, with the goal of bringing Italian finesse into the U.S. wine category. They've had success rebranding heritage wineries like Zenato and Catena Zapata, but their latest project is something a little different: a new-to-market Pinot Grigio called Flora Lisa.

U.S. importer and distributor Winebow tasked Robilant with creating a modern, lifestyle-driven identity – simultaneously rooted in Italian culture and tradition – that could resonate with contemporary U.S. consumers.

Robilant creative director Fabio Molinaro says: "Italy and the U.S. have always had a strong connection, but the relationship is evolving, and we wanted to recognize that.

"Americans are beginning to appreciate that Italian wine is exclusive and distinctive and deserves an original place at the higher end of the market."

He identified that the existing U.S. Pinot Grigio offering was particularly lacklustre, saturated with "stereotypes and clichés". With the primary objective of setting a premium standard in mind, the agency designed Flora Lisa's identity around what Molinaro calls "a timeless imaginary", otherwise known as the muse.

The muse is often defined as a person or a mysterious force that goes beyond the expected. It is a recurring image and theme within Italian art and culture dating back to the Renaissance. Taking this enduring symbol as inspiration, Robilant merged the allure of the Italian Renaissance and the iconic value of femininity to develop Flora Lisa's brand story.

A silhouette of a beautiful woman evokes themes of a traditional Italian garden, representing "the perfect fusion of classical Italian heritage and modern sophistication," says Molinaro. Flora Lisa's elegant logo and intricate illustrations were designed to mirror the organic provenance of the grapes used at the Terre di Chieti vineyard in Abruzzo, Italy.

The visual assets also reflect the sophisticated flavour profile found within the bottle, "portraying its herbaceous fruitiness with personality and style", Molinaro adds.

He says: "We wanted Flora Lisa to not only stand out on the shelf but also to evoke a sense of intrigue.

"From the moment you lay eyes on the bottle, you're transported to a world of grace where beauty rhymes with quality."

Storytelling and craftsmanship are a huge part of Robilant's creative process, so the agency even went as far as sourcing and partnering with the skilled Italian winery behind Flora Lisa's unique wine before moving on to the creative brand strategy. Molinaro explains Robilant's position as "a cultural conduit" between the U.S. and Italy, as the agency has a "forensic understanding" of both of these markets.

"We possess a deep appreciation of Italian heritage and the nuances of the U.S. market," he says, reinforcing that Robilant's goal was "to redefine the image of Italian Pinot Grigio in America by marrying classical elegance with modern appeal".

Given its nature-inspired look, it is only fitting that Flora Lisa is driving environmentally conscious winemaking through new technologies and that the wine is produced from organic grapes. This commitment to the planet continues through the packaging, which was designed by Robilant to be sustainable using recycled materials.

Winebow senior vice president of marketing Brad Mayer says: "We are grateful for our productive and creative partnership with Robilant, and we look forward to Flora Lisa becoming an iconic Pinot Grigio that takes this variety to the next level in the U.S. market.

"We're delighted with our new muse and can't wait to introduce her to American consumers."

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