These days, we're all looking to brands to be more environmentally responsible. But that doesn't necessarily mean sticking to the same cliched aesthetics of eco-friendly design. We still want to see packaging that delights and surprises us – and so we love this environmental identity for Accolade Wines by Banrock Station.
The packaging itself ticks lots of pro-planet boxes. It comes in a 100% post-consumer recycled glass cullet, with labels made from 100% recycled paper and closures made from 100% recycled plastic. In total, the pack is made from 95.1% recycled content and can be recycled again, too.
Plus, to convey the product's green credentials, Denomination – an award-winning design agency specialising in drinks branding – has taken inspiration from quite an unusual source: the return of wolves to Yellowstone Park in the USA.
While most of us think of wolves as beasts who eat young children's grandmothers, the animal has actually been pivotal to restoring a balanced and healthy ecosystem to the national park that spreads across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. And so, Denomination decided to use the wolf as a central motif in the brand and packaging design as a way of signalling the urgent need to "return to nature".
The pyramid-shaped design cascading down the bottle makes a powerful statement about the wolf's leadership in restoring the balance of nature, echoing the brand's mission to reduce the environmental impact of wine packaging.
The round label on the front echoes the circular motion of recycling as well as the circle of life. And the natural and mossy colour palette, along with the scratched texture of the bottle, emphasises the brand's environmental credentials and links back to the wolf's fur.
The unusual shape of the bottle – chosen from the Wildly Crafted Range at Estal – is also used to attract attention while retaining the tapered wine bottle shape to give it a sense of familiarity.
Transparency is central to the brand's ethos. So a QR code is available on each label linking to a website that gives more information on the environmental credentials of each component of the packaging.
"The restoration of wolves into Yellowstone Park has created a more balanced and healthy ecosystem in the US national park, helping flora and fauna flourish, and was a perfect inspiration," says Rowena Curlewis, CEO of Denomination. "In our designs, the wolf represents a return to nature by leading the way, just as Wise Wolf is at the apex of a movement to reduce the environmental impact of wine packaging.
"Sustainability is central to our business. We wanted to show that Accolade is the leader of the pack in the wine market, making sure Wise Wolf could act as a catalyst for others to also create better, greener solutions for wine packaging."
Rowena adds that environmentalism is central to Denomination, which is coming up to its 20th year, has offices in Australia, the UK and the US, and boasts clients in the wine, spirits, cider, beer and non-alcoholic drinks markets. And she stresses that it's not just about helping clients compete, but more a case of "a rising tide raises all boats".
"By influencing brands to put sustainability at the forefront of their decision-making, we can help reduce the impact that our brands' packaging has on the Earth," she says. "We want more and more brands to choose sustainable solutions, so jointly we can all make a difference to this wonderful world we live in."
"Denomination has an uncompromising dedication to sustainability and a passion for beautiful designs, so it was the perfect choice for Wise Wolf," says Nancy Baghdadi, Accolade's global innovation director. "They constantly challenged us to maximise the amount of recycled content without ever compromising on the design, and their vast knowledge and strong contacts with suppliers were invaluable. What they have helped create demonstrates that we can use the maximum amount of recycled material and deliver a quality range of wine to consumers."
But this is only the first step on a long journey, she adds. "Accolade is constantly searching for new and better ways of doing things and committed to driving positive environmental change. We wanted Wise Wolf by Banrock Station to be bold and brave about paving the way forward in the wine industry. We're on a journey with alternate pack solutions that reduce waste and use as much recycled content as possible."