A South African wine label has just been named one of the Top 5 in the world. This honour goes to Orpheus & The Raven, which was shortlisted by the esteemed industry publication, The Drinks Business, in its Drinks Business Awards Best Design & Packaging for Wine. These awards have become the most authoritative and internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.
The Orpheus & The Raven range of wines is owned by South Africans, winemaker Etienne Louw and graphic designer Brenden Schwartz of BRAVO Design in Cape Town. These friends recognised a creative fire in one another and decided to direct this passion to develop a wine brand that is not driven by sales volumes, market share or consumer insight, but by a pure expression of the love for fine wine and art.
“We were encouraged by peers to enter our wine for this prestigious award and are blown away to be recognised along some of the most beautiful labels globally,” says Brenden, whose company designed the labels.
No stranger to awards, Orpheus & The Raven labels have been the recipient of critical acclaim in the past: it won the Grand Prix award at the local 2018 Winemag Wine Label Design Awards, and three Gold Medals at its 2019 awards – more than any other producer.
Through clever design and packaging, Orpheus & The Raven wines aim to honour the consumer with an engaging label at the point of sale, right through to consumption, allowing for visual intrigue and discovery throughout.
Rather than just conveying information about the wine, the labels tell the story of the owners’ personal journeys inspired by the Greek play Orpheus in the Underworld. The wines feature dramatic hand-drawn, baroque-style sketches in the style of 16th-century German artist Albrecht Dürer, with Orpheus and his side-kick, Raven, depicted on each.
“The strong visuals are not coincidental – it is a deliberate ploy to, through confident design, attract the attention of consumers,” says Brenden.
Etienne, whose musical talent is represented with Orpheus and his lyre, says that the labels are “a complete assault on the senses” and perfectly captures the winemaker’s journey as an artist: “Every label in the range is a unique piece of art and represents the processes required to develop a brand from concept to conclusion, and also the artful transformation from grape to wine.”
To date, this artist’s portfolio includes a Chenin Blanc, the 42 Red Blend, Pinotage Nr. 7 and the Last Swansong Gewürztraminer.
Like the play which encourages its audience to “never look back”, Etienne and Brenden say they are looking forward to the virtual awards ceremony in October when the duo will hear whether they’ve won the ultimate award of Best Overall.