Tuesday 14 July 2009

Chêne Bleu: website and brand identity

Gallé launch website for the 'couture' French winemakers Chêne Bleu.

Branding Chêne Bleu and designing the website was an amazing experience, and a very steep learning curve.

In terms of brand communications there are, first of all, many deep and complex layers of information about the wine product itself and what Nicole and Xavier Rolet were trying to do with it. Talking about Chene Bleu means talking about:

- biodynamic wine principles
- altitude and its effects on sugar crystallisation
- pellicular maceration, a brand new technology that ensures perfect control over the skin contact i.e. contact between the skin of the grapes which contain the fermenting yeasts and the juice, which contains the sugars
- the use of propolis instead of sulphites to protect the vines against diseases, creating a rich and biodiverse eco-space for bees, insects and other bugs to actually thrive, ensuring the vines are stronger and more productive
- measuring the direction the winds come from; La Verriere is surrounded by forests, and overlooks Mont Ventoux, so different winds make a difference to the type of air the vines receive, which carries with it different pollens and perfumes from the various trees and plants
- developing methods for picking and moving small quantities of grapes from the vines to the winery to ensure the amount of time the skin is in contact with the juice is under control
- that, and much, much more...

Every single detail has been studied obsessively, discussed, intellectualised, brainstormed and worked tirelessly in order to get this amazingly complex brand identity known as Chêne Bleu, not just a wine, but a mission.

Aside from the product itself, there is a rich cultural package that comes with Chene Bleu. Ranging from medieval folklore, which two of the wines take their name from (Abélard and Héloïse), to the study of La Verrière's own history as a glassmaking atelier (Aliot was the name of the glass blower) and as a refuge for crusading knights before that...

I think we did a good job. The website is full of rich, interesting content, and the brand feels very consistent accross a range of media, i.e. on the labels, on the website, in the printed material, etc.

If you want to know what it's like meeting a team who are entirely taken over by the ideals of making the best possible wine, take a look at the Chêne Bleu website.