In SMPL Q+A, we interview practitioners on all things relevant to branding, design and simplicity. Here, we speak with Justine Doughty, Director, Account Management; Gina Kim, Group Director, Brand Communication; and Mei Wing Chan, Associate Creative Director about our work with Sonoma County Winegrowers. The organization was established by local winegrowing families to nurture and protect sustainable agriculture for future generations.
What made this engagement so unique, and why is this campaign series so important for the brand?
Justine Doughty: This series was special because we had the opportunity to bring to life who Sonoma County Winegrowers are: real, family farmers running and maintaining the most sustainable wine growing region in the world. We had the privilege of hearing multi-generational stories from the families themselves about cultivating the land. Our task was to honor the winegrowers’ stories through a few choice words and beautiful imagery.
How does this work impact how Sonoma County Winegrowers shows up in the market?
Gina Kim: Sonoma County Winegrowers wanted to make sure its story was being told—that their winegrowers have been at the forefront of what’s commonly accepted as a best practice today. As the first 100% sustainable wine region in the world, they’ve been ahead when it comes to how they think about the land, the way they cultivate grapes, and the families who are doing the work behind the scenes.
What was the inspiration for the creative direction of the campaign?
Mei Wing Chan: Since the campaign captures real-life winegrowers on their vineyards and properties, we wanted to make sure they were represented in an authentic way that felt true to them and the audience. To that end, we were fortunate enough to collaborate with local photographer Kaare Iverson, who was able to document genuine moments in settings that captured the spirit of place and let the winegrowers be themselves.
Any details you would like to call out?
MWC: Often, the winegrowers’ stories were revealed during the shoot. One such discovery was at the Sanchietti family barn, where we came across their great grandfather’s name carved into the foundation while we were exploring the location. These pearls would become the starting point to tell their unique and personal stories.
In the design of the campaign, we drew inspiration from wine labels with details such as the establishment year for each vineyard which reads as a wine vintage. A traditional approach to copy layout and typography is rounded off by the Sonoma County Winegrowers logo which acts as a stamp of authorship.