Silvan Ridge Winery

Project Type: Brand and packaging re-stage

Primary Appellation: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Key Varietals: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Early Muscat 

Price Points:
Pinot Noir - $20-25
Pinot Gris & Early Muscat - $13-18

Background

Silvan Ridge Winery is located in the southern Willamette Valley. Since the mid-1990's the brand has been most recognized in Oregon for its semi-sparkling Muscat. Two Pinot Noir offerings - a base tier at $16.99 and a reserve level at $29.99 - were both historically labeled as Oregon appellation, rather than taking advantage of the equity of the Willamette Valley. Consequently, Pinot Noir ranked #4 in terms of sales within the Silvan Ridge portfolio. In the winery tasting room focus was given to Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and other varietals from appellations in southern Oregon. Packaging incorporated a red-on-white color pallet, with red capsules for most SKUs regardless of varietal or wine color. Besides consumer direct sales, the Silvan Ridge brand was primarily sold through Grocery and Club channels in Oregon, led by its popular Muscat. Out-of-state sales accounted for less than 10% of total volume. (Previous label shown here.)

Objectives

Create a more substantial and profitable volume base, with focus on Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris to reduce reliance on Muscat and allow for a broader channel mix, including on-premise penetration in influence-leading accounts. Develop brand image foundation to support price increases and more rational margin standards. Position the brand for successful national distribution outside Oregon.  Challenges:Silvan Ridge brand equity among Oregon consumers was strongly tied to a varietal of Muscat called "Early Muscat," which accounted for almost 70% of total sales. Due to grape shortages this wine's varietal designation was changed to simply "Muscat" in the 2011 vintage, with a blend of sources in both Oregon and Washington state. In the home market distributor confidence had eroded significantly over the years, and consumers who remained loyal to the brand were generally confused regarding the differences between Silvan Ridge and its second label, Hinman Vineyards.

Challenges:

Silvan Ridge brand equity among Oregon consumers was strongly tied to a varietal of Muscat called "Early Muscat," which accounted for almost 70% of total sales. Due to grape shortages this wine's varietal designation was changed to simply "Muscat" in the 2011 vintage, with a blend of sources in both Oregon and Washington state. In the home market distributor confidence had eroded significantly over the years, and consumers who remained loyal to the brand were generally confused regarding the differences between Silvan Ridge and its second label, Hinman Vineyards.

Solution

First step was to establish an "inventory workout" (IWO) process to increase alignment between production and sales /marketing for sales demand projections, stocking levels by vintage, and future grape purchasing for all wines. This improved inter-department communication and quickly resolved problems around inconsistent Muscat varietal registration and appellation. As a result, the brand's top selling SKU was able to revert to "Early Muscat" with Willamette Valley sourcing upon release of the 2013 vintage. Winery ownership also agreed to standardize Silvan Ridge Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris to Willamette Valley appellation-only for all SKUs and vintages going forward. This change created a clear distinction between the Hinman Vineyards and Silvan Ridge brands, while also leveraging the indisputable growing consumer demand for Pinot Noir from the winery's home appellation. A dramatic packaging change was rolled out in the summer of 2014. The new package enhanced luxury image by refining the Silvan Ridge brand logo and label through subtle quality cues that increased perceived value and price expectation. The new package also established a clear sense of place by adding a proprietary illustration of the winery estate with its wooded ridge in the background, and by conveying the winery's heritage and pedigree through a colored medallion marked "Founded 1979" to convey the brand's heritage as one of Oregon's earliest bonded wineries. Anecdotal feedback from Oregon distributor and trade stakeholders has been strongly positive to date - both with regard to brand architecture and packaging upgrades. Sales trends stabilized from slightly negative to +5% in 2014. Projections are +12% for 2015.

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