Kendall-Jackson Winery's distinctive multi-hued Leaf label is gaining a make-over after nearly five years that will strengthen shelf impact and impulse purchase at a time when consumers face an overwhelming array of bottles as they arrive in the wine aisle.

"Consumers tell us that our package has always been a kind of safety net," said John Grant, executive vice president of Marketing for Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates. "It is recognizable, and represents value and quality that bring comfort to sometimes confusing choices."

"Even so, our new designs are a stunning illustration of how a series of small and subtle changes by talented designers can add up to a powerfully enhanced brand image," said Grant.

Wine industry and marketing research suggests that brand purchase decisions are often made on impulse at the point of sale. As a result, Grant said, "the new label should have an immediate, and positive, impact on Kendall-Jackson wine sales."

The changes are made possible, in part, by the continued advance of packaging and printing technology, along with the need to stay abreast of competitive challenges from other wineries, who have continued to evolve labels, bottle shapes and other elements of trade dress, he said.

The distinctive Kendall-Jackson® leaf is now richer in color, and the winery name, found between two gold foil bars running through the middle of the leaf, is a bolder, more distinctive typeface. A subtle shadow provides a three-dimensional effect to the die-cut mark.

The colored leaf stands out against a white label body that has been enhanced with fine gold lines running horizontally behind a varietal name that is both larger and more prominent. Foil stamping, bronzing and embossing remain integral to the design, enhancing the texture, richness and perception of quality, Grant said. "These are classic quality cues," he added.

A decorative gold seal featuring the K-J letters is surrounded by "Award Winning Wines" in recognition of Kendall-Jackson's regular achievement of top awards in worldwide wine competitions.

And there are more changes that bring distinction to each Kendall-Jackson® tier of wines.

In the Vintner's Reserve® tier of wines, a large color bar die cut beneath the main portion of the label varies with the varietal, evoking associations with the flavor of the wine. The color bar features a larger vintage date, along with the tier name Vintner's Reserve®.

"We believe our wines are food-friendly wines that make a meal more memorable," said Grant. In the new package, each varietal has a color bar that recalls the flavor descriptors most associated with the wine, he noted. Chardonnay, for example, has an amber yellow color bar which evokes tropical flavors and crisp apple, peach and pear notes associated with the wine. Sauvignon Blanc is green, recalling green apple, citrus, and honeydew melon, while red wines all receive a deep burgundy colored bar, evoking the rich flavors of blackberries, currants and chocolate. Finally, for off-dry Vintner's Reserve® Rieslings and Gewurztraminers, the bar is a honeyed gold color.

The package retains a non-capsule neck, allowing the cork to show through, with a wax finish on top. The corks will begin sporting the Kendall-Jackson® website address and toll-free 800 number, and the neckband which collars the top of the bottle picks up the distinctive varietal color bars, adds an "Ultra Classic Winemaking" seal and a larger tier designation.

Back labels will also display the style changes. The new color schemes and logo will be reflected in all merchandising support as the new label comes to market beginning late summer.

Dramatic changes have been made in the Grand Reserve level of Kendall-Jackson® wines as well.

Among the most noticeable enhancements are the addition of the Kendall-Jackson logo bars across the Gold Leaf which has always symbolized Grand Reserve. White wines feature a deep green colored label accented by gold, while red wines follow a deep purple, plum and gold color scheme. Other changes found in the Vintner's Reserve® line, such as more distinction for the vintage and varietal names, and the addition of an award-winning seal, are carried out in the Grand Reserve tier as well. Gold foil stamping, bronzing, embossing and die cuts continue.

Grant says more changes are coming.

"This sets the stage for our introduction in early 2001 of an entirely new estate driven tier of wines featuring appellations other than our traditional California blends," he said. Expected in the "Great Estates(TM)" series will be Cabernet Sauvignons with a Napa appellation, for example. A new "Elite" series of ultra-premium estate wines is also on the way.

Design work was carried out by HKA Design in San Francisco, Kendall-Jackson's longtime design partners, under the direction of John Maxwell, Kendall-Jackson® brand director. Consumers will begin seeing the new package designs in late summer, as vintage changes begin in earnest.

For more information about Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates visit the web at