ProWein Düsseldorf

17th March 2019
9:00am - 6:00pm
Düsseldorf, Germany

ProWein 2019 was held in Düsseldorf, Germany. The annual event is the largest global industry meeting for professionals from viticulture, production, trade, and gastronomy—and for many, a good indicator of what’s going on in the wine industry.

In attendance at this year’s event were Creative Design Manager Alex Kidd and Marketing Director Ralph Olthoff who share their insights from the show below.

Four days, three nights in Düsseldorf
“This is the world’s leading trade fair for wine, and is the size of a small town,” says Alex. “It was amazing, and exhausting, to explore all the bottles from around the globe.” (M-use Instagram followers @m_uselive could experience just a small selection of Alex’s favorite bottles from the show.)

“The show was a great place to equally be inspired and take in what’s new within the industry,” he says. In Düsseldorf, Alex was able to connect with designers and brand owners, as well as other companies from the wine industry. During the show, his main focus was on new and interesting design. On that, Alex notes three main themes from the show.

Expressive Design
“Wine bottles are becoming more expressive. There are still traditional executions but unique reigns king. Looking at labels as a piece of art almost, is what I mean by ‘expressive design.’ Brands are thinking about their audience more than ever, and they’re using unique color palettes to connect with a younger audience. There’s still traditional design—white label, gold foil—but I think, overall, designers are getting cues from other industries as far as letting the labels tell their stories,” says Alex.

Unique Typography
“Typography is more considered than ever. I saw a lot of beautiful type executions, which is needed to really stand out on the shelf. Almost every bottle has really well-executed type. I saw one example that really stood out with large type layered over a huge image that was clearly designed to attract a younger audience. It incorporated the bold design to stand out, but used old photos to remind of the heritage of the brand,” he says.

“More than talking about where their grapes come from, brands are looking to connect with a new audience. To create visuals that their audience will connect with, brands are using a lot of non-traditional colors, illustrations, and photos that make the label more of a piece of art than a traditional provenance label. Combined with unique typography, direct print designs layered with pressure-sensitive labeling, and carefully planned finishings, these labels were on the next level. Everything that stood out did so because it was carefully planned and the attention to detail was striking,” says Alex.

Industry insights from ProWein 2019
As a long-time professional in the wine and spirits industry, Marketing Director Ralph Olthoff was most excited not only to see new emerging innovations at the show but to meet with brands and designers from around the world. Among those in attendance were Rotas, the printer who collaborated on the Avery Dennison ‘Inspired by Diversity’ inspiration envelope in 2018, and bottle-maker Estal, who helped create our Wine and spirits innovation series: Italy.

Ralph said premiumization in packaging was one of the major trends he saw. The trend started years ago, but specific at ProWein was how the trend was resonating with brands from Germany, Eastern Europe, and the United States. “There’s a shift in materials and design toward a more premium label material as a way for brands to stand out,” he says. “The same winery may be looking to target new audiences with the same product, so they’re trying new textiles and textures.”

One popular area of the show was the natural wine tasting area, where organic and biological wines were featured. According to Ralph, “This isn’t just a trend anymore, but a segment.” Among those featured for their natural ingredients, Ralph also noticed a trend toward more natural materials. “Brands are interested in avoiding plastic and are looking at materials like wood labels and fully-recycled glass that tell a sustainability story. The focus is on consumers who are now very interested in the sustainability of brands and the products they purchase,” said Ralph.

According to Alex, attending the show was a great opportunity to be inspired as well as see a cross section of global trends. He also noted that even being deeply familiar with the industry didn’t give an advantage—he saw only a handful of bottles he was familiar with. “It was eye-opening,” he said.