Packaging Should be More than Functional – it Should be fun!


HP Graphic Arts

There are approximately 7,000 wineries in the U.S. The market is dominated by just seven that claim 80% of the retail shelf space, leaving the rest to fight it out for the remaining 20%. And yet it is an incredibly conservative, risk-averse market. Wines are either merchandised by region or variety. Labels tend to be 3 inch square and printed on paper; there is very little innovation.

Southwest Wines is a brand developer and distributor in New Mexico with a fresh approach to wine marketing. It believes the wine market is ripe for disruption and wants to make wine buying more enjoyable and less intimidating for consumers. It believes that on crowded wine shelves packaging should be more than functional. It should be fun.

The La Catrina brand is Southwest’s answer to this with six Californian wines sold and merchandised as a set packaged with a “Day of the Dead” inspired wedding theme, including a bride and groom, the priest, groomsmen, bridesmaids, the mariachi band, and La Catrina as the mother of the bride.

Artist Sean Wells of Santa Fe, N.M. created six paintings from which the label images were created. Wells has been heavily influenced by the traditional heritage art forms of the Southwest region and is a member of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society. It took him about six months to create the oil paintings for the La Catrina brand. There were six from which the label images were created. These labels convey a brand that is bold, unique and connected to local culture. It specifically targets a younger, more urban, market.


The six-pack includes the best sellers – Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon – along with the lesser-known Moscato and Pinot Grigio. Rather than stick with the safe Chardonnay, customers are encouraged to try new wine varieties. Bundled together the packaging creates an arresting in-store visual.

This is only made possible by digital print. Working with Innovative Labeling Solutions (ILS) out of Cincinnati, Southwest is able to generate cost-effective, large-scale print runs featuring these unique designs as bottle shrink sleeves. ILS produced these artistic wraps on their HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press. There are no tooling costs, no costly print errors, and the entire exterior of the bottle is wrapped with colorful imagery, not just a small affixed label.

La Catrina was initially launched in New Mexico and Nevada in 2014; Southwest sold 80,000 bottles in the first two months. It was launched nationally in the U.S. in July 2015.

La Catrina’s success has allowed Southwest to dream big. A second brand, “Savage Vines,” is being readied, featuring new shrink sleeve designs for a single Chardonnay. Again, this creates an eye-catching visual in-store display. The aim is for consumers to see these new designs as collectibles.

Southwest Wines plans to extend the concept next year by inviting customers to create their own designs, have an open vote, and print the best 10.


Join the Creativity
Are you ready to think outside the box and embrace new opportunities in retail promotion? Packaging design has become even more creative and profitable than ever thanks to advances in digital print. It’s disrupting the standard way of doing things and empowering print service providers to be more innovative through personalized and versioned production packaging jobs, as well as through point-of-sale and high-impact marketing materials.

As the marketplace leader for technology solutions, HP has unparalleled expertise helping brands realize their packaging needs. Turn to a trusted business partner and learn more about how HP can help you rethink digital print packaging.

To find out how HP digital printing can meet your challenge go to


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1 Comment
  1. Ivy Baker 7 years ago

    These are some amazing labels for these wine bottles. I love the one with a skeleton playing the guitar. It does seem like these labels would help you sell more wine.

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