Australian winery Cowpunk Wines is launching its inaugural brand – a natural wine range with an inventive, sustainable and accessible brand strategy and packaging by Denomination.

Cowpunk wine bottles come with swing-top closures, making the bottles 100 per cent recyclable and re-usable.
Cowpunk wine bottles contain swing-top closures, and are fully recyclable and re-usable.

To highlight the difference in the wine style, the bottle comes with a swing-top closure, making the bottle 100 per cent resealable and re-usable with the aim of eventually having refill stations at selected retailers. It also contains a “re-use it” message on the back label and shipper, encouraging consumers to re-use the packaging as opposed to simply recycling it.

The simple two-colour print on the label cuts down on ink usage, no gloss varnishes or treatments are used on the finishing, and the stock is a natural 100 per cent cotton paper with impurities and slight variations in tone.

Freshness is the key benefit of natural wines, therefore the labels are hand-stamped with not only the year but also the month – and day – the grapes were picked, echoing the use by date on fresh foods. This also has the added benefit of communicating the small batch, hand-made nature of the wine.

The packaging identity itself harks back to early hand-made ranch signage often welded into shape using steel or old bits of iron. A series of icons, inspired by cattle branding, replaces the traditional back label copy. The short and simple infographics is used on both the labels and shippers.

A “roll it” icon demonstrates to those who are new to natural wines that the bottle needs to be agitated before opening – a counter-intuitive step for many people – and also becomes an icon for the natural wine “movement” when used on merchandising.

The swing top closure which borrows from the fresh food category of pickles and preserves, creating a homely yet appealing personality for the brand and a real point of difference on shelf.

The packaging contains a
The packaging contains a "re-use it" message.

The icons, owned by Cowpunk, are also being used across merchandise, such as trucker caps and T-shirts, and as a call to arms to embrace natural wines and sustainable packaging.

“Cowpunk’s natural wines are sustainably made, so Denomination, which is also working to future proof the industry, was the perfect partner for this project,” said Nicholas Crampton, co-owner of Cowpunk Wines.

Natural wines are made with minimal intervention from the winemaker with no traditional “fining” or preservatives, which gives the wines a distinctive cloudiness and an immediate freshness. Highly popular with hipster drinkers and sommeliers, and with a profusion of colourful and edgy labels, the natural wine category can be intimidating for consumers navigating the relatively unknown in this booming niche. Cowpunk taps into the growing desire of consumers for natural, unadulterated products and is aimed not just at hipsters but a broader market.

“We wanted to respond to the growing consumer desire for additive-free, sustainably produced original-state wines, but it was important that the range appealed to a broad market. Cool, yes, but not intimidating. Denomination’s strategy has helped us to take a niche, boutique and uncommercial sector and make it available to everyone,” said Crampton.

“We called the brand, and the business, Cowpunk to capture its earthy naturalness and edginess,” said Rowena Curlewis, CEO at Denomination. “Cowpunk music – a mixture of country and punk – is unvarnished and edgy and was inspired by the real, raw sound of country music before it became hugely commercialised. We thought this was a great analogy for what natural wines are all about.”

“Denomination is committed to helping winemakers and other drinks producers on their sustainability journeys and has put together an exceptional network of experts to help make that happen. The team’s work on Cowpunk is as brave and progressive as it gets, and it’s this kind of thinking that will protect as well as grow our industry,” she added.

Cowpunk is available now, with Australia’s largest retail channel EDG selling the brand across all its fine wine stores. The brand has also gained distribution in lead independent wine shops as well as PV Wine Merchants, which specialises in natural wines.

The simple two-colour labels are printed on natural 100 per cent cotton paper and have no gloss varnishes.
The simple two-colour labels are printed on natural 100 per cent cotton paper and have no gloss varnishes.

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