Neil McGregor and Fiona Wholohan own and run Yarrh Wines, located 45 minutes from Canberra in the cool climate of Murrumbateman. Their business and product has matured and it was time to revamp the branding and messaging. They engaged the amazing Julia Brown to assist. They began the process by identifying what they believed their strengths were, and seeing if their present market base understood and felt that (via a survey). The results showed there was some disconnect between what consumers brought to mind when they thought of Yarrh Wines, and the reality.
So when you talk about rebranding, it’s not for the sake of it. It’s to ensure that who you say you are (in business) shows in how you say it, and that when you say it, consumers understand it, and connect with it. Fiona and Neil with Julia identified these key elements as unique to their brand: local and boutique, friendly tone, bush location/ outlook/ setting, strong connection between food and wine…but…consumers also thought of the wine as good value, rather than premium, even though in the maturity process, Yarrh Wines had become a premium $30 price point wine. Consumers also did not connect with their message of sustainability in the vineyard and winemaking practices.
Some time goes by, the work continues with Julia and George McIntosh the designer. George came back with a stunning design which you’ll see throughout the brand story imagery. Here is their old logo. The stringy bark refrence is there, and it’s linked to the capital Y, it is what it is.
As they started considering both graphic design/branding and photography, I was sent this briefing from Julia:
Yarrh Wines brand story
Ours is a journey of interconnection, a winding country road, over the creek, up through the stringy bark forest and onto the freedom of an open clearing. Small parcels of fruit grow here, with healthy soil, clear air, brilliant sunshine and an organic approach, rewarding Fiona with exquisite fruit. With her hands and a well – considered manner she creates, Yarrh Wines – running water.
Style of wines produced by Yarrh Wines
Fiona makes wines with interest, difference and character. Building on the unique strengths of the Canberra District the wines are elegant and refined. The vineyard is carefully managed to produce low cropping vintages of the highest quality. The premium wines are meticulously hand-made, preserving the unique taste of Yarrh.
It became evident that there’s a strong connection to place both in the context of actual wine making, but also to the physical space they inhabit. The gum trees, the topography, the way the winery is positioned on the top of a hill that looks out over terrain and respectfully possesses an indigenous name – Yarrh – pronounced ‘Yar’ – means ‘running water’.
Considerations for photography
Friendly, approachable, with element of education, discerning, simplicity is preferred, element of finesse required, durable not faddish, natural and organic married with premium, rural elegance. Ideals of authenticity, simplicity, rustic, handmade, humble and restraint with a balance of handcrafted and premium should be captured in the photography.
…So when it’s time to photograph, everything that you say you do needs to be phsysically in place. In-camera and post-production editing and styling decisions are all determined by Julia’s points above. I thought about which physical elements I could focus on that would speak to their brand. I told them, if you are about premium and elegance, then prepare this place as though the Queen were to visit. It looked amazing when I showed up! Not a hair out of place, everything was immaculate and clean, literally and figuratively speaking.
So, without further ado, I introduce to you, Yarrh Wines…
Winding up the road you come to Yarrh Wines on the hill.
It is stunning at first light.
The light coming through the stringy-bark gums is absolutely glorious.
Not a bad way to start a day at the office.
This panorama may end up as a frieze in the cellar door.
The sign and….a hint of the new look.
That’s Fiona, proudly in her element.
And with Neil.
We head off in the truck around the property first, the dogs never miss out.
A bright, crisp sunny morning with beautiful cloud streaks meant this result could only be in bold colour.
It’s Spring, so the first buds are showing.
How good must a farm dog’s life be!?
Clean lines and sharp details.
Fiona talks about her babies.
Back at the winery, I am showed some barrels which will be emptied, cleaned and refilled.
I just love the beautiful texture and form they take.
The classic ‘winemaker smelling the wine’ image – but it actually happens, and often!
Smelling is as integral as tasting to winemaking.
The first splash of that gorgeous red liquid as it is pumped into a waiting vat.
Neil is hard at it while the cleaning is undertaken.
A chance to show you the new labels in more detail.
This is Julia, their daughter.
She lends a hand a little bit, here and there.
Blend testing is going on here.
So this means two varietals are mixed in controlled quantities, then sampled and assessed.
Back at the cellar door now and it’s coffee time.
And then some visitors arrive and the cellar door is open for business.
It is ridiculously pleasant sitting here, taking in the ambiance and tasting some gorgeous wines.
Fiona works the kitchen too.
The hard work and years of patience is really paying off now.
This is something to be proud of.
Julia, their brand manager, said:
‘The images look great. I think Beth has captured all the elements well. The results are clean and crisp and portray the brand story. Just what we needed.’
In time they will get the website updated with the new branding and imagery.
Yarrh Wines is located at 380 Greenwood Road in Murrumbateman. They are open Thursday to Monday and most public holidays, 11am–5pm and closed in July.
You must go!