Adventures in Wine Packaging: The Story Behind Coppola’s Black Label Claret

Corey Beck is the Director of Winemaking and General Manager of Francis Ford Coppola Winery. From their hands-on techniques in the vineyards to their valuable winemaking goals and analytical feedback, Corey and his team are often regarded as leaders in the wine industry, known for their innovative and engaging approach to their network of 150+ grape growers.

Coppola Packaging

When it comes to adventures in wine packaging, Coppola is on the forefront in creating vessels of uncommon design. The (now-famous) Sofia, a sparkling Blanc de Blancs, was presented in a miniature can with straws attached. But perhaps most recognizable and most successful is our best-selling Black Label Claret, packaged in gold netting.

The Story

“Upon taking possession of the property, we found some very old bottles of wine, including a 1906 Claret. I didn’t really know what Claret was, and soon gathered it was the British name for wines from Bordeaux, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon blends.

Despite opposition, I felt strongly about creating a red blend and calling it Claret. I designed a new label that was inspired by the old 1906 bottle of Claret I had admired, a Diamond Collection Black Label Claret, which is our company’s most recognized offering.”  - Francis Ford Coppola


The Process

About five years ago, Francis came to us and said he wanted to upgrade the package and make it the flagship of the Diamond series.  He walked into the meeting and had the Claret bottle with a beautiful gold net around it and said, “this is how I want Claret to look in the market place.”

It’s a premium wine at a popular price and it has set the bar for the quality of the entire brand. The bottle is distinguished with gold netting in order to convey its prestigious status, a tribute to the way Europe’s finest wines were once presented.

The trick was putting the net on the bottle.  We found a machine in France engineered for the singular purpose of putting nets on bottles. Before we knew it, we owned two machines and the rest is history.

The Reaction

The imaginative, evocative packaging is certainly successful on a creative level, but people wonder: how much is it helping to sell the wine, and how do you measure that, either quantitatively or qualitatively? People respond to packaging, but it won’t get them to buy a second bottle if they didn’t enjoy the first. Our sales have risen, so the packaging/wine/value combination is obviously working. However, it sometimes takes time for something very new to find its audience.

Ultimately, the Claret is now the largest-selling Cabernet Sauvignon sold in America over $15 dollars.  The net really helps the wine stand out and the consumer feels like they’re getting an ultra-premium package for a really great price.

If you’ve seen the gold netting on the Black Label Claret or the Sofia canned wine and wondered, “How did Coppola come up with that?”, now is your chance to find out the answer to that question and much more!  Corey Beck will present a “living case study” during our Wine Packaging Program: Decide, Design, Impress. Hear directly what went well, what could have gone better, and the unexpected obstacles that needed to be overcome. Register today!