Packaging with conviction

New Food’s Editor Joshua Minchin interviews 19 Crimes’ Franchise Vice President, John Wardley, on its infamous packaging that has helped uphold it as a market leader for a decade.

In a sector as old and as storied as wine, it is rare to witness a brand carve out a niche so quickly and so successfully as 19 Crimes. In just 10 short years, the Treasury Wine Estates brand has become one of the sector’s most talked about names, and a hit with consumers too – partly down to its unique packaging and story.

But why has 19 Crimes achieved so much success so quickly? How much of this is a result of wine itself, and how much is down to the packaging and story behind it?

Transporting a grizzly past to supermarket shelves

It’s certainly not uncommon for prestigious wine brands to shout about their heritage and history on their bottles and in their marketing – in fact, brands (especially European ones) often attempt to attach a sense of tradition and lineage to their wines.

19 Crimes follows this trend, but instead centres its story not around centuries of winemaking passed down from generation to generation, but to the 160,000+ people transported to Australia in the 18th and 19th Centuries for 19 specific crimes – ranging from ‘grand larceny’ to ‘impersonating an Egyptian’.1

The labels were captivating but as you dug deeper, you found that the stories of these historical pioneers were just as intriguing

“We are an innovative brand who continues to bring the 19 Crimes story to life in new, modern and refreshing ways. When we first launched in 2012, we caught consumer’s attention with our unique labels, featuring historical artists and scholars who received punishment by transportation to Australia,” explained John Wardley, Vice President 19 Crimes Franchise, Treasury Wine Estates.

“While each of our original wines feature real historical figures, artists and scholars who received ‘punishment by transportation’ to Australia, the wine more so celebrates these pioneers’ journey to redemption. They overcame adversity and forged a new national spirit for Australia.”

More than just a marketing gimmick, 19 Crimes weaves that barbaric yet formative period of British and Australian history into every aspect of its brand – there are even 19 collectible corks displaying the now infamous crimes that might see you end up on a ship to Botany Bay.