BEHIND THE DESIGN: Fowles Are You Game?

With a vast generational history of farming the land across livestock and the vineyard, Fowles Wine wanted to enrich the family’s past through its wine labelling.

Through the creation of the ‘Are You Game?’ series of seven wines, Fowles Wine was able to embody an inherent respect for the environment, a healthy passion for experiencing the unknown and pushing the boundaries in food and wine. The philosophy behind its wines is that of connecting people to the “whole natural world”; the cyclical journey and symbiotic relationship between plants, animals and humans. Thus each label depicts different animals that can be found on the land and prepared as honest and delicious dishes, allowing people to engage together.

“It was really important to us that the labels reflected our way of life; life on the land, serious about wine quality but happy to have a bit of fun,” co-owner Matt Fowles said. “We’ve always done things differently at Fowles. In the case of our ‘Are You Game?’ wine, they’re specifically blended to match with textures and flavours of wild meat that we source from our land and the Strathbogie Ranges region. “This idea is pretty ‘out there’, even confronting to some, and we wanted the labelling to match. The ‘Are You Game?’ packaging is designed to reflect adventure, exploration and the unique characteristics and qualities of different wild game that can be enjoyed with our wines.”

Each label was designed with a distinct coloured background to create an earthy feel but not necessarily be a traditional representation or a code of a grape variety. The Fowles’ ‘Are you Game?’ brand name is printed in gold foil while hero elements in the label are highlighted with a high build gloss, including each animal’s eyes, which enhances the dramatic effect of the question the label is asking consumers “Are you Game?”

“The label illustrations were created to portray elements of nature, flora and food, all connected to the region, land and vineyards,” Fowles said. “As a comparatively smaller player in the market, it was important for Fowles Wine that the ‘Are You Game?’ labels be disruptive and stand out, not only as a single variety but as a whole range.”

“The ‘Are You Game?’ packaging offers something different to many mainstream labels and challenges the consumer to think and explore further.”

The varietal was also intentionally placed on the back label. While this is not common practice, especially in a mass retail environment, it was felt that the unique and eye-catching front label would draw the consumer’s attention Fowles Are you Game? Judges’ comments “Very clever concept; beautifully crafted and communicated. Love the connection to the “natural world” and the designer’s interpretation and representation of Fowles’ philosophy; particularly farming (food focused wines) represented with the whimsical animal characters (food) that, assumedly, pair well with the wine varietals they represent.” and encourage them to pick up the bottle.

“Being a bit different can also present its own challenges, however, we have had the most extraordinary response,” said Fowles. “They are universally loved which is obviously very pleasing. We are a small family business and, with my wife Luise, we spend a lot of hours around the kitchen table discussing design. “For this to be formally recognised, alongside other producers and packaging we admire, is extremely rewarding.”

Fowles Are You Game? won the Best Package Series Design award at the 2021 PACKWINE Design Awards.

Post adapted from the Grapegrower & Winemaker June 2021 edition, reporting by Stephen O’Loughlin.




Best Package Series Design

The Best Package Series Design is open to entries consisting of two or more wine packages that work together as a cohesive whole. Packages will be judged on the cohesiveness of the series, their visual appeal as a series and as individual bottles, design functionality and appropriateness for the price segment.



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