We make brands better; we also build brands from scratch. We find holistic, bespoke solutions to strategic and creative problems for brands big and small, all around the world. We balance listening with leading, and we never have a one-size-fits-all approach.
Throughout our nearly 50 years of experience in the alcohol beverage industry, we have helped hundreds of clients launch thousands of projects and sell millions of cases.
Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery came to CF Napa to develop the name, logo, and packaging for their new-age gin distilled from wine grapes. The gin would initially launch in the Pacific Northwest and was targeted toward Millennials who prefer a lower juniper flavor profile. The goal of this gin was for it to be favored by adventurous mixologists and curious cocktail lovers alike. CF Napa developed the name Feather & Folly to express a free-spirited personality and provide a wink back to Goose Ridge. The tattoo-style illustration makes use of the age-old symbolism of the Garden of Eden and depicts the balance of free will and the folly of human nature through the hidden symbology of the serpent in pursuit of the bird. Key botanical ingredients of the gin along with other flora are woven throughout the illustration. The bright yellow of the label was selected for its optimistic and youthful connotations while providing a fresh fruit-forward flavor cue and an ownable brand color within the competitive landscape of gin.
Following CF Napa’s redesign of the portfolio of wines, Clos du Val returned to CF Napa to develop a new wine club exclusive offering – Bernard’s Cuvée. The release of this limited-edition wine celebrates Clos du Val’s 50th anniversary and the packaging needed to highlight this milestone and honor the wine’s namesake Bernard Portet – Clos du Val’s first winemaker – as a truly one-of-a-kind offering. CF Napa’s scrapbook-like solution utilizes three separate labels, hand-applied over one another to create a collage of historical documents and photographs honoring Bernard, including the iconic 1970s Dodge Charger that he infamously drove up and down the then-rural Napa Valley. The final touch was Bernard’s signature and a limited edition bottle number. The result is a memorable package that captures the unique spirit of Bernard Portet and the early days of what would become Clos du Val’s impressive legacy in Napa Valley.
Nova Cadamatre MW, the first female winemaker in the US to achieve the title of Master of Wine, came to CF Napa to bring her latest project to life. Fiadh Ruadh (pronounced Fay-ah Roo-ah), Gaelic for “untamed wild red deer,” symbolizes her strength, grace, and persistence—which the packaging needed to embody. The label needed to have a high-fashion edginess as well as maintain an ultra-premium Napa Valley sense of luxury. CF Napa captured Fiadh Ruadh’s badass ethos through a modern label design highlighted by sculpture embossed, gold foil deer skulls and antlers drawn by CF Napa. These iconic skull and antlers also provided a subtle connection to the wine’s Stags Leap District AVA. The illustration was duplicated so that one skull and antlers could be viewed straight on when the bottle was turned, but when the brand name faced forward, the two intertwined to frame the brand name and label information.
As one of the original wineries of the famed Stags Leap District and an American entrant in the historic 1976 Judgment of Paris, Clos du Val is a Napa Valley legend. CF Napa was tasked to consult on the brand’s tiering structure and then refresh the brand logo and packaging--returning the brand to its former status and appropriate pedigree. The new packaging would need to incorporate a more youthful freshness combined with a sophisticated French sensibility to honor the founding family's ties to Bordeaux. The Clos du Val wordmark was refined to be more readable, and their Three Graces icon was redrawn to be more representative of the sculpture on which it was based. Both a positive and reverse version were developed so that the logo could be easily used across a wide range of mediums. The Red Blend, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and new Yettalil wines used the brand’s historic terra cotta color. For the Estate tier, The Three Graces portrait was accentuated by a debossed frame and accompanied by minimal text to provide the understated elegance of a fine art piece. A handwritten vintage date accentuated the exclusivity of this sophisticated wine.
Sonoma Distilling Co. came to CF Napa to revamp the packaging for their line of whiskeys. The goal was to position the brand for growth with a flexible packaging system and strong, consistent brand messaging. Special attention needed to be given to their unique hyper-local focus, while establishing a clear system allowing for product expansion from their core tier into their specialty, single barrel and cream liqueur tiers. CF Napa designed a custom glass bottle with cartouches of the Sonoma Distilling Co. logo, asserting the brand’s quality promise. The previous packaging placed an emphasis on the product name by locking it within the logo – creating confusion over the brand name and complications as the brand expanded into multiple tiers of products. To solve this, CF Napa pulled the product name out of the logo lock-up and utilized one logo across all SKUs. A double-label system was developed with the main label prominently displaying the logo and messaging supporting their status as a Sonoma County, locally produced brand. The secondary strip label organized the product name and SKU-specific information. A color-coding system was developed to aid in product recognition – across tiers all Bourbons utilize a maroon color, all Rye products use a green hue, and specialty items have their own color designations. For the exceptional Cherrywood Smoked Whiskeys, the wordmark received a gold foil treatment, setting these special spirits apart.
Portland-based Bird Creek Distillery came to CF Napa to design their new brand packaging, custom bottle, and custom tasting glasses to celebrate nature and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Inspired by the majestic Mt. Adams, CF Napa created a custom glass bottle and matching tasting glasses with a punt in the shape of the mountain. A minimalistic screenprint and paper neck label contained the informative whiskey data, allowing the bottle design to stand out. CF Napa designed 6 collectible T-tops with working compasses and images inspired by the fauna found on Mt. Adams. The tops were engraved with the geographic coordinates to the Bird Creek Meadows, further emphasizing the brand’s adventurous spirit.
Treasury Wine Estates engaged CF Napa to restructure and refresh their powerhouse brand, Etude. A pioneer in the Carneros AVA known for their exceptional wines, Etude’s packaging redesign kicked off with their flagship wine, Grace Benoist Ranch Pinot Noir. This core product’s package needed to reflect the high quality of the wine while providing a design foundation off which the other tiers could build, always allowing for clear differentiation between offerings. CF Napa simplified and refreshed the Etude wordmark script for a more elegant expression of the brand name. Modern fonts, type stacks, and a subtly sophisticated color palette were utilized to give the label a more clean, contemporary sensibility. Color, technical nomenclature, and label hierarchy varied between tiers and created cues that allowed for greater differentiation and respective increases in price perception. Typography elements were debossed for a letterpressed effect and textural interest. A thin double border provided the finishing touch and a call back to the previous packaging. Toothy, creamy paper stock was used as a foundational way to give the brand an elevated, luxurious feel.
The new, Maui-based Waikulu Distillery came to CF Napa to design the packaging, custom bottle, and tasting glasses for their brand of agave spirits. The design needed to feel true to traditional tequila packaging while maintaining an authentic Hawaiian sensibility. Inspired by handblown glass bottles used by luxury tequila producers, CF Napa designed a custom bottle with a variable pebble texture. A teal gradient was added to the glass, creating a sense of the sundrenched sky meeting the Hawaiian waters when combined with the hue of the agave spirit. For Waikulu’s logo, CF Napa drew an agave plant rising over the ocean, a symbol that was foiled in copper on the front label and molded into the glass. The distiller’s signature hand-stamped year and batch number added the finishing touches to this package.
West Coast Wine Group engaged CF Napa with the task of developing a new rosé brand called The Big Pink Rosé. CF Napa created an eclectic label showcasing the brand’s belief that life is a flourishing garden – filled with diversity and nourished by love, joy, and friendship. An elaborate scene of flora and fauna framed the label, capturing life’s whimsical, hopeful moments. A holographic foiled diamond encompassed the scene to embody the special facets of life that sparkle – good friends, cherished memories, and great wine. A toast was made around the centerpiece of the label – a rose-embedded crystal ball – expressing a positive outlook on the future.
Olde Raleigh Distillery engaged CF Napa to design the logo, packaging and custom bottle for their new distillery and flagship line of whiskies. The packaging would need to reflect the exceptional quality and scarcity of their hand-crafted, small-batch expression, luxury whiskies and evoke the sensibilities of an old school whiskey club. CF Napa created a bespoke bottle inspired by antique crystal decanters. The intricate seal for the distillery and their Whiskey Society membership, modeled after the seals of historic private clubs and secret societies, was embossed both into the metal coin atop the closure and into the base of the bottle. The label’s minty hue and gold foil band formed the quirky final touches to this truly unique brand packaging.
Coppercraft is a boutique distillery located in Holland, Michigan – a small town originally settled by Dutch emigrants where there is a focus on craftsmanship, pride of work and a passion for quality. CF Napa’s goal was to reposition the brand as ultra-premium by emphasizing the brand’s use of local ingredients and their attention to detail. The custom glass bottle includes messaging about the premium nature of the product. We developed a, “Proudly Crafted in Holland, MI” seal for the label that includes a tulip to speak to the area’s history of growing the flowers. The bottles were all screenprinted with the brand logo but utilize a paper label to customize the bottle for each product. The custom closure is created from natural wood, a material used by local craftsman, and copper, an homage to the copper stills that create the spirits.
Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing came to CF Napa to develop the custom bottle and packaging design for a new high-end French liqueur brand. This sophisticated liqueur created with berries and flowers was named Fleur Charmante, French for “charming flower.” The packaging needed to capture the special qualities of the drink and look beautiful on a back bar without sacrificing the ease of use by a mixologist. Inspired by the name of the brand, CF Napa designed an elegant bottle with petaled facets reminiscent of a flower bud. The thick base and slim profile give the bottle a sturdy structure while allowing it to fit easily in the hands of a bartender. The curves in the glass give the packaging a feminine flair that is echoed in the label – a shape inspired by vintage French boutique placards. The gold details in the label and closure hint to the quality of the premium spirit.
Over the past 20 years, David Schuemann has led CF Napa Brand Design in becoming one of the world’s preeminent branding agencies specializing in the alcohol beverage category. During that time, CF Napa has created some of the fastest-growing and most successful alcohol brands in the world. The firm’s work has earned international recognition from almost every major design competition in the world and has been showcased in some of the most prestigious museums, including the Museum of Modern Art. CF Napa’s work is part of the permanent collection at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum at the Smithsonian in New York City and the permanent collection of the American Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum. In 2013, Schuemann authored 99 Bottles of Wine, The Making of the Contemporary Wine Label. The book offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at how CF Napa’s creative packaging design has driven some of today’s most successful wine brands and features 40+ years of design work from the firm. David serves on the advisory board for Women of the Vine as well as Artisan Spirit Magazine, where he is considered a thought leader in branding for the burgeoning craft spirits industry. In addition to his involvement in a variety of industry organizations, David speaks regularly about strategic branding and design at conferences worldwide. David earned his BFA in Graphic Design at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and started his career shortly after in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he worked for the US record label K-Tel Records and later Carlson Marketing Group—one of the largest ad agencies in the world. Early in his career, David fell in love with wine while working at many restaurants as a wine trainer and server and became an avid personal collector. In 2000, Schuemann moved to San Francisco and joined Addison Branding as its Design Director. There he oversaw packaging and large corporate identity projects, including the complete rebranding of Hawaiian Airlines and its fleet of airplanes. Soon thereafter, Schuemann found the perfect marriage of his passions for the alcohol beverage industry and design, becoming the Creative Director for CF Napa Brand Design. A few years later, he purchased the firm to build what is now one of the most respected brand design firms in the alcohol category.