Virtual wineries are a bit of a fad. So, what do you do when ‘the real deal’ lands in your lap?
Lisa Suárez of Suárez Wines is a bit of an enigma, and a special case. Having dedicated the last decade of her life to the pursuit of winecraft following a successful career as a TV reporter, Lisa’s ambitions were by no means typical. While many fringe winefolk are in it for money (good luck with that…?), glory or vanity, Lisa’s winemaking journey was closer to storytelling and personal therapy, with the sharp edges of winemaking alchemy blurred by the imposition of the themes that govern her life.
Lisa is not so much a ‘virtual winemaker’, she is a nomadic artisan, merging her dream with her biography and truly unable to separate one from the other.
Suárez is a remarkable winery. Like the winemaker herself, the vintages, styles, and grapes are less deliberate and more a convergence of coincidence. Our job was to enshrine her style within the brand, paying the most attention to the winemaker herself and the preoccupations and obsessions that led to her vintages as opposed to the usual (and often pretentious) exercises in promoting mastery over curiosity.
In Yannick Wertsch, winemaker at Between The Lines Winery in Niagara, Lisa had found not only a mentor, but someone complicit in her approach. As much an inventor as a winemaking master, Yannick was immediately drawn to Lisa’s eclecticism and natural passion for the pairing of wine with pivotal life events. Together, they have produced two vintages, a debut Pinot Gris and a Petit Verdot.
Because these and all other wines she may create are a highly personal artistic expression, arriving at a personalized, eponymous brand moniker was predestined. Drawn from Lisa’s contemporary Mexican American roots, the Suárez wordmark puts to use the expression of embellished type to contrast the old with the new, the Latin and the adventurous romance of the American southwest.
The brand palette is confined to a stark black and white, with silver lustre, using macro photography to suggest the winemaker’s roots, ideas, and obsessions. Visual themes are drawn from Lisa’s past and present, featuring desert succulents, feathers, the Colorado mountains, and the sugar skulls of Dia de los Muertos.
Lisa’s wine debut in Niagara, was a resounding success. The evening itself consisted of a high-concept launch called North x Southwestern Nueveo featuring an intimate, candlelit reception in a back barn cellar, replete with Mexican cut paper-wrapped votive candles, amazing food, and specialty margaritas to ease your tired out palate.
Since launch, Suárez Wines, has been met with a welcome reception from the Niagara wine community and continues to achieve great success while staying true to its founders’ roots.