Gemtree: wine ecotourism meets biodynamics at the cellar door

Gemtree make some of the finest biodynamic organic wines in the nation and export the world over. As part of our ongoing strategic, design and storytelling work, we got to work on bringing a new interpretation of the Gemtree philosophy right to the walls and winelist of its new sustainable cellar door.

As it states at the heart of our interpretive mural, 'In nature, life is constantly changing.' We wanted to bring a timelessness to this established, family-run wine brand, yet still evoke the earthy, special qualities of biodynamic agriculture, such as its links to celestial forces, including the pull of the moon.

Gemtree wanted people to have a conversation at the cellar door, so it was up to us to make the introductions. As one of our recommendations, we proposed a mural featuring a woodcut illustration style that echoed the paganistic nature of biodynamic farming. The feature wall acts as a conversation piece while people sample a glass (or two).

The feature wall showed a year-long timeline of vine growth, indicating key times for biodynamic practices (such as burying a cow horn filled with manure to create compost) and which animals are allowed in the vineyard at certain times to aid with natural processes. We didn't want to introduce anything structural into the intimate, bright space, so after plenty of research, feature wall artwork was printed on wallpaper and applied in a traditional manner. This enhances the sense of 'what is old is new', adding an interesting texture to contrast with the stark white walls. The illustration style and the stories about how to 'grow a great wine' was also extended to clipboard menu cover pages, while a template was created to allow people working at the cellar door to update their written material with minimal use of resources (or costs), striking the right balance between bespoke and pragmatic design.

Although at heart it's a family business, Gemtree is truly international, including a Chinese joint-venture partnership, so whatever we did needed to be really visual, meet with the bilingual brand guidelines we developed and then translate in every way for visitors to the sustainable cellar door. To this end, we ensured the 'Welcome to Gemtree' entrance message was translated for the most frequent international visitors the popular McLaren Vale wine region.

We've done some wayfinding and other brand work for this client (which we'll showcase soon) and we're ready to extend this work to the beautiful surrounds of the vineyards and the wetland trail that helps make this a must-see ecotourism destination in South Australia.

Ecocreative have assisted us to communicate a consistent message to our customers about our philosophies and commitment to sustainability. They have looked at our business from the outside in and made recommendations to assist our positioning across many different aspects of what we do, from dealing with issues requiring immediate attention to building our brand with a long-term vision. Working with the Ecocreative team, they have displayed professionalism at all times and their attention to detail is paramount. And, like us, it's clear they really love what they do!
Melissa Brown, Viticulturist


Gemtree Wines

Services delivered

• Brand strategy
• Strategic consulting
• Research
• Project management
• Creative direction
• Design
• Illustration
• Writing
• Editing
• Proofreading
• Production management