Following in the footsteps of the people behind Oliver Peyton’s Restaurant in the Royal Academy of Arts who commissioned artists Gary Hume and Tracey Emin to produce artwork on wine labels, Yauatcha bought a wine vintage – the 2010 Viognier – and designed a wine with bespoke wine labels that wholly represented the restaurant’s values and ethos.
There is an element of risk associated with buying and creating an own-brand wine, primarily due to the concern that either the wine itself or the restaurant – or both – would be compromised. The idea was that the wine design reflected the quality of the wine chosen, and vice versa. The wine list at Yauatcha and Hakkasan is prestigious, and the wine eventually picked as the Yauatcha own-brand wine should reflect that.
Niall and Christine, Head Wine Buyer at Hakkasan Group, consulted with Wine Intelligence, deciding with their guidance that the wine should be white and bottled with a screw-cap. Christine spoke to all the companies that supply the wines exclusively for the restaurant, but in the end it was Sam Harrop MW, leading consultant winemaker and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, who suggested the South African winery Alvi’s Drift, a family owned winery founded in 1928 and located in Worcester in the Breede River Valley region, explaining that they produced an excellent Viognier.
Both Niall and Christine sampled the 2010 vintage Viognier and, upon discovering that it went perfectly with the spicy, intricate flavours of the Chinese cuisine at both Yauatcha and Hakkasan, it was decided that the Viognier was the perfect choice for the Yauatcha own-brand wine. It was made with consultant input from both John Worontschak, leading winemaker and wine business development consultant, and Sam Harrop MW.
The design of the packaging – from the colours of the wine bottle to the label itself – was led by Lucy Wright, Designer at Hakkasan, with input from Amphora Design, a specialist wine label designing firm. After a lengthy and meticulous process, a design inspired by the leaves of the Viognier vine was chosen and created. To complement the colours of both the label (which was predominantly pale greens and yellow, reflecting the colours used in Yauatcha) and the wine, a pale green flint glass bottle was used. At 347g, it was the lightest of the three types available in South Africa and chosen specifically to reduce its carbon footprint.
The wine was bottled on the 30th January 2012. It quickly passed quality control and was tasted and approved by the Wine and Spirits board. In order to bring the wine to the UK, Hakkasan Group had to register as a wine importer. In total, 270 cases of 12 bottles were purchased and sold in the restaurant, and was well received by all.