Dogma Black Sea aged wines

the Labelmaker

Sofia, Bulgaria,

Design: the Labelmaker
Location: Bulgaria
Project Type: Produced
Client: Zaara Estate
Photo: Jordan Jelev
Product Launch Location: Global
Packaging Contents: Wine
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Glass
Printing Process: Metal label deep embossing, brushed patina, sea aging

The Project
Dogma Black Sea aged wines is probably on of the craziest an most exciting projects I have ever created. The idea behind these wines was born while Giovanni Colugnati and Victor Tsvetanov were tasting a single malt whisky matured in oak casks that were soaked with salty sea water. Then they decided to create wines that are aged at the sea bottom and this is how the Dogma Black Sea aged wines was born.This is not something new for the wine industry across the world, but for Bulgaria I believe this is the first wine from this kind.

The Challenge
When you have sea, salt, and water, there are always plenty of challenges. Everything from pressure resistance to bottle sealing was put to a test – you never know what is going to happen when you ‘drown’ a 602 kg metal cage with wine bottles at 25 meters depth on the bottom of the Black Sea nearby the cove of Tsarevo (Sorry I can’t share the exact GPS coordinates!).

The bottles were submerged in May 2019 and drawn back to the surface on September, 30th. For that time every bottle was ‘invaded’ by different sea creatures, shells and other organisms who all left their life marks on the glass. The result was a unique look for every bottle.

The team of Zaara Estate spent days cleaning special places on the bottles using different tools and life hacks preparing each of these bottles for manual label application. The label is made of pewter and features a very simple oval shape. All elements of the label design were embossed and then covered with patina, gently brushed away for a more natural look. The metal surface of the label is colored with a shining turquoise color which is very common for seawater reflections at direct sunlight.

The Execution

  • Bottle – the stunning Bourgogne 1859 by Saverglass – one of the best bottles made by this producer!
  • Sealing – We used classic cork sealing with gold or silver wax depending on the variety.
  • Label – Premium metal (pewter) label produced by The Metallabels.
  • Print – special metal self-adhesive label with very strong embossing, featuring brushed patina effect and ultra-saturated turquoise background coloring.
  • Metal cage – each bottle is placed in a custom made a metal cage with nautical style to enhance the sea theme in this packaging. Cages are designed and produced by Evegny Gotev and Bratya Chicheklievi Ltd.

The Result
I believe that Dogma Black Sea aged wine is an absolutely unique project in my career. I will probably never have the chance to do such a thing again. I like how all these sea creatures transformed each of our bottles into a unique piece of art. A sea-crafted bottle, a metal cage, and a custom wine label design – all these elements create a very memorably and one-of-a-kind look for this winemaking it not only shine on the shelf but also remembers that every bottle of wine hides a little message of hope and inspiration.