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Top 6: May 26th 2021

Untouched by Light: Untouched by Light

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Top 6: May 26th 2021
Untouched by Light the world's first sparkling wine made, sold and tasted in complete darknessResearch shows that the exposure of wine to daylight or artificial lighting results in light-struck aromas Radgonske Gorice winery and Bruketa&Zinic&Grey agency have created a new sparkling wine brand called Untouched by Light. This sparkling wine's motto is that best things happen in the dark. According to Professor Emerita Ann C. Noble , the exposure of wine to daylight or artificial lighting results in what is commonly known as light-struck aromas (goût de lumière). For that reason Radgonske Gorice made a decision to turn to the dark side and produce their new sparkling wine.

This wine is unique because of its production process. The night vison goggles are used for harvest, bottle rotation and packing. The wine is left to age for two to three years in Gornja Radgona cave in Slovenia, where it is untouched by the outside world, completely lightproof. In the jargon of Radgonske gorice this is popularly known as the Crafted by Darkness method. Once out of the cave, the wine is protected in a black lightproof bottle, packed in a vacuum-sealed bag blocking any additional light or air contact.

The initial task was to rebrand the Zlata Radgonska Penina sparkling wine and to facilitate the Radgonske Gorice winery’s efforts to make its way to the global market outside Slovenia, which it had not managed to achieve before despite its 169-year-old tradition and high quality. At first the client believed the brand name and packaging design were the problem. But it was only partially true. A lot more was needed to capture the attention of global distributors in a highly competitive industry. With the budget limitations in mind, any traditional type of advertising expected to have a desired global reach was not an option. As a result, a completely new product was created, one that could capture the attention of international public.

During the research phase the agency came across a paper1 by Ann C. Noble, professor from the University of California, Davis. She proves that even minimal exposure of sparkling wine to light can change its aroma for the worse. Sparkling wines are sensitive because of yeast lees causing higher amino acid oxidation affected by light. The agency’s proposal was that the winery should switch off the lights during the production process and come up with UNTOUCHED BY LIGHT, the first sparkling wine created and consumed in complete darkness.
The packaging design underscores the product uniqueness. For that reason, the agency steered clear from category conventions, typical graphical language and decorations. With simple, informative design and distinctive graphics, they aimed at suggesting this is something else. The bottle is made of 99.8% black glass and sealed inside rectangular black foil that makes the bottle barely visible and embodies the production process in complete darkness.

The product launch was planned in a darkroom in the basement of The Savoy Hotel with a blind sommelier, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was streamed online from a dark natural cave.

This innovation was widely reported in the media all the way from the US to China. There were 232 media mentions including in The Washington Post, The Independent, Decanter, Der Spiegel, Forbes and Wine China. Due to the interest sparked among international distributors this sparkling wine is now sold in places like Casamona in St. Moritz and high-end stores in China. And the value of the bottle increased six-fold.

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