In terms of retail adventures, shopping for wine might rank as one of the most polarizing and intimidating, particularly if you’re a novice.
But that’s what led Whiny Baby founder Jess Druey to kickstart her new-to-market wine brand in 2020 for vino newbies. It all started with a first date and a trip to the store, where she searched high and low for the perfect bottle. Overwhelmed by numerous options and stuffy labels, she quickly realized that the industry needed a welcoming, non-elitist brand and product that catered to Gen Z consumers like herself.
Instead of waiting for one to materialize, she founded Whiny Baby alongside the California winemaking duo of the McBride sisters.
The branding centers around connection, with each blend named after the feeling it evokes when spending time with friends or loved ones. The red blend, for example, is “Obsessed Red Blend,” the white is “Unwind White Blend,” and the rosé is “OMG?!? Fizzy Rosé Blend.” Druey felt a brand could build a core of relatability by developing an almost self-deprecating brand poking fun at Gen Z’s reputation for being whiny with a hint of drama.
In addition to the unstuffy, approachable names, the packaging follows the same cues. Designed by the brand’s founder and in-house designer, Ansley Kane Oberkofler, the bottles capture a youth-driven aesthetic with a retro kick. The stickered-inspired label features smiley faces, fun sayings, and an interactive piece where consumers can write and save their memories from the bottle.
The packaging system also helps to break into the crowded wine space. It shifts consumers’ mindsets away from thinking that the wine industry is stagnant and boring and, instead, takes a lighter approach. Instead of the Gen Z demographic walking into a wine shop and feeling unwelcomed and intimidated, Whiny Baby makes the entire process, from purchasing to drinking, focused on community and accessibility.