I'm Gonna Wine A Bit.....

I've been busy for the past few months working on a redesign of a winery located in Eastern Washington. It's Hogue Cellars, a marvelous winery founded by brothers Mike & Gary Hogue - and this year, it celebrates it's 25th Anniversary! Now owned by Constellation Brands, it was time to update the VIP Event Room and retail shop to reflect the growth and evolution of the brand over the years. After I helped with some color & material choices, the retail manager Jennifer handled coordinating the contractors to remodel the event room. Next week, I will head over with a crew of three to install the decorative elements, furnishings, and products in the VIP Room and retail shop. In the meantime, here's a peek at my planning process: Stylesheets.

The 'masthead' stylesheet is like a prologue to a book or film: it sets the stage for our story. I've included the logo, words from the winery website, and images that reflect the mood and style that are driving my design concepts. This is how I 'see' Hogue's brand image.

The plan for the VIP Tasting & Event Room....sage green walls, deep sage green chenille drapery panels, walnut wood floors & window blinds, two great rugs in browns & sage greens & golds, and furniture in walnut and painted finishes. The colors were chosen to evoke the landscape outside - the fabulous terrior of the wine country in Eastern Washington. Terrior (Tehr WAH) is French for 'Pride of Place' - all of the characteristics of a wine begin with where the grapes are grown. A winery is the same....it's characteristics should reflect the surrounding terrain, light, colors, style, and mood. It should be a visual representation of the wine's story.

The room will have a warm, enveloping, welcoming 'vibe', a comfortable and relaxing place to enjoy fine wine, great food, and good company. Warm colors, textures, rich woods, and classic furniture pieces are included. Many of the furnishings are easy to move around, like the two eight-foot-long dining tables, three bistro sets, and portable bar, making this space flexible for many different types of events & gatherings as well as daily private tastings.

Then it's on to the retail shop. Illustrating the display style to be used, this stylesheet shows a cross-merchandise method, and explains that seasonal themes will be incorporated into vignettes of products. Mixing wine, food, glassware, ceramics, dinnerware, linens, books, and natural elements (flowers, greens, etc.) will impart a 'lifestyle' image to the merchandise and the shop as a whole. We'll still have shelves full of glassware and wine accessories and tshirts, but they will be adjacent to tables & wine racks filled with products in a more inspiring, artistic way - to catch the eye and motivate the customer to buy the products in order to replicate the look at home.

The products IN those displays will be an ever-changing mix of the following three styles, because they fit the style of the winery image, the architecture, the surrounding landscape...


Another thing to take into account with this plan is that the retail shop is small, and so each season, both Jen and buyer Lisa will order merchandise that all works together color-wise. Not that everything has to be the same color, but the tonalities and hues need to be 'friendly' with one another, because you will see everything at once when you walk in. It's the principle of 'adjacencies' : making sure that things don't clash when they occupy the same visual space.

So, that's the plan... and I'm excited about seeing it all come together next week! I'll share before/after photos, too.

I want to ask you something. Have you ever done this for YOUR store? Even if you've been in business thirty years (or maybe especially if you've been in business that long), it's imperative to be able to define your style, tell your 'story', and present your own branded image thru your products, displays, color choices, etc. Perhaps by creating a stylesheet, or even making a list or two, you can begin to refine your image. We have to do this every few years personally, right? Change our hair, our makeup, our clothing size (O heavens!), and update our color choices to fit the current season. Well, your business visual image needs an update every once in awhile, too! Heck, even McDonalds is redesigning their restaurants....yes, even the big brands have to work hard to stay enticing to customers. I encourage you to take a new, fresh look at where you want to go and how you want to present yourself as a business for the next five years. If you're stuck, drop me a line and let's see if I can't help you via this wonderful internet!

(And might I suggest a lovely glass of Hogue Cellars cabernet sauvignon to inspire you?) Cheers!


  1. I run a small museum gift store. We update the look of the store for every exhibit by completely rearranging everything. If it is a glass exhibit we put an emphasis on the glass we have, if it is textiles etc... It keeps the store fresh and keep us on our toes for where things are located.

    It is a tiny store with fixed fixtures so we have to be very creative to keep it fresh.

  2. Great post! The process is so important to the final result and you really showed people the way.

    I use style sheets (aka concept boards) too, they are soooo helpful! I just put 4 together for the holiday plan for my tiny store! Great way to see if you have what you need (merchandise, props, supplies) well in advance so you have plenty of time to gather missing pieces!

    Thanks Deb, and keep the great info coming!

  3. Whew...I spent waaay too long last night when I should have been sleeping reading from recent through all your archived posts! Not a good thing to read at midnight, a creative mind whirling with wonderful ideas is not a great sleep inducer! I share just a very tiny space at a local antique mall with a friend and I wanted to call her before I went to bed to let her know how I 'see' our spring to summer revamp! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your contagious enthusiasm! ~Dona

  4. Anonymous4:19 PM

    I'm dying to know how the installation is going! And I can't wait to see photos! Such good planning, Deb, and great ideas! :)