Hillsborough Vineyard, located in Loudoun County, Virginia, is a family owned and operated business. Since 2003, the vineyard has produced several award winning wines. A labor of love, the process of growing several varieties of vines, cultivating and processing the grapes, and eventually bottling requires years of advanced planning. The land where Hillsborough Vineyard rests was originally sold by George William Fairfax to Jame Nelson in 1778.
The new website design had to appropriately reflect the passion exuded by the owners and staff of Hillsborough Vineyard. Not only did it have to deliver the commonly accepted components in a website, but also be memorable. The design process began with the palette choice, as it would be reflected on every page within the new site. The first initial color choice was burgundy red, as it represents many varieties of red wines, including their well loved Bloodstone. Next, desaturated greens and beige colors were chosen to compliment the red choice.
As is so happens, the vineyard has an artist within the family; Zeynep Baki. She paints lovely landscapes of the vineyard and surrounding Loudoun areas. We chose one of her paintings as the background images for the website. Color treatments were applied to the painting to create a blended effect while meshing with the color palette.
Kerem, the winemaker, had a vision for the header section of the site. He wanted a photograph of his fermenting barrels presented using a sketched appearance. We used a selection of his photos and arranged them in various ways that each carried their own style. The chosen header image shows racks of oak barrels with the appearance of heavy sketched pencil lines. This images was then treated to properly repeat across the top of each page, regardless of the width of the users display.
During the strategic planning phase, we determined which web pages were required, and how they would be cross linked. Doing so not only provides a good web visitor experience, but also encourages more exploration within the site. The longer a visitor stays within a site, the more likely they are to engage with the business, or buy wine in this case. In most cases, we used graphic buttons, instead of simple links that pointed to contextual information within a page. This not only encourages deeper site exploration, but also is an attractive presentation on mobile devices. This website was designed to be responsive from the ground up to properly display on any mobile device.
Another requirement was the the content of the website have the ability to be shared on social media, especially Pinterest. This leverages user-shared content as a means to spread brand awareness. For this reason, we designed five separate photo galleries that share vineyard views, the wine-making process, weddings and staff. Any on the photo within the galleries can easily be Pinned to a web visitors account, which then creates a link back to the Hillsborough Vineyard website. The photo to the left shows a small number of these images. Planning for the use of social media is an important consideration today. Both in terms of messaging, and technical integration.
With more than forty vineyard and wineries in Loudoun County, this burgeoning industry is rapidly growing, Just this week, Governor McAuliff declared that the Virginia Wine industry is now the fifth largest in the country. This is an impressive number when considering many of the grape growers didn’t exist ten years ago.
In addition, the Loudoun Brewery scene is also expanding quickly. With new agricultural laws passes, these breweries will now be allowed to grow, and ferment, their own hops. You can expect the term “Hops Farming” to become a familiar term this year. Old 690 Brewery already has their garden staked and planted. There is word that many of the others will soon be doing the same.
Wicked Design has also designed several wine labels for Loudoun Wineries. See our blog post that describes the wine label design process, with a video demonstration. We created a hand-drawn illustration, that began with a photograph, that included the design of a rabbit character guiding a canoe down a meandering river.
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