Daniel Carlsten creates an elegant identity system for Californian low-impact winery Sabelli-Frisch
Sabelli-Frisch is a Californian low-impact winery founded and maintained by cinematographer Adam Sabelli-Frisch, a Swede living and working in Los Angeles. He sees his well-travelled upbringing as the trigger for his interest in wine: “Growing up in the 70s meant having a hippie mum that constantly dragged me around the world on travels from the age of five”, he explains.
Adam reveals that, after settling down in California in his late 30s, he asked himself the question: “What could I see myself doing for the rest of my life?” Besides taking pictures, the answer was to make wine, and after all, California is perfect for just that. He began making wine at home and following a lot of practice and eventual improvement, started to dream of doing it professionally.
The wines he makes are bone-dry, fermented-naturally, low in sulfites and contain no added chemicals. Instead of rushing them to market, Adam lets them age for at least 18 months, which helps to develop and refine the flavour.
He turned to Stockholm-based designer Daniel Carlsten for help with his fledgeling brand’s visual identity and packaging, outlining that he wanted “something minimal, not the interpretation of ‘natural’ that many of his peers do”. That being “scribbly, homemade labels that play on the idea of small, independent, hippie or punk”. Instead, Adam wanted to take advantage of the small scale of his operation by presenting the wines as personal and exclusive.
As a result, each bottle is sealed with a wax top, adding a hand-crafted human touch to every product. Carlsten chose Adam’s favourite blue after finding a place that could die wax in any colour they wanted. “I love these projects where decisions on colour come from the founder’s personal preference, as opposed to what the market expects”, he explains. The labels have a sophisticated yet organic feel due to their layered blind-emboss finish. He adds that, by using this technique, they could “work with a really big logo, empowering the brand feel, while still being very subtle about it”. The typography across the board is Futura, selected after extensive testing for its “effortless elegance”.
On the collaboration with Adam as a whole, Carlsten states that “I can send him stuff without having to explain too much, and he can reject ideas based on his gut feel. No grudges, no games. Just throwing ideas back and forth until something sticks. All in all, a very generous process”.