February 5 2024  |  Spirits & Tobacco

Penfolds on its immersive “Venture Beyond” concept and reshaping the luxury wine experience

By Laura Shirk

Penfolds’ underwater-themed activation “Venture Beyond 2023” at Sydney Airport

As travel retail dives deeper into the new year, Global Travel Retail Magazine (GTR Magazine) is also taking a look back at highlights in line with Penfolds. At the top of this list is the unveiling of its underwater-themed activation “Venture Beyond 2023” at Sydney Airport in partnership with Heinemann Australia in Q4. Ahead of a global rollout, this marks the second installment of its “Venture Beyond” series. The immersive online-to-offline experience aims to position Penfolds as a global luxury icon and push the boundaries of the wine category.

According to Kristy Keyte, Chief Marketing Officer at Penfolds, “Venture Beyond 2023” is the company’s bold venture into the philosophy of curating an all-encompassing experience that engages all of the senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Drawing on themes of oceanic discovery, the Penfolds activation invites travelers on a journey into the depths of the sea. The immersive concept of an underwater world, supported by a visually stunning display and personalized digital program redefined the festive season for travelers.

“The decision to dive into the ocean for our second ‘Venture Beyond’ thematic was about embracing the Penfolds spirit – the fearless self-belief to push past boundaries and explore beyond the ordinary. After our first thematic journey into outer space, it felt like a natural next step to delve into the mysteries of the sea,” says Keyte.

Described as a reflection of its pioneering nature and symbol of its commitment to venturing into unchartered territories, the ocean theme is not only about aesthetics. However, the visuals of scuba divers, coral-like display shelves and “marine ambiance” were made more memorable with the incorporation of the rich hues of Penfolds’ signature red.

Drawing on themes of oceanic discovery, the Penfolds activation invites travelers on a journey into the depths of the sea

Brand awareness and strategic planning

Speaking about promoting “Venture Beyond 2023” and generating brand awareness in the channel, Keyte tells GTR Magazine Penfolds has strategically crafted a multi-faceted approach to integrate the experience into the pre-trip and in-transit phases of the consumer journey. One initiative was an exclusive launch party in Sydney last August that transported media, VIPs, influencers and friends of Penfolds into the depths of the sea. It was an unforgettable evening of adventure and discovery, featuring our newly released Penfolds Collection wines from prestigious regions around the globe,” she says.

Additionally, Penfolds’ omnichannel approach has been instrumental in enhancing consumer engagement. From impactful packaging to strategic points of sale, a compelling digital presence and experiential events, Keyte points out that it has seamlessly woven the “Venture Beyond” narrative into the consumer’s journey. “The Sydney launch event marks just the beginning, travelers can expect to see more ‘Venture Beyond 2023’ pop-ups and experiences in the months ahead,” she adds.

The immersive concept of an underwater coral palace is supported by a visually stunning display and personalized digital program

Striking a balance

When asked how Penfolds’ new digital program brings together the two main trends of gifting and personalization in travel retail, Keyte notes that as a major growth driver, gifting is one of the key reasons that people step into the world of luxury wines.

“To us, wine is more than a beverage; it’s a conversation starter and catalyst for connection,” shares Keyte. “What’s great about gifting and personalization then is its flexibility in catering to multiple groups to enhance the overall consumer experience.”

Looking to strike a balance between exclusivity and accessibility, as well as to recruit wine drinkers into the premium category, Penfolds is focused on broadening consumer appeal and driving the global acceleration of the category. The release of its travel exclusive Cellar Reserve portfolio is an example of this in action.

The activation is inspired by the limited-edition blue colorway of the Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz Exclusive

Redefining expectations

As a category leader, Penfolds is working to shape the luxury wine experience in travel retail and has adopted a line of thinking that transcends traditional norms. “By blending science, art and innovation into our offerings, we are not only redefining the expectations for Penfolds, but also contributing to the enduring value, vitality and relevance of the entire wine category in the channel,” says Keyte. The launch of Penfolds Collection 2023, which features wines from a wide range of regions such as Australia, the USA, France, and now China, demonstrates the company’s commitment to showcasing craftsmanship, as well as global expansion.

“Wine is a valuable and dynamic segment, and we believe it has the potential to expand its audience and become a preferred choice for travelers seeking memorable experiences. This is where initiatives like ‘Venture Beyond 2023’ play a pivotal role in challenging the status quo and reshaping expectations regarding how luxury wine brands engage with consumers in the marketplace,” says Keyte.

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