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1125 Walnut Avenue
Mare Island
CA, 94592
United States
(707) 558-0744
Ed Rice

Affinity Creative Group



Affinity Creative Group is a multidisciplinary creative agency that connects brands with their audiences at essential consumer touchpoints. Our mission is to stir the imagination of our clients and bring brands to life through beautiful packaging, engaging digital media, and enticing retail environments. THE RESULT: A seamless brand experience.



We’re those people in the market pointing out pixelated text on milk cartons and geeking out over gold foil on coffee packaging. Creativity is in our DNA, and we carry that with us wherever we go. We have an insatiable desire to grow as designers and people. Projects come to an end, but our process never stops.



The marketplace is crowded, and the competition is unrelenting. You only get one chance to make the right impression with a new package. So we start by learning everything we need to know about your brand to guarantee success. Our comprehensive design exploration includes understanding your competition, your product's retail environment, sales, profitability objectives and your long-term brand vision.


A Refreshing Morning at the North Coast WIN Expo and Conference

“So, what exactly is a Brand Refresh?” asked Moderator, Dave Trebilcock, as he looked over to the panel of featured speakers. 

Ed Rice & Christine Lilienthal 

Ed Rice, Affinity Creative Group’s Director of Strategy replied, “It’s a makeover, and when done well, it strengthens your connection to current customers and attracts new consumers to your brand.”  Christine Lilienthal, Director of Marketing for Cline Family Cellars and past Affinity client, smiled and nodded in agreement.  

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the WIN Expo, Trade Show & Conference, hosted by the Wine Industry Network, at the chilly but spacious Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. As a new addition to the Affinity Creative team, this event gave me the opportunity to see the industry from a totally new perspective. It also gave me the chance to observe audience reaction to one of Affinity’s most dramatic brand transformations.

Colleague Ed and client Christine were selected to participate in the Sales and Marketing Seminar: Keys to Successfully Refreshing Your Brand, highlighting our agency’s efforts in the refurbishment of Cline Family Cellars, Old Vine Zinfandel

Affinity Creative Group was awarded this assignment in late 2016. With creative mojo provided by the Affinity Brand Design team, Christine’s marketing turnaround plan came to fruition with dramatic results.  When we started the project, the product had experienced over a -14% decline. After working with Affinity and producing a fresh new label look and feel, the brand has seen a +21% increase. 

Lilienthal indicated that Cline sales and marketing teams are now using this success story to open new points of distribution and get buyers who had lost faith in their Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel to give it another try. And they are. 

Additionally, from a wine quality perspective, Cline also received a Best Buy from Wine Enthusiast and 88 Points from Wine Spectator. 

As Christine provided words of encouragement to other producers who might consider a brand refresh, it was a pretty amazing feel to watch a past client give such praise to Affinity’s creative prowess.

This seminar also offered guidance and inspiration to attendees pondering the pathway to a brand design update for their labeling and packaging systems. Undertaking that daunting brand ‘facelift’. In today’s competitive sales environment, projecting an image from your package that clearly reflects the quality of the product and supports the brand’s positioning is essential. 

However, executing the necessary steps to get there is not always as easy as it may initially seem. Lilienthal and Rice spoke in detail about the re-branding experience, revealing pitfalls to avoid and providing guidance to achieve a highly satisfactory outcome.

As a new member of Affinity Creative Group, it was rewarding to witness first hand the audience reaction to a standout example of one of our strategic/creative client programs. I’m excited to see how my ‘client-side’ wine industry knowledge will be leveraged to help Affinity’s clients, both existing and new, refresh and rebuild their brands as successfully as the agency did for Cline Family Cellars.

By Carolyn Schwartz

News Archive

Video Marketing Influences Consumers Purchasing Decisions
17 October, 2018

Grabbing someone’s attention gets harder every time a new wine comes out or another brand is launched. Reaching your consumer with plain text emails or mailers doesn’t drive the type of traffic that it used to. We understand this pain point that so many wineries face, and that’s one of the main reasons why our Video Marketing efforts have increased significantly over the past few years. Take Black Stallion Estate, for example. We captured the experience of visiting their winery in a promotional video that engages both consumers and trade. This type of experience would not be possible through a traditional medium, especially for those who are not familiar with Black Stallion.

See how we can help you drive traffic to your tasting room (and website) with video marketing.

(Marketing data source:

Package Redesign Flipped Double Digit Decline to Growth
05 September, 2018

By Barbara Barrielle

To say Cline Cellars Marketing Director Christine Lilienthal is thrilled about the new label design and packaging for the winery’s core Lodi Zinfandel would be an understatement. Her collaboration with Affinity Creative Group in repackaging this nationally distributed wine has meant a complete overhaul of the perception of this wine in the marketplace – and the sales numbers show it.

Keys to Successfully Refreshing Your Brand

Lilienthal was faced with declining Zinfandel numbers across the board but, in the Lodi Zinfandel case, the decline was in the double digits and the competition from newcomers like OZV and Carnivor was fierce. “Even though the Zinfandel category is declining at a rate of 3-4% and the variety makes up less than one percent of total table wines nationally, Cline’s Lodi Zin was experiencing a 14% decline and being delisted in many of our core retail stores.”

Christine Lilienthal

Christine Lilienthal

Having worked with Ed Rice and other creatives at Affinity Creative Group when she headed marketing at other wineries, it was a natural for Lilienthal to include the group in the bid process for the Lodi Zin redesign. The “Old Vines” Lodi Zin has an average 65-70,000 case production and falls in the $10.99 price category. Cline’s Ancient Vines Zinfandel, at about 80,000 cases, was also being challenged in the marketplace, but the immediate need was the starter Zinfandel category.

As head of strategy at Affinity Creative Group, Ed Rice immediately grasped the challenge Cline was facing when awarded the account in late 2016. The project was fast-tracked to make a spring 2017 bottling date. As Lilienthal points out, those 3-4 months were “absolute chaos, but Ed and his team were calm.” Affinity front-loaded the first round of design possibilities and came to Cline with sixteen options at the first pass. As Lilienthal points out, “these were not just variations on a concept, but sixteen very different options which we then narrowed to our ‘heroes.’ At the same time, we were working with winemaking on the Lodi Zin flavor profile to make sure that we were presenting the best wine possible in this category to the consumer.”

Ed Rice

Ed Rice

As Rice says, “Zinfandel is not a large category, but Cline Zin has a passionate customer. The current label was a bit dusty and looking long in the tooth, and the wine was being eclipsed by newer, hotter brands.” The need was urgent, and Rice worked closely with the Cline team in narrowing down the labeling options as well as addressing a new closure look and carton design. The loyal Cline wine club as well as employees became the marketing focus groups because, frankly, the winery didn’t have a focus group in the budget. The Affinity team closed in on a two-piece, die cut black label with an emphasis on the gnarly, head-pruned old vines that characterize the Zinfandel mystique as well as the family-owned and operated Cline operation.

For Lilienthal and her team at Cline, the opportunity to see a 3-D rendering of the new two-piece label design was invaluable. They understood the texture, weight and feel, and how the bottle would look on the shelf and feel to the consumer. A slightly broader shoulder gave the new packaging girth and a richer weight. The 3-D example was also a key guideline for the printer who understood the desired outcome and, as Lilienthal says, the whole print check took fifteen minutes.

The quick turnaround had the new packaging in the marketplace by summer 2017 and, although old designs may still be found in some markets, the new Cline Lodi Zinfandel has basically transformed how the brand is perceived by both consumers and retail outlets. The sales numbers are staggering to say the least.

“I have managed a lot of packaging changes in my career but have never seen anything like the change in our Lodi Zinfandel,” says Lilienthal. “In 52 weeks, July 2017-July 2018, the brand had gone from a decline of 14%to a growth of over 11%, meaning we have had an approximate 25% increase in sales in that period.” And she points out that the brand was growing with fewer points of distribution and without lowering the suggested retail price. Furthermore, Trader Joe’s, who had delisted the brand, has reintroduced it in the Northwest with much success and will now roll it out in other regions.

“Affinity worked with us and challenged us, but in a helpful way. In determining what direction we should go, Ed’s team explored everything we asked for, and then showed us something better.” Soon after the Lodi Zinfandel launch, Affinity was awarded a silver medal at the Wine & Vines Packaging Conference for the packaging redesign of Cline’s Old Vine Zinfandel.

Although Zinfandel is still a declining variety category (Californians make up the majority of Zin drinkers), Cline Cellars feels that they have busted the trends and the wines continue to make up a proud part of the winery’s almost 400,000 total case portfolio.

Both Lilienthal and Rice will be speaking at the North Coast Wine Industry Expo Conference in the Sales & Marketing Track session “Keys to Successfully Refreshing Your Brand” in Santa Rosa, December 6, 2018. Visit to learn more and register.

How Design Affects Your Daily Life
25 July, 2018

"Everything we experience is designed. When you experience well thought out, beautiful design, you gain perspective on what purposeful design is meant to evoke.” 

We sat down with one of our designers Santosh Chawla and asked him 'what facet of design means the most to you’? 

"In my experience, being surrounded by good design may not make you happier, but it can make things easier. Good design is not just beauty, but rather something that functions beautifully and adds purpose, which in turn seamlessly improves your life.”

How does design affect your life? Check out the full interview on our blog.

Don’t Be Distracted! How to Own Your ‘Creative Zone’
11 July, 2018

Whether it's social media, email notifications, or even blog posts, we all get distracted. Eliminating those distractions and getting back on track takes mindfulness and, most importantly, practice. Our Marketing Analyst, Nick Azevedo, shares his perspective on how to stay focused and increase productivity in and out of the office.


Video and Web – The Peanut Butter and Jelly of the Marketing World
12 June, 2018

Separately, they can produce great results. Together, they are a match made in marketing heaven. 

The content creation world has inundated consumers with so much information that the overall messaging tends to get lost, and even distorted, as the content flows down the proverbial pipeline. We see this “lost in translation” mentality on all of fronts in the content/creative world, and we rely on our clients to share this frustration and help us untangle the complexities of brand messaging.

On its own, video marketing as one of the most effective ways of reaching your target audience. Now pair the video with an accompanying digital experience (say, a website or an opt-in campaign landing page) and they become twice as likely to convert.

Click here to read the full article on our website.

GenXers Are the Biggest Spenders
30 May, 2018

While millennials are one of the largest consumers of wine in terms of volume, marketers should keep in mind that it’s the GenXers that will spend more on a bottle of wine.


We sat down with our GenX guru Christine Lynch to get her take on the lack of marketing efforts made towards GenXers. "I don’t have any problem dropping $50-70 on a premium bottle of wine, and possibly more for special occasions. I’m settled in to my life; I love to spend and have the funds to do so — and I love to spend it on wine.


Read the full article on our blog.

What Is a Website Worth?
15 May, 2018

Why spend tens or hundreds of thousands building a custom website? We sat down with our Digital Director Justin Witt to get his take on why brands are looking to agencies like Affinity Creative Group to create beautiful digital experiences.

"The most succinct answer I can give is: for the sake of excellence, the extra 10%, the above and beyond. The funny thing is that extra 10% turns out to be worth a whole lot more than that in ROI.”

We dive further into that ROI increase on our site, which can be viewed here.

Can Strategic Design Increase Sales?
30 April, 2018

“In order for companies to compete in today’s dynamic consumer landscape, good package design has become table stakes” - Laura Richardson, vice president of Design solutions at Nielsen.

When we announced our submission for this award earlier this year we hoped to prove that our mantra of creative certainty could be validated by something beyond our experience. Now, we are proud to announce that we have been selected as a winner of the 2018 Nielsen Design Impact Award for our redesign of the Robert Mondavi Private Selection line.

But what does this mean for our clients?

“In a growth challenged marketplace, it’s important for marketers to truly understand the value a successful package redesign can bring to a business’ bottom line”

At the intersection of design and data lies creative certainty, an ideology that has yet to be fully embraced by consumer facing products. Affinity understands the impact that creative strategy has on a company’s brand, and it is truly remarkable to see the partnership between Nielsen and The Dieline to bring this ideology to the general public through a data-driven design award.

We are only as strong as the people we work with, and we’re beyond thankful for this opportunity from Constellation Brands as well as Nielsen and The Dieline.

The full press release from Nielsen is available here. This includes more information on the Nielsen Design Impact Awards and the methodology used to assess each submission.

The 1000 Stories Brand Keeps Growing
18 April, 2018

The 1000 Stories brand continues to gain momentum and PR for our client Fetzer Vineyards, growing “from 5,000 cases in 2014 to 120,000 cases of annual sales in the past 12 months,” as mentioned in this article from the UK editorial The Drinks Business. This is a great example of how a great product with a great idea needs a unique creative solution to match.

To learn more about our creative solution for 1000 Stories, view the case study on our site.

What Does Brand Building, Design, and Yoga All Have in Common?
03 April, 2018

Great brands, like the practice of yoga, are based on timeless principles that are hard to ignore, wise to follow and will pay great dividends in the end. To read more, visit our blog at

Shaping a New, Authentic Brand Identity for Napa Cellars
06 March, 2018

New packaging for Napa Cellars’ latest Classic Collection release reveals a dramatic transformation from its previous use of whimsical imagery. The brand now projects a clean, fresh, yet classic, “Napa” sense of place. While this transformation makes perfect sense given the brand’s namesake location, established equities and 40-year heritage, the brand design overhaul required serious consideration.

To help this established brand craft a new image to improve sales performance in a competitive category and marketplace, Napa Cellars brand management engaged Affinity Creative Group. The highly regarded brand design, digital media, and retail activation agency with particular expertise in wine, spirits and other beverage categories, has influenced the look and feel of a wide range of brands, including other Trinchero Family Estates wines.

“While the old illustration was distinct and unique, few people understood just exactly what it was… That it was supposed to represent an artistic representation of a hand reaching for a glass of wine,” explains Ed RiceAffinity Creative Group’s Director of Brand Strategy. “Interestingly, even if the customer ‘got it’, the imagery did little, if anything, to reinforce the brand’s attributes and equities. During the Discovery Phase of our program, through conversations with tasting room staff, management interviews, and site visits, we realized that the real story of Napa Cellars was completely masked by the previous pen and ink drawing.”

“Thus, we collaborated with a professional illustrator to portray the brand’s namesake—a classic scene of vineyards, highway, and mountainside. What we endeavored to accomplish was an encapsulated story-on-a-label, communicating the name, the brand, and a real sense of place. The result is a much more rooted, authentic, and traditional look that adds credence to the Napa Cellars brand persona.”

“We also created new typography and supportive design elements, including a 5-sided monogram. This makes subtle reference to the 5 original acres along highway 29 as well as the geodesic structural configuration of the original winery, that now serves as the tasting room.”

In addition to developing the ideal artistic expression to represent the brand, Affinity Creative Group enhanced technical factors by specifying an upgrade to paper stock and leveraging the printing process to help convey subtle quality ques. Attention to production details include restrained use of gold foil, matte/gloss ink application and utilization of embossing and debossing techniques.

Dave Derby, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Trinchero Family Estates, expands on and explains the decisions and considerations Napa Cellars brand management went through in developing the new brand identity.

Q: What motivated you to create the new brand identity and packaging?

A: Over the past 15 years we made minor refinements to our Napa Cellars package, but it remained fairly consistent. Given increasing competition and the need to have your label effectively tell your story, we felt it was time to give Napa Cellars a new package that better embodied our history and our classic Napa Valley positioning. We are in an enviable position that our name actually has “Napa” in it. But, we felt the consumer also needed to be visually transported to Napa. Once we had a few final label designs, we conducted consumer research to confirm our new package met our objectives.

Q: How does the new packaging reflect Napa Cellars’ heritage?

A: We’ve been in the Napa Valley since 1976, and we felt our heritage needed to be better conveyed on the new package. A key element of the redesign is the integration of the pentagon symbol. The pentagon represents the Oakville tasting room’s unique five-sided geodesic dome commissioned by founder Charlie Woods. Dominating the rest of the label is an illustration, looking west from the winery, of the winery’s original five acres along historic Highway 29 in Oakville. From the classic font choice to the refined gold embossment, the new Napa Cellars package now embodies the sense of place for which the famed Napa Valley is known.

Q: How does the new brand identity express or relate to the wine profile?

A: When you taste our wines, our goal is for you to immediately recognize that they are sourced from Napa Valley. With roots and vineyards dating back 40 years, we have the ability to pick and choose great fruit from many of Napa’s most sought-after appellations. Each vintage builds and pays tribute to the original five acres on which the winery was founded. As marketers, our goal is to help ensure that what’s on the outside of the bottle mirrors the great quality inside.

Q: Will the new look of the Classic Collection be followed up with a new look for the V Collection and the Winemaker’s Series?

A: Yes, a package refresh for our direct-to-consumer series is next on the list. Also, we have some exciting plans to improve upon the customer experience at our tasting room too.

Q: When the consumer looks at these new bottles, what do you hope is their first impression?

A: Wine has the ability to transport tasters to a special place or memory. When consumers look at our new Napa Cellars package, we want them to be transported to Napa. Whether enjoyed on our picturesque Oakville patio or in a consumer’s living room, we want that Napa Cellars bottle to bring Napa to them.

By Kim Badenfort, first appeared in the Wine Industry Advisor 

Never Before Has a Wine Label Design Been SO Important
21 February, 2018

From what’s on the front to what’s inside, the younger generations are being more articulate (and opinionated) when it comes to their choice of vino. This ultimate choice on the consumer’s end stems from a wine brands perception online and instore that can make or break their path to purchase.

Since Generation Y (Millennials) are dominating the marketing spectrum due to their purchase power, the need of having a “more attractive” wine labels are even more evident. They make their purchase decisions depending on how their wine makes them feel and what message it sends to their peers, and the label takes an important role in this game.

The gold-standards throughout the years, however, have not changed much. Colorful, ornate, and eye-catching design will always draw the consumer in, and as younger generations start to adopt new palates and habits they will start to notice things about their drinks of choice that they may not have considered at an earlier point in life.

At Affinity, we believe in the power of design and how it can influence consumer’s perceptions both online and in-store. It takes years of experience, a deep understanding of the industry, an extensive knowledge of the printing process, the always-complicated tiering system, but most importantly, the demands of an ever-changing audience to design labels that can communicate unique experiences to their consumers through visual and textural queues.

Re-branding the traditional agency model
06 February, 2018

After some much-needed introspection, we re-evaluated our agency to better suit our client's needs. What did we discover? The need for an agency model that addresses the three main consumer touchpoints: brand and packaging, digital media, and retail experiences.

What does this all mean? A shiny new digital experience and an agency created just for you. Discover the new Affinity Creative Group

Affinity Nominated for Best Luxury Package at W&V Packaging Conference
09 August, 2017

Our design for the King Estate 25th Anniversary Pinot Noir has been nominated as a finalist in the Best Luxury Package category at this year's Wines & Vines Packaging Conference! Affinity will be at the conference to show our support for all the wonderful people in all facets of our industry that make it happen. Stop by our booth and say hello!

King Estate Winery - 25th Anniversary Package and Gift Box Designed by Affinity Creative Group
01 June, 2017

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King Estate, a leading pioneer in Oregon wine country, engaged Affinity Creative Group to help commemorate their 25th Anniversary of outstanding wine production in the Pacific Northwest. The client was determined to make a statement around this special occasion and challenged Affinity to develop distinctive branding and unique packaging to hold two bottles of their finest estate Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The wine branding, design and packaging specialist responded by creating a special 25th Anniversary metal label for the two bottles along with a distinctive “presentation case” that conveys luxury, exclusivity and craftsmanship.

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The labels are actually embossed pewter-metal that is hand applied to each bottle. The secondary package was created using powder coated MDF with an embossed foil logo that echoes the design of the label and underscores the high value of this limited edition release. The case opens with precision thanks to a perfectly placed piano hinge along the top edge of this one of a kind gift box.

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The project incorporates many principles of luxury branding and packaging, including use of layers, textures and subdued tones. Ed Rice, Director of Strategy, Affinity Creative Group, remarked, "This 25th Anniversary package for King Estate underscores the importance of design intent, material selection and product staging. There is no doubt that the recipient of this Special Edition will have an unforgettable experience, and feel quite special, indeed."

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Affinity Creative Group is a Brand Design, Digital Media and Retail Display agency that provides clients of all sizes with clever strategy, engaging creativity and efficient implementation services. You can learn more by visiting our website or calling, 707-558-0744.

Affinity at the YWCA's Women, Wine & Cheese Event
05 May, 2017

Great day at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa with Madeleine of the YWCA and Sumona of Fetzer Vineyards! Affinity Creative Group went out to show their support for the YWCA's efforts of spreading awareness and healing the effects of domestic violence.

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Strategic Design Invigorates Brand Health
22 August, 2016

“Clients call us when they need to revive a tired brand or bring a new brand to life, on the label and on the shelf,” says Ed Rice, Affinity Creative Group’s Director of Brand Strategy and Client Development.

1000 Stories 600

Affinity Creative Group is an innovative, brand development and design agency that’s gaining traction as the go-to firm for branding, design and print production services for wine, spirits and beer producers.

One of the company’s greatest attributes is its informed and intuitive grasp of current market trends.

“A smaller proprietor may need more direction, maybe even help establishing their tiering strategy, relative to where their wines might be arranged within a particular portfolio,” Rice explains. “To ensure we get it right, we begin our programs by working on a single, crucial varietal, (or SKU), usually from the client’s core line. Once we solve for that, we extend our design solution across other varietals and then ladder up as required, to differentiate other tiers and price points in the winery’s portfolio.”

Affinity Creative Group works upstream of the typical advertising agency, serving clientele that includes sophisticated industry giants ranking within the top ten of U.S. wine producers, as well as boutique beverage entrepreneurs who might be introducing a new product line for the first time.

“Regardless of size, when we collaborate with a client, we ultimately show them a generous range of a half dozen to a dozen, strategic brand design executions,” Rice continues. “Our clients get psyched. It’s so exciting to see it happen—to see people light up when they realize how their brand can evolve and project real impact and market power. Some of them say ‘holy s___! I never thought my brand could look this good!'”

A case in point is the well-established Ménage a Trois brand. Affinity Creative Group was tasked with finding a way to distinguish a new offering in a category that has become hugely popular, as well as stiffly competitive: Red Blends.

Menage a Trois Midnight

“To achieve brand prosperity, we began by playing with a richer, deeper dimension of taste communication… presenting our client with a range of design options that suggested the mystery, the magic and the darkness, of midnight,” Rice describes.

The end result is now seen at retail locations across the country: Ménage a Trois Midnight; a stunning canvas of deep black, with touches of rich reds and nuanced, silver images that consumers find irresistible.

The impressive team of ten professionals equates to roughly 20+ years of in-depth experience per person, when you do the math. The group has a nice mix of ages, styles, and disciplines that run the gamut from classic design treatments to edgy hipster vibes, giving Affinity Creative a high level of unequalled category expertise.

An example of the team’s ability to deliver a new-to-the-world brand design completely from scratch is Affinity’s work on Ste. Michelle Wine Estate’s recent initiative, Drumheller, a new wine from the Columbia Valley AVA.


Affinity Creative worked to generate a range of design solutions that would create an evocative sense of place while communicating the story, feeling and uniqueness of theDrumheller Channels.  The selected design solution accomplishes this, and more, by inviting further investigation, which drives consumer engagement.

Storytelling is often a crucial and valuable dimension to Affinity Group’s work. In their portrayal of the matriarch and inspiration for a legendary Napa Valley Family Estate, the Affinity team recast the previous brand mark and label with the creation of a new, compelling, iconic image of Flora on a crisp, clean, label, resulting in a powerful platform for the new icon and projection of an enhanced Flora Springs brand mark.

Flora Springs

Although in its relative infancy, three-year-old Affinity Creative Group has already amassed a remarkable portfolio of new client work now seen on shelves, in tasting rooms and across the country, shipped directly to consumers.

From its studios along historic Officers Row on Mare Island in the San Francisco Bay Area, this ensemble of multi-talented individuals helps clients reach new marketing heights through the development of stunning and effective brand design solutions.

“The essence of our business is to create, discover, or unlock the power of a client’s brand, so it will resonate with a key target audience,” Rice explains. “We do not design merely for the sake of designing. We do it in a way that makes smart business sense. The creative output must be strategic and contribute to the overall health of the brand.”

Start your brand health conversation with Affinity Creative designers at the Wines & Vines Packaging Conference in Yountville at the Lincoln Theater on August 17, or contact the team now for more information:


Speed Date with Affinity Creative Designers at V&W Pack
09 August, 2016

Affinity Creative Group is a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming Wines & Vines Packaging Conference in Napa. The brand strategy and label design specialist will also be hosting a “speed date” with designers. These brief sessions will enable wine producers and marketers an opportunity to obtain professional opinions and suggestions for improving brand identity and enhancing package design. Participants include:

Edith Lee, Design Director

With two decades experience in the wine, spirits, beer and other luxury categories, it’s no surprise that Edith understands down to the molecular level what it takes to create a package design that’s engaging, motivating and successful.  She is gifted with a soft-spoken style, a diligent work ethic and an unparalleled aesthetic.  Edie has the ability to add those nuanced and subtle touches that make a package design truly ‘sing.’ Affinity clients are always thrilled with her creations.

Santosh Chawla, Senior Designer

Santosh loves creating attractive, clean and inviting design solutions that motivate customers to take a closer look and make a purchase. His nickname is ‘Sunny’ because he radiates positive energy that lights up Affinity’s studios, inspires his work and delights our clients. He brings an international perspective as well, having worked previously at one of the leading marketing and advertising agencies in Mumbai. Clients particularly love how Sunny thrives under the tightest of deadlines.   

Other members of the Affinity team will be in attendance as well. Here are the details:

Date: Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Time: 8:30 - 4:30
Place: Lincoln Theater, Yountville, CA

Affinity Creative Group & Packagingarts “Sharpen the Saw”
15 July, 2015

PA and Affinity Have Dinner at City Winery

With America’s birthday already in the rear view mirror, we wanted to mark the mid-year point with a pause from the day-to-day and heed sage advice from a great leader:

 “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

The teams at Packagingarts and Affinity Creative Group capitalized on this idea by assembling for a one day workshop conducted by the energizing and inspiring coach and facilitator, Randy Roberts, known for her transformational work with high profile agencies including Apple, Genentech, Lucasfilm and NBC.

After a full day of insight and introspection we gathered together at City Winery in downtown Napa to enjoy some fantastic food, tasty libations and a continuation of our engaging discussion on how to be extraordinary—for our clients and ourselves.

It was a highly productive break and we all came away from the day recharged and re-energized. Now… back to work!

Special thanks to Packagingarts leadership, Randy Roberts and the staff at City Winery.

Remarkable success of Ménage à Trois franchise featured in Shanken News Daily
30 June, 2015

Affinity is proud to have contributed to the continued growth of this stellar brand, with branding and design expertise for the Midnight Dark Red Blend line extension.


Ménage à Trois Midnight Dark Red And Prosecco Enjoy Fast Start, Driving Continued Brand Growth


The Nation’s Hottest Red Blend

Affinity Attends Unique Industry Event Hosted By Saver Glass
16 June, 2015

Last week Affinity Creative attended an innovative and inspirational event at Dirty Habit, hosted by Saver Glass. We witnessed captivating art installation developed before our very eyes by DELA. ( We even had the pleasure of taking a piece of it home with us. Designers Santosh Chawla and Kristin Yeh attended along side Director of Strategy Ed Rice. A good time was had by all. Special thanks to Franck Collet and his sharp colleagues for a clever and memorable evening. It’s always nice to break up the daily grind with something a little different, if you were lucky enough to be at the event as well we’d love to hear from you and get your take on the night. 

Affinity Creative Helps Flora Springs Unveil New Brand Identity and Packaging
20 May, 2015

Mare Island, California—With the help of Affinity Creative Group, Flora Springs Winery & Vineyard, one of Napa Valley’s premier family-owned estate wineries for over 35 years, has unveiled a new logo, labels and packaging designed to reflect a stronger brand identity and more clearly convey key messages about the Napa Valley estate’s core values. The new identity system is being introduced with the winery’s 2014 vintage white wines and 2013 vintage red wines as they are released throughout 2015.

“While critical elements of the original design have been retained, the new package tells the Flora Springs story in a clearer, more compelling way,” says Nat Komes, General Manager of Flora Springs.   “Through imagery and words we’re communicating what makes Flora Springs stand out among our Napa Valley peers -- the core values that have been important to our family since we established our winery estate in 1978.”

“Our packaging is a key vehicle for communicating with our customers, particularly outside of the winery,” commented Komes. “We know our labels need to work hard for us, and as innovators and brand builders we felt this was an ideal time to freshen them up.”

Ed Rice, Affinity’s Director of Brand Strategy and Client Development commented, “It was an honor to help evolve and enhance such a storied Napa Valley brand, backed by three generations of family commitment. This was one of our most delicate creative balancing acts to date—arriving at the perfect point of equity retention and brand renewal.” 

About Affinity Creative Group

Affinity Creative Group, with studios on Mare Island, California is a new name in the brand strategy and package design space.  Named for the agency’s mission—to achieve close rapport and emotional connection between clients’ customers and their brands—the group has already established themselves as the go-to agency in the wine, spirits and luxury goods categories.   Often described as the most savvy and seasoned “start up” in the business, Affinity is staffed with a tight knit team of knowledgeable pros who have worked together for over a decade and have created, grown and revitalized over 175 brands in the course of their careers.  For more information:

Affinity Creative Group is a Proud Sponsor and Participant in the inagural Women of the Vine Global Symposium
09 March, 2015

The inaugural Women of the Vine Global Symposium is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 13th and 14th, at the Meritage Resort, in Napa California.

To learn more and review the agenda focused on advancing women in the world of wine, follow this link: 


Creating 1000 Stories. Giving bourbon drinkers a good reason to drink wine.
02 February, 2015

The Assignment 

Create a wine brand specifically targeted to men:

       Opportunity – a male targeted wine brand; primarily millennials

       Tactic – Borrow cues and vocabulary from the bourbon category

       Objective – Create a clearly defined, designed and marketable brand

Project Scope:

       Positioning development

       Brand story


       Brand identity

       Primary and secondary packaging

       Brand expression system


Affinity Creative Group developed a unique brand name, story and design centered on a symbol of American roots and heritage. Our icon was inspired by an article in the Smithsonian, which featured the American buffalo as one of the “101 Objects that Made America”. The name, 1000 Stories, hints at the tapestry of heritage, traditions and pioneering spirit that lives on today in all of us and continues to be at the essence of America’s character.

The brand’s look and feel projects a premium, sophisticated and traditional image while remaining approachable, credible and comfortable for the targeted male consumer.  The brand logotype, embellished with inline and drop shadow detail, seems to jump off the dramatic “stage” created by the rich, matte black background.  An engraved American buffalo drawn in profile attracts the eye, so that the key feature-benefit of “Bourbon Barrel Aged” is immediately taken in.  Other design details include a unique border treatment and subtle buffalo silhouettes added to the capsule.   


The project outcome is a concise yet richly woven presentation and articulation of the 1000 Stories brand that underscores and communicates the brand story. Since November 2014 the brand owner has been gradually conducting launch activities in the bourbon-culture states of Kentucky, Texas and beyond, targeting independent shops and chains to establish authentic buzz and grass-roots interest.  The brand, design and sell-in process is already beginning to pay off.  Our client has garnered interest from one of the largest grocery chains in the country, which has made a significant commitment to include the brand in the important new-item reset season, spring 2015.  

Sweet words for Ménage à Trois ‘Midnight’ under the lamp-post
25 November, 2014

Affiliated brand design and display firms, Affinity Creative Group and PackagingArts, both based on Mare Island, received this nice compliment:

"It’s not often that I can give both package design and point of sale credit to the same firm. Our thanks goes to the creative teams at Affinity and PackagingArts—a job well done."

--Andrew Rice, Trinchero Family Estates, Creative Director  

50 case Ménage à Trois ‘Midnight’ store display showing unique lamp-post fixture produced by PackagingArts and bottles/shippers created by Affinity Creative Group, both of Mare Island, CA.

Mare Island Businesses Open in Record Time Post Quake Thanks to City of Vallejo and Lennar Responsiveness and Partnership
16 September, 2014

Mare Island, CA, September 5, 2014—Long time Mare Island based businesses, PackagingArts and their newest venture, the one year old Affinity Creative Group and PackagingArts, have been singing praises for the City of Vallejo Department of Building Inspections and Lennar Mare Island ever since a 6.0 earthquake rocked all of our worlds on Sunday morning, August 26th

Remarkably, the wine packaging, display and brand design companies were back up, operating and open for business in record time.  In this case, the very next day. 

Although PackagingArts lost three chimneys and both buildings endured significant loss of plaster, many large plaster cracks, in every room and on every wall of the 8500 sq. ft. mansion along with some broken glass, neither business suffered a prolonged shut-down thanks to the rapid response of Abel Bustamonte, the tireless deputy building inspector who was actually on-site on Mare Island early Sunday morning.  He was diligently reviewing degrees of damage done to the historical buildings on Walnut Avenue, also known as Officer’s Row.  Once occupied by the Base Commander, who was in charge of the now decommissioned naval shipyard, the stately mansions now house a range of businesses and offices, owned and operated by Lennar Mare Island. 

Working in close partnership with Lennar Mare Island, Mr. Bustamonte was on the case early, as he knew the fate of some of the most crucial and thriving businesses hung in the balance. 

Dave Miller, Principal at PackagingArts and Affinity Creative and PackagingArts, remarked, “On Sunday morning I drove over to the Island to inspect the damage at both of our buildings on Walnut Avenue. I was originally informed that all the mansions are to be red tagged.  Imagine my surprise when I met Mr. Bustamonte already there looking over the properties.  He was very reasonable, realistic and practical.  After inspecting each of our buildings he indicated that the damage incurred did not appear to be structural, except for the chimneys, which did not affect the integrity of the roof, and that following a structural engineers’ inspection, we might be able to occupy the properties as early as Monday morning. He told me our two buildings would not be red tagged.  One would receive a yellow tag, the other a green tag.  You can imagine my relief, knowing that, subject to a few access restrictions due to concerns related to the plaster walls and ceilings, we would be able to carry on with business as usual with PackagingArts and Affinity Creative Affinity Creative and PackagingArts back up and running the day after quake for our wine clients, many who were more severely impacted.”

That said, there were still many repairs to be made. Brenda Sanders, Property Manager and Brian McDonough, Construction Manager at Lennar Mare Island went into action to ensure that repairs began as early as Tuesday morning, after damage assessments were made on Monday. By mid-week, the remaining damaged plaster was being removed and in some spots, new finishes were already being installed.  Employees at PackagingArts and Affinity Creative were stunned by the rapid response of the Lennar Mare Island work crews.  Chris Lynch, office manager at Affinity Creative remarked, “The work team under Lennar’s direction is amazing—polite, expert and efficient.  Most of our damaged plaster is  being repaired in record time.  A remarkable effort.”

John Swain, President of PackagingArts and a Principal at Affinity Creative, who was traveling during the big shaker, commented upon his return to the area,  “Both PackagingArts and Affinity Creative are grateful in that our clients survived the quake and have been able to bounce back quickly.  And we are indeed fortunate that the damage incurred by our firms was quickly addressed by the City of Vallejo and has undergone immediate repairs by the professional contracting team assembled by Lennar Mare Island. We are very grateful and most appreciative of the stellar response by both parties.”   

Creativity is Not Enough… Collaboration is a Must in Successful Wine Label Design
23 July, 2014

In the following article from the July 2014 issue of Labels and Labeling magazine, Ed Rice, Director of Strategy at Affinity Creative, explains the importance of collaboration between clients, creative groups and production teams. Awareness of production requirements can actually enhance the design process.  And matching the right printer to the right job will ensure that the redesigned label lands on the shelf with the right look, as it was envisioned from the outset.

"Effective Wine Brand Delivery" by Labels & Labeling



Affinity Creates Magic With Midnight
25 June, 2014

Affinity Creative Group was engaged by Trinchero Family Estates to create branding and packaging design for Ménage à Trois Midnight. This is a new product tier for the popular line of wines.  Affinity was tasked with the following program goals:

Capture the "Dark Blends" Customer

Increase shelf space and shelf presence

Gain incremental sales for the Ménage à Trois brand

Based on initial trade and customer reaction, Midnight is achieving all objectives, and more.

For additional information, please contact Ed Rice, Director of Strategy, Affinity Creative Group, 707-558-0744 or email him:

Visit Affinity Creative Group at the WSWA
01 April, 2014

Affinity Creative Group will be in attendance at the WSWA Annual Exposition and Convention in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, April 8th to 10th. We’ll be In booth #330, joining our sister company, packagingarts. They will be highlighting their capabilities in the following disciplines: Development of Iconic Promotions & Retail Strategies, Production of Value-added Packaging and Execution of Branded Retail Displays.

Packagingarts principal, Dave Miller will be there, along with Creative Director Mark Ray. Joining them from Affinity Creative Group will be Ed Rice, Director of Strategy. Affinity specializes in Brand Development, Naming, Brand Identity Systems and Creation of Packaging Design for wine, spirits, other beverages and luxury categories.

For more information:, and

Affinity Creative Group Hires Brand Strategy Sage
18 March, 2014

Affinity Creative Group, a new yet highly experienced firm providing branding and design services for packaging in the wine, spirits, beer and luxury categories has announced the appointment of Ed Rice as Director of Strategy.

Ed brings two decades of experience in brand strategy, consumer insights and client development, with particular focus on adult beverages and luxury goods.  He began his career at Landor Associates, the international brand consultancy, where he built their consumer beverage practice.  He also understands what it’s like to be on the client side of the desk, having served as Global Brand & Marketing Director at THX Ltd., the entertainment technology company founded by George Lucas. 

Prior to joining Affinity, Ed immersed himself back into the agency world at Trinity Brand Group where he successfully led client development activities, adoption of new strategies and increased the firm’s public profile.

Ed remarks, “I am thrilled to join the experienced, knowledgeable and incredibly talented team at Affinity. I am in awe of their attention to detail, clever designs and execution of compelling creative solutions for niche and mainstream brands. It’s a treat and an honor to become part of the tight-knit family known as Affinity Creative Group.”

Ed will be based at the firm’s Mare Island, California studio, conveniently located for access to the Northern California wine country, the greater bay area and beyond.

About Affinity Creative Group

Affinity Creative Group is the new brand strategy and package design agency comprised entirely of industry professionals who have worked together for more than a decade.  The group has over 80 years of combined category experience in wine, spirits, other beverages and luxury goods.

The team is known for smart brand strategy and well-crafted design that helps clients build successful brands that have impact on the shelf, in the hand or on the table.

Affinity was founded with the intent of building trusted, long-term partnerships through close collaboration and open communications to help clients achieve their business goals.  The result is a dynamic, responsive and committed creative resource poised to fulfill both current needs and emerging trends in the competitive beverage alcohol industry.

For more information, please visit: or call 707.558.0744.

Title Name Email Phone
New Business Inquiries Ed Rice (707) 558 0744
General Inquiries Christine Lynch (707) 558 0744