Your Customers Want Sustainable Wine Packaging

Your Customers Want Sustainable Wine Packaging

"The customer experience begins well before we realize it--and this is especially true in luxury markets. Imagine your customer receiving their long-awaited wine shipment, opening up the box, and seeing what's inside. This moment is an opportunity for you to give them a great brand experience-- just like the moment when they have to deal with the leftover packaging and throw it out. Choosing sustainable packaging materials shows customers that you care about the environment, and also that you align with their values and needs."

Lifestyle & Portrait Photography for Fetzer Winemaker.

This year’s push to help create unique and beautiful content beyond the bottle shot is off to a great start with some recent work for Fetzer Winery.  They have their 50th anniversary this year and wanted to feature their winemaker John Kane as a central piece of their story.

In shooting this job we needed to create a set of portraits and a small library of lifestyle images that could help tell the story through the various outlets the company is using to advertise.  I couldn’t have been happier with the brief and set to work creating an aesthetic that would hold up in any arena.

It seemed necessary to create a much more contemporary feel to things - after all, Fetzer is a progressive winery with a strong forward leaning ethic in sustainability.  It’s so easy for wine to be predictable and stuffy - a more modern look makes this story more accessible to a broader audience.  The last thing I wanted was pretentious, stiff portrait of a man holding a glass of red wine in a vineyard.  That’s so done and does nothing, in my mind, to tell a story about a brand or the people that inhabit it.  Wine marketing is evolving, and it’s visuals are evolving with it.

I knew from previous work up at the facility in Hopland that we’d be shooting in the barrel rooms - a dark and foreboding place for photography that needs to capture movement and life for a “lifestyle” shoot - so I drafted up some ideas of lighting scenarios that I could create with a minimal footprint.  Normally for a lifestyle look, keeping the light super soft is key, but in this scenario I wanted to bring the textures of the space alive and opted for more direct, bare light, softened and mixed only when it interacted with the subject.  It was a tricky mix, but I’m very pleased with the result (and with the energetic hustle of my assistant, Tim, who helped keep everything moving and firing in this dynamic shoot).

Keep an eye out for this work as the conversation around this anniversary evolves this year :)

New Years Resolutions

Sonoma Bottle launched in 2017 with the goal of providing the highest quality bottle shot photography for the lowest price.  Our reflection on the previous year: Mission accomplished.

In 2018 Sonoma Bottle is adding a suite of services to our regular offerings.

The creative minds behind Sonoma Bottle have a deep history in visual content creation for clients throughout the world; servicing full production video needs, as well as lifestyle, portraiture, landscape, and event photography.  Our goal of simplifying the process of meeting your content needs continues in 2018 with a full suite of services, including social media photography and video packages to meet the booming need of engaging clients through platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Take a look at our additional services page at to learn more.  Consultations are free and we can scale our services to meet the simplest or most complex needs.

Looking forward to working with you all in 2018!


Introducing JEWEL - a new lighting style

When we started Sonoma Bottle we tried to think of every eventuality to make the process of ordering bottleshot photography as simple and affordable as possible.  One feature that our clients always love is the "Lighting Style" section which helps guide the conversation around how to photograph the product.  We originally started with 5 examples (though we're more than happy to match any other lighting style or create an entirely new one for no additional cost) but have since found that a 6th option was needed.  So here we are, happy to introduce to the homepage our latest style "Jewel".

Jewel uses a softer highlight on both sides of the bottle and is most similar to our existing style "Mature".  Jewel works great on all bottles and is often a preferred style for bubblies.

As with all our lighting styles, this is purely an aesthetic choice and has no impact on the readability of label artwork.  Our workflow is always to photograph the glass and label with two distinct lighting setups so as to ensure readability of the label.  Your wine, beer or spirit bottles will always be beautiful, enticing, and legible.


A Little Behind the Scenes

We just enthusiastically posted this image from our shoot with Mountain Head Winery on the Sonoma Bottle instagram feed earlier today and immediately after realized that it would be prudent to share a little behind the scenes of how these styled group bottle shots come together.  There's definitely a plan in the works to share a full behind the scenes video on the studio setup and the process behind bottle photography.  In the meantime though, here's a quick screen video of the photoshop layering and retouching process for an image of this...magnitude.


A view of the five images in CaptureOne required to composite together the final shot.  Note the different lighting scenarios, the "guest bottle" providing edge reflected highlights and the cute corkscrew I found in Graton the other day :)

A view of the five images in CaptureOne required to composite together the final shot.  Note the different lighting scenarios, the "guest bottle" providing edge reflected highlights and the cute corkscrew I found in Graton the other day :)

Quality Time

Sonoma Bottle had the opportunity to photograph Carlisle Winery's Zinfandel catalog a little while back.  We know that it means a lot to a brand to maintain consistency with their photography and seeing all these images together inspired this little detour through photoshop to produce a mandala of Zinfandel.  It's all about quality control over the life of a brand.  Quality / Time.

Unwrapped - Wrap Around Label Bottle Shot Photography

We recently had a really great bottle through the studio that presented a tricky conundrum: the label artwork wrapped all the way around the wine bottle, making it impossible to capture the complete packaging in one photograph.

I tried photographing different angles of the bottle, hoping to find a single bottle shot that balanced of the copy, branding and artwork in a single frame.  There was an angle that mostly worked but I wasn't satisfied with leaving all that label unseen.  Then my lovely, intelligent, and beautiful wife had a wonderful idea - photoshop the label as though it's being unwrapped from the bottle!

Genius, babe.  Genius.

So here it is, a simple, cost-effective solution that captures the whole wrap-around label in a single bottle shot:


Fetzer's Hero & Villain

Fetzer Wines recently released a new custom label called Hero & Villain, which we were very flattered to have been asked to photograph for their marketing and for entry to a design contest for the label art.  The folks in the marketing department do some beautiful work and were an absolute pleasure to work with.

Sonoma Bottle shot their classic bottle shots for our classic rate of just $60/bottle, as well as put together a custom photography package for the group shot pictured below.  We also hand built the custom wood surfaces to create the environment for this shot.

Kind Words

We just had another round of wine bottles from Elizabeth Spencer Winery come through the studio for photography here in Santa Rosa, CA.  One of the things that we love about working in this industry is the wonderful people we get to interact with every day.  Graham, from Elizabeth Spencer, was kind enough to leave us a customer review and we couldn't be more proud of what he had to say about Sonoma Bottle and our bottle shot photography services:


I couldn’t be happier with Sonoma Bottle. Not only is their work outstanding, they make the whole process so easy and efficient. From now on, all of our bottles will go straight from the bottling line to Sonoma Bottle!
— Graham / Elizabeth Spencer Winery.

Our Charity Partner

Our wine bottle shot photography business has had wonderful reception with the wine makers of Sonoma (and soon, Napa).  We're exceptionally proud of the strong start we've had with the studio - but none of it would be possible without the partnerships and community that helped get it off the ground. 

One of the most important parts of my community (as the owner of Sonoma Bottle) is the outdoor adventure network of Sonoma County.  It's why we've partnered with a non-profit organization at the core of this group, the B-Rad foundation.  When you arrange an order for wine bottle photography with Sonoma Bottle, you have the option to donate some (or all) of your wine to the foundation for a tax-deduction.  It saves you on shipping and handling (or on a round trip to pick your bottles up from the studio), does good for the youth of Sonoma County, and saves you at tax time.


Bottle Shot Photography Service in Sonoma County, Sonoma Bottle - partners with the B-Rad foundation

Elizabeth Spencer Wines Flowing Through the Studio

We were very honored to have the lineup of wines from Elizabeth Spencer Winery come flowing through the studio for classic bottle shots last week.  The winery reached out to us looking for a reliable and affordable solution to photographing their catalog of wines and we were more than happy to provide.  As is always the case with Sonoma Bottle, we managed a quick turn around on their bottle shots, knockout (clipping path / transparent background) and basic retouching included for just $60/bottle.

Sonoma Bottle is Live!

Bottle Shot Photography Studio Now Open

Sonoma Bottle is excited to announce that we are here, live, and serving the wine bottle photography needs of the Sonoma and Napa regions (as well as anyone else who has wine to sell and access to UPS/FedEx/USPS/GSO).

Over the past few months we've been meeting with wine industry marketing experts to refine our business model, price point, and studio workflow to best serve our winery customers bottle shot needs.  We're very proud of what we've built and the affordable $60 per bottle price tag that we've been able to lock down.

Collaborating with a network of the finest photographers and retouchers in the greater Bay area we're also happy to be able to offer scaleable creative services for any still or video need that your winery business dreams of.

Need a classic bottleshot? We've got you covered; fast, affordable, beautiful.

Just want to swap vintages on existing photography? No problem, happy to help!

Need a complete advertising campaign shoot? We're a direct line to the best talent in the area (in fact, we are that talent).

Video? Of course!

Keep any eye out for the work we'll be sharing here on the blog and on our social media feeds (we're kind of partial to instagram @sonomabottle).

Sonoma Bottle - Bottle Shot Photography for the Wine Industry.  Serving Napa and Sonoma wineries with beautiful photography for an amazing price.