MEA CULPA

When renegade Yarra Valley winemakers—Innocent Bystander—created the first release Mea Culpa Syrah, they realised they had a special wine on their hands. But for a brand and business famous for their ‘great wine without the bullsh*t’ philosophy, Mea Culpa presented an exciting challenge. We needed to reconcile two seemingly incompatible brand philosophies to create one distinctive solution that both incorporates the hero icon of the Innocent Bystander brand while positioning this wine as a premium SKU within the brand’s stable.

If Innocent Bystander stands for ‘life with wine on the side’, Mea Culpa is what happens when wine (briefly) takes centre-stage. We represented this dual personality through an evolution of the brand’s now iconic ‘Bystander’ figure. The Mea Culpa figure is presented as remaining both steadfast in his convictions, while also reveling in his greatest weakness—the wine. This internal conflict is represented in a Saul Bass illustrative style reminiscent of the 50’s ‘whodunnit’ films. And of course, at the centre of this duality is the wine— represented by red foil detailing—the telltale heart giving away our Bystander’s guilt.