It is my absolute pleasure to formally introduce to you Carhartt Family Wines. This is a project my family and I have been working on for three years now. I cannot begin to describe how amazing it is to finally share this work with you. Here’s what all of this means, and more importantly, why we chose to make this change now.
My parents planted Carhartt Vineyard 25 years ago with nothing more than a dream. Their dream was to grow the best grapes and sell them to their established winemaking friends. Of course, being the smart, driven, and capable couple that they are, my parents produced one barrel each of Merlot and Syrah in 1998. From there, they doubled and tripled production each year. By 2006, they had four different label designs. They finally settled on branding that carried us from 2007 until 2021. At the time, it was well thought out and well-executed.
Over the last fourteen years, we’ve changed quite a bit. We’ve moved from producing a handful of wines to as many as 30 in a single harvest. We may have slightly grown in size, but we remain a small, family-run operation. We’ve taken the time to seek out exactly who we are as a brand, where we’ve come from, and most importantly where we are going. The following elements are rooted at the heart of our new look.
Carhartt Family Wines is an umbrella that now encompasses a multi-vineyard farming operation that also produces a wide variety of wines, while still remaining intimate and direct-to-consumer. It is truly family-operated, and we invest in and support the family identity in every aspect of our business.
Rancho Santa Ynez™ is a focal point of our new label. It is so much more than our family home where we host a handful of parties each year. It is an original ranch in Santa Ynez, CA. My grandfather brought my dad to this ranch in the ’50s. It is where my dad was raised, cowboying and farming, and it’s where I was raised, too. We grow our Estate fruit here. The redwood barns on the property are where we produce, bottle, and store all of our wines. Everything we package, ship, or bring to the tasting room comes from Rancho Santa Ynez™. It is the home to our fruit trees and animals that we raise to feed our friends and family. Essentially, Rancho Santa Ynez™ was and still is a working ranch.
The Carhartt Cattle Brand is another very important element of our new look. My grandfather registered that brand in 1969, and my father re-registered it into his name in the late ’90s. Rancho Santa Ynez™ was originally a dairy and swine cooperation. Although we now dedicate most of our time to grape-growing and winemaking, we still use the cattle brand on the ranch. On every new slab of concrete, every picking and fermenting bin, even as decoration at the top of our communal wood-fired bbq, the brand thrives. It serves as a reminder of where we’ve come from, and how we will carry ourselves moving forward: work with intention and craft with heart.
The Weathervanes have and will continue to play an important role on our labels and in our company. At the inception of Rancho Santa Ynez™ around the turn of the 20th century, decorative weathervanes were placed at the top of every building on the property, and they remain there to this day. The animals on our labels take inspiration from those weathervanes. They are an integral part of who we are and where we come from.
We are a Product of California, U.S.A. I am the fourth generation in my family to reside in California and a fifth-generation North American. My family and I have been fortunate to have traveled to and tasted wines from all over the world. Although we may take inspiration from other places, the fact remains that we have deep roots on the central west coast of California. We find it imperative to “lean into” our sense of place, discovering and identifying exactly what makes our business and our wines distinctly American, Californian, Central Coast, and from the Carhartt Family.
Moreover, I believe it is our duty as a family brand to avoid the “status quo” or the connotations for California wine that have come before us, whether on a local or global level. We are lucky to have the opportunity to explore in this way, and proud to be exactly who we want to be.
Color played a huge role in the traditional branding of our labels. With each new wine and weathervane, a unique color followed. In regards to Carhartt Family Wines, we decided to hone in on those colorways and make selections that represent our valley and our wines. The blue hues of Lake Cachuma and seasonal streams, the green tones of the valley oak and live oak trees, and the varying shades of gold on the grassy hillsides that undulate through the Santa Ynez Valley are just a few that come to mind. A beautiful pink sunset, falling over the rich red of the Carhartt Cabin rooftop are a few other colors that we find near and dear to our hearts.
And so, “grassy gold” covers our Sauvignon Blanc label, while “sunset pink” splashes across our Rosé labels. “Oakleaf green” will now serve as the color of our lighter-bodied wines, while “cabin roof red” will be associated with our medium-bodied wines. Finally, “freshwater blue” will represent our heavier-bodied wines. These colors give place to our home here on the central coast, and now help define our lineup of wines.
Three years ago, I never could have predicted how many big changes this project would bring. We went from solely working on a rebrand, to introducing a new POS system and launching a brand new website, all in one fell swoop. In the end, we made these changes intentionally, and the timing is perfect. It turns out that Spring 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the Carhartt wine brand. 25 Years in, we make decisions that better reflect who we are and allow us to better serve our members and patrons.
We put an immense amount of time and energy into our tasting room and events. Now, we can confidently say our online experience upholds those same qualities. Our new POS system and website utilize forward-thinking technologies to provide a better overall digital experience our customers deserve. While it will forever be a work in progress, putting our patrons first will always be a top priority for us.
My family and our company sincerely hope that you enjoy our new branding and digital space. It goes without saying that if you ever need anything or have questions, we are here. From the bottom of all our hearts, thank you so much for your continued support over the years. It means the world to us. Thus, we will continue to be the best we can be for our loyal following!