After 10 years owning and working the vineyards of Limerick Lane Cellars, Jake Bilbro decided it was time to recast the winery’s brand to be more reflective of the estate’s unique 110-year history. He wanted to convey the rich story of the land and the people who worked it. But how to weave a visual and verbal narrative that succinctly speaks of the land’s magic and the world-class wines it produces? Bilbro pondered these questions for weeks, until one day he found his inspiration.
“Often, I find the answers to many questions associated with Limerick Lane in the property itself: the hills, the vines, the rocks, the trees, and of course, my family. This would be no different,” Bilbro says. “At home, where my family sleeps, and the original founders of the vineyard slept, covered with grass and flowers at the end of our driveway lies a section of a tree stump. I have passed by the stump hundreds of times and have never noticed what it was trying to tell me. When I looked closer, I saw the beautiful rings on the stump, and I suddenly understood our brand at a much deeper level.”
The concentric circles of the old, weathered stump signified centuries in time, a perfect representation of everything Limerick Lane embodies. “This evocative image became the foundation for our new brand story,” says Limerick Lane Cellars’ Director of Marketing, Gina Lathrum. “It was the springboard for all packaging decisions going forward.”
According to Bilbro, the goal was to create something “thoughtful and magical but grounded and humble, much like our wines.”
Bilbro is a fourth-generation Sonoma County winemaker and grape grower who grew up around the vineyards of Dry Creek and Alexander valleys, where his dad owned Marietta Cellars. When he and his wife, Alexis, bought the 30-acre Limerick Lane estate in 2010, he immediately began to reinvigorate the vineyard, focusing efforts along the way toward more sustainable, organic processes. Then in 2018 he brought on Chris Pittenger as winemaker.
Pittenger’s passion for winemaking began during college at Cal Poly. Over the years he studied viticulture and worked in the industry in many capacities, including 11 years as winemaker at Rhone-focused Skinner Vineyards in El Dorado. When he began work at Limerick Lane, he says he felt an immediate connection to the historic vineyard, wanting to express and showcase its beauty, grace, structure, and precision through its wines.
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“The provenance and quality of our wine is deeply embedded in our brand story,” emphasizes Lathrum, “so our new packaging had to reflect that as well.”
Conceiving his new packaging, Bilbro wanted to go back to the vineyard’s beginning when Italian immigrants were brought in to plant vines and make wine. So, working with Erica Harrop, founder and CEO of Global Package, LLC, they designed a custom bottle that would stand on its own with the historical symbolism yet modern cues by adding the specialized Sommelier ring top, and with an L cartouche signifying strength and dedication to Limerick Lane’s vines.
Harrop was intimately involved in every step of the process, from custom mold design and creation to glass production and delivery.
Taking her cue from the tree-stump rings was Barbara Lietzow, who spent over a year creating the label by hand, with each line and color thoughtfully considered. Lietzow is an Independent Design Professional & Artist who had created Limerick Lane’s first labels, featuring a stylized corkscrew image; she remains a close artistic advisor to the winery.
“There are now 110 rings in sequential order on our label, each representing a year of life at Limerick Lane,” says Bilbro. “If you look closely at the label, you will notice points distinguished on the rings. These subtle points represent key moments in the Limerick Lane story over the last 110 years.”
According to Lathrum, the bottle was the essential component, providing the platform, or stage, onto which the narrative is told and in which their world-class wines are protected. “Erica and the Global Package team were critical to making it all come together,” she says. “On such a small space, we needed to convey our rich history, the quality of our wines, the terroir and stewardship of the land, and our winemaking expertise. Global Package helped make all of that happen. Even when were up against time deadlines, they made it work.”
Limerick Lane celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a new brand that tells its unique story. Says Bilbro, “Every wine that we release is designated by a combination of the block it came from, the year the source vines were planted, and the season during which it was grown. We feel the age and the sites where the grapes are grown are far more influential to the flavor and aroma of the wine than the varietal. These limited productions are unique. There is something special about wine from a site that has sat largely unchanged for 110 years. So few things in life have that much history to them. Our story began in 1910 and as the world progressed and evolved around this little plot of land, the vines remained the same.”
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Global Package is proud to have contributed to this new chapter in Limerick Lane’s history. “It was such a pleasure working with the Limerick Lane folks,” says Harrop. “It’s always a joy when a client is clear about its winery’s vision and decisive about what it wants to achieve. We are certain that the minute a customer picks up their new bottle, they’ll feel the heft, honesty, and history of this extraordinary wine brand.”