With its hand-hewn feel, our iconic logo has a timeless Craftsman style with a quirky twist of M.C. Escher and gothic elegance – perfectly in keeping with Ravenswood’s obsession with nuance and hands-on approach to the craft of winemaking.
The trio of ravens, talons interlocked in a secret handshake, was designed by David Lance Goines, the California artist who also created distinctive posters for Chez Panisse. Joel Peterson hung out at Alice Waters’ now-famous restaurant in its early years, and he admired Goines’ aesthetic of rustic classicism.
From whence came our name and trickster totem? As the story goes…
On a dark and gloomy fall afternoon, Joel drove out to Dry Creek to collect grapes. Destined for one of his debut-vintage Zins, the crop had been picked. But to his dismay, 50-lb wooden bins brimming with fruit were scattered all over the vineyard.
Under a threatening sky with lightning glinting in the surrounding hills, Joel worked alone, lugging crate after crate to his truck. As he toiled in a lowering mood of doom and gloom, two ravens harassed him, cackling and cawing from trees bordering the vineyard. “At first, all I could hear was Poe’s raven, croaking ‘Nevermore,’” he remembers.
A light drizzle had begun, but magically fell everywhere but where Joel worked. As the sun set, a double rainbow arced through the sky, and he recalled a Native American legend about a wise and wily raven who tutored early man in the art of survival. “I decided that instead of being harbingers of doom, those ravens were protecting me and cheering me on.” By the time he loaded the last crate into his truck well after dark, Joel had taken the sleek black bird as his totem.
The winery’s name was conceived a year later when Joel went to a performance of Lucia de Lammermoor. In the tragic opera, Lord Ravenswood has lost his ancestral castle, soon loses his lady love and finally sinks into an abyss of insanity and death. With his debut wines still in-barrel, Joel was struggling and nearly broke, sleep deprived from a full-time job and a part-time dream of winemaking. “I felt a kinship with Ravenswood,” he laughs. “All that passionate beauty and madness captured perfectly how I felt about my crazy hopes for a winery.”
The three ravens have watched over Ravenswood’s saga of divine madness ever since.