The 500 Year Old Inspiration Behind the Painted Rock Estate Winery Brand

Branding Vancouver looks at some of the more interesting logos and icons that appear in Vancouver’s food and beverage scene. Some of the explanations will be long and others short, but the goal of deeper understanding will be constant. If you want the backstory of a particularly compelling local brand revealed, let us know via @scoutmagazine and we’ll try to figure it out.

The Brand: This time around we’re heading to Penticton’s Painted Rock Estate Winery to learn about the ancient inspiration behind their modern aesthetic and brand ethos. While the winery’s sleekly gorgeous and bright 1,600 sqft tasting room facility (designed by Dominic Unsworth) was only completed in 2013, the logo/labels were created back in 2007 – three years after the Skinner family purchased the 60-acre property – by California design firm CF Napa.


Here’s the story according to Director of Sales & Marketing, Lauren Skinner…

The name Painted Rock was inspired by the 500 year old native pictographs that were discovered behind our property a few years after we purchased it. The name didn’t come easily, it was something my dad, John Skinner, the owner of Painted Rock, agonized over for years. He wanted a name that spoke to his passions and reasons for entering the wine industry – family, a generational legacy, art, architecture and history. There was a strong temptation to put our family name on the label – it would honour our family, past and present, and show a commitment. Given that our name is Skinner, a name most of us felt maybe wasn’t “label perfect”, he had quite a bit of opposition on this one. At the time we were beginning our Painted Rock journey, there was a lot of playful comedic references in names and on labels in the BC wine industry, and my dad was adamant that this wasn’t right for us. He was taking this new venture seriously and he wanted a name and label that dignified that. We were nearing the final moments – wine was in barrel and labels needed to be ordered soon, when our staff who would lunch on the bluff behind the vineyard discovered ancient native pictographs. There are many known in our area but we didn’t know these existed behind our property. He called the local band who were well aware of them. Dad promised to keep their location a secret to preserve and protect this piece of history. He had grown up on Vancouver Island with his own dad, a hobby archeologist, teaching him about local native cultures while digging for arrowheads.

For months John communicated with the Penticton Bands historian trying to come up with an appropriate name. Unfortunately the several names suggested by the historian contained so few vowels they were too difficult to pronounce. Exasperated, John appealed to his viticulturist Valeria Tait one day and said, “I really need a name that incorporates the pictographs.” Valeria responded instantly, “It should also refer to the rock,” as she pointed to the dominant rock face at the back of our property. In a ‘Eureka!’ moment, John said, “Painted Rock?” The name honoured history and art; it connected John to his family and spoke to something that had endured generations.

For our logo, he wanted to merge the themes again, with an emphasis on an overall timeless yet modern aesthetic. The rings are actually brush strokes meant to look like an artist’s interpretation of the rocks. He wanted a label that wasn’t bowing to trends, that would stay relevant and elegant through generations. At the end of the day, each of the passions and reasons starting Painted Rock, have become integral pieces of our overall brand: family, legacy, art, architecture and history.

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There is 1 comment

  1. If I had to make a short list of Best of British Columbia wines…Painted Rock Syrah and Red Icon would be on that list.

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