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The Tale of 22 Pirates - Behind the Brand

Written By Jennifer Hildebrand 29 Oct 2021
The Tale of 22 Pirates - Behind the Brand

22 Pirates is a brand based in deception, manipulation, and intrigue, but how did it all get started? Winemaker Jason Robideaux walks us down the plank to the origins of this treacherous brand…

It starts with discrimination… of varietals. Unfortunately, it’s a cutthroat world out there for selling wine, and it isn’t common to have a widely sought-after Syrah, Grenache, or Carignane. That said, these varietals bring a great deal of complexity and interest to every sip. Jason describes what they provide; “It has really great aromas of bright cherry, plum from the Syrah and Petit Sirah, and a little hint of spice in there from the Carignane, even some baking spice and all spice to it. What is thought by using all of these different varietals is the old-world idea of ‘a blend is king.’ You can make the best wine possible with a blend.”

The roots of this brand reach all the way to the Rhône Valley in France, a region famous for producing world renowned wines. Those same Rhône varietals were transported to the Central Coast by the Rhône Rangers back in the 50’s-60’s. They brought in total 22 original varietals that became recognized in the state of California. The climate in California is extremely similar to that of the Rhône Valley, allowing the vines to conquer and thrive in their new home. With a plethora of Rhône varietals on the Clos LaChance Estate, parent company to 22 Pirates, it was time to develop a brand that allowed those varietals to dominate.

Next came the packaging. We discovered an original painting that was printed in a London newspaper back in 1855 that depicted a scene of deception. In the image, half of the crew are dressed up as women and are beckoning a passing ship to join in the festivities, while the remaining crew members lie in wait, ready to take over their ship. The painting contains 22 pirates, and with the 22 recognized Rhône varietals used to make this blend, we knew we were onto something great!

We finalized the wine, and we established the packaging, but wanted to take it farther and make this a truly interactive experience. Jason explains, “Each individual cork has a pirates name and job that we created, and then you go to our website,, find your pirate’s name, click on it, and it shows you where your pirate is on the label and their whole pirate backstory. It’s just a really fun thing that brings people together. You can collect all 22 corks and have fun with it, bring it to a party, all the while drink a really beautiful wine.

From conception to fruition, this brand tackles a variety of twists and turns that only a seasoned pirate could navigate. Want to know more? Write you questions in the comments below!  

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