Our Logo. What’s with the Monkey?



What’s with the monkey, anyway? The ape on the unicorn is an image that intrigued us when we saw it in the margin of a 14th century illuminated manuscript as we were researching logo and label material. This image made us both so curious and lighthearted that we decided to look into the symbology behind it. There are many variations on what the monks who drew these creatures were getting at, and ultimately, who really knows? Virgins, purity, Christ, Satan, knights & maidens slaying unicorns…it all sounds fascinating! We lean toward the first idea we heard from a friend that studied ancient manuscripts as a grad student. The ape symbolizes the basic human instinct and scandalous behavior while the unicorn (or monocerous) symbolizes purity. It’s sort of a yin-yang from medieval times. Dig?


Vodka from Grapes vs. Grappa

ImagePeople have been asking, “what exactly is the difference between vodka from grapes and grappa?” First, we are mandated by the TTB (Tax and Trade Bureau) to use their terminology on our labels. With that in mind, vodka by their definition has to be distilled to 95% alcohol or greater, from any material, and “needs to be neutral spirits distilled or treated after distillation with charcoal so as to be without character, aroma, taste, or color.”

Grappa, according to the TTB, is a type of brandy. Brandy by their definition are spirits distilled from fermented fruit at less than 95% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) and must also have the taste characteristics generally attributed to brandy. All Brandy is “grape” unless stated otherwise. (IE…Peach Brandy)

Now, more specifically, Grappa is a type of Pomace or Marc Brandy, meaning, it’s a brandy distilled from the skin and pulp of sound ripe fruit after the withdrawl of the juice.

So what does this all mean?

Our Vodka from Grapes is a product made from Vidal grape skins and pulp taken from Shade Winery estate grown fruit directly after pressing. We rehydrated and re-pressed this pomace and then fermented this “small wine”. After fermentation, we ran this small wine through our stripping still which produced a “low wine” as we distillers call it, which is about 45% abv. This product was then distilled in our rectification still which brought the alcohol by volume up to 96%.
Even though we began much like one of many methods of Grappa production, we distilled to such a purity, we could not call our product a Grappa.

I must say, though, the more one tastes vodkas from all different raw ingredients, the more one can pick out the original ingredients. Grape is definitely a background, if even tertiary, character which you may discern with some comparisons over time. It is indeed a joy to taste it next to our organic corn based vodka to see a marked difference.