Joel Templin, Craig MacLean, and Katie Jain, founding partners, JAQK Cellars; David Dees, national sales manager.
Last night, in a tasting at a wine boutique on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the creators of a new line of premium wines from the Napa Valley made their first bid for attention in the New York metro market. Those who dropped by to sample—including one lady with a live lobster in her tote bag—were intrigued not just by the complexities of the eight varietals on offer, but by the distinctive appearance of their gambling-themed bottles. Tumbling dice. Suits of cards. Points from a roulette wheel. An embedded poker chip. Tightly executed color images on offset-printed paper labels and screen-printed wraps. Meet JAQK Cellars, a brand that comes to market with an exceptional pedigree in graphic design and package printing. The JAQK Cellars products are unusual in that their brand identities and package designs existed before there was wine to put in the bottles. The line is the brainchild of Hatch Design, a San Francisco-based branding and graphic design firm serving a long list of high-end consumer accounts. Founding partners Joel Templin and Katie Jain dreamed of crafting a family of wines over which they, as the proprietors as well as the brand managers, could exercise total creative control on the design and marketing sides. Partnering with master winemaker Craig MacLean, they created a unique series of bottles and backstories that launched the JAQK Cellars brand with the release of about 4,800 cases last year. But, much more is on the way as national sales manager David Dees completes a six-week, 16-state road trip aimed at establishing the brand in restaurants, bars, and retailers in all of the country’s major wine markets. Eight foreign markets also are being pursued. Central to the marketing strategy are the appearance of the bottles and the associations that their game-of-chance imagery is meant to evoke—an effect that wouldn’t be achievable without top-quality package and label printing to make the JAQK Cellars wines stand out in the very crowded and fiercely competitive niche they aspire to.

Direct screen printing lends high-visibility, high-touch appeal to the bottles of several of the JAQK Cellars varietals.
This is a fact well appreciated by Templin, a graduate of the graphics program at the University of Wisconsin - Stout who ran presses in high school as a teenager. Working closely with him and his partners to give the bottles exactly the right look and feel are California printers Collotype Labels (offset labels) and Bergin Glass Impressions (direct screen printing). Other shops are supplying equally high-quality printing and finishing services for the marketing collateral material, which includes decks of playing cards with embossing and metallic ink highlights. 22 Black (Cabernet Sauvignon). Bone Dance (Merlot). Her Majesty (Chardonnay). Charmed (Sauvignon Blanc). Pearl Handle (Chardonnay). Soldiers of Fortune (Syrah). Black Clover (Merlot). High Roller (Cabernet Sauvignon). For oenophiles with a taste for the aleatory—and for those who just like nice wines in handsome packages—they could be good bets to back. A complete story by this writer on the creation of JAQK Cellars and its wines will appear in the September issue of Package Design Magazine.