Nunquam non paratus, never unprepared, always ready.
Growing up, Paratus vintner Rob Jennings often heard this Latin phrase, as it was his mother’s family motto. “My mother and grandfather used it to teach my brothers, sisters and me lessons about life, such as being prepared in school or taking advantage of a fortuitous circumstance," he says. “We all knew the phrase by heart.”
According to Rob, the meaning of the word paratus, which, by itself, means ready and prepared, applies beautifully to the art of winemaking. “In the vineyard, we prepare the soil and vines, carefully tending each of them. We are ready to harvest when the fruit is at the peak of its ripeness. In the winery, we will have prepared the facility to receive the grapes and extract their flavorful juice, and then we age and care for it as the wine matures. Finally, after some two years of preparation, the wine is paratus, ready, to enjoy.”
Rob turned to his wife, Christina, a designer and artist, for the label design, and the result is eye catching in its spareness and elegance, marked by an embossed version of the family coat of arms, with a lone red star as its only dash of color, and motto. The wine’s name climbs vertically up the bottle, echoing the tilt of the vineyards that bear its name. Rob’s forebears used the same family crest on the logo for their successful Milwaukee business, Johnston Cookie and Chocolate Company, in the 1800 and 1900's.
Read about the history of the Johnston family crest dating back to 13th-century Scotland.