What’s in a Name?

Geography and family ties inspired founders of Vineyard 2121
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A section of the vineyard at Vineyard 2121. Photos by Deborah Pallas for Vineyard 2121

After buying a vineyard in Benton Harbor a little more than a decade ago, Deborah Pallas and her husband, Jeffrey, contemplated potential names for their viticultural enterprise over drinks at a local pizza place.

“We were going back and forth with names on a napkin,” Deborah Pallas remembers.

They thought of the vineyard’s address, 2121 Kerlikowske Road (not to be confused with the entrance location for visitors, 4110 Red Arrow Highway).

“Instead of ‘2121 Vineyard,’” Pallas says, “I flipped it and said, ‘Vineyard 2121,’ and I pushed it over to [Jeffrey], and I said, ‘What do you think?’ and he goes, ‘I love it. Let’s do it.’”

The spouses wanted a name that would match the modern ambience they envisioned for their winery. “Vineyard 2121” not only sounded cool, but it eventually appeared that way on the winery’s olive-green block-print logo. Pallas describes the logo as possessing a “Frank Lloyd Wright” type of look, which she and her husband further incorporated into the winery’s architecture.

A wine glass with Vineyard 2121’s wine club name, including the winery’s signature six dots that represent the family’s six kids.

Pallas discloses that a nod to family is hidden beneath the name. The six little squares dotted underneath the “2121” on the logo represent each of the couple’s children. Pallas recalls how this decision was made: “[Our graphic designer] had four squares on [the logo], and I said, ‘Oh, if we’re going to do four squares, we might as well do six for the kids,’ and we all started laughing.”

It was also important to the spouses that the name be easy to remember.

“Everyone just calls us ‘2121,’” Pallas says. “It just stuck, which was exactly what we wanted it to do.”

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