The Crazy Notion of Opening a Small Winery
Our Friends at Church & State Wines
In June of 2016, while having dinner with our friends and owners of Church & State Wines, Kim and Lyndell, we talked about what we would be doing next and they introduced the idea of a small winery. Of course, we thought this was a crazy notion for a number of reasons but as we continued the discussion, it became more and more real. We then went on a small tour of the Okanagan to talk to other winery owners to get their input on the viability of our plan. Sandra Oldfield at Tinhorn Creek, Bill Eggert from Fairview Cellars, Jay Drysdale from Bella Wines and Christine Coletta at Okanagan Crush Pad were among our first stops. They all had different things to say and different advice to offer and we certainly drank some very good wine along the way!
Our Consulting Winemaker at Bartier Bros.
It was Christine who suggested that we visit with Michael Bartier at Bartier Bros. Winery because we wanted to be on the Black Sage Bench and Michael knows this area very well. He was our next stop and shortly after our visit started, we asked him if he would take us on as clients and guide us through the process of being good grape growers and winery owners. We also asked him to be our consulting winemaker and he said "yes"! We hope he doesn't regret that rather quick response!
Our Conversation with Road 13 Vineyards
It was Michael that found our property during a conversation with Mick Luckhurst from Road 13 Vineyards. We looked at the property, made an offer and only three short months after the initial conversation with Kim and Lyndell, the sale was complete. We took possession of the vineyard on December 1, 2016 and toasted ourselves with a bottle of Jay's bubbles made from Chardonnay grown on Michael's vineyard.
It was a let's-hold-hands-and-jump-off-a-cliff kind of decision
You could say that this was less a lifelong-dream-fulfilled and more of a let's-hold-hands-and-jump-off-a-cliff kind of decision but here we are and we couldn't be more thrilled with our decisions - the hundreds that have led to this moment. Our 11.5 acre piece of heaven is located on Ryegrass Road just 1.5 kilometres north of Church & State and a few hundred metres south of Bartier Bros. We have the perfect place not only from a grape growing standpoint but also from a retail standpoint - it's busy here! Also, huge bonus...our neighbours are our friends.
Oh and Here's The Thing....
Oh, and one last thing, the name of our winery? Here's The Thing...no, that's really the name...We chose that name because so many conversations start that way, especially when someone is trying to make a point. What point are we trying to make? We are serious about making good wine but also delivering that wine to the glass in a relaxed, not-so-serious manner. Simple, right?
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