In business, it’s generally understood that not adapting to changing circumstances will generally lead to a company’s demise. In the case of Okanagan Crush Pad, they face the opposite challenge in that their original model has been so successful, they’re now transitioning their business sooner than expected into a full-time winery. Haywire Winery personifies ‘the little winery that could’, transforming from a small virtual wine anchoring the OCP portfolio of wines, into the headline act.
The rapid evolution from purpose-built custom crush facility assisting other BC winery start-ups to meeting full capacity for their own wines shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the people behind it.
Christine Coletta has spent the better part of 30 years promoting BC wine and is a founding member of the BC Wine Institute and BC VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance) program.
Christine and her husband Steve Lornie’s original concept for Okanagan Crush Pad was to fill the considerable need they identified within the rapidly growing wine industry in the Okanagan. It started with the idea that they would use one third of the facility to make their own wine while others would occupy the remaining two thirds. After 11 years, they now find themselves needing all of the space for their wines and have spent much of the last 5 years reducing the custom crush part of the business.
It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that Christine is raising the bar when it comes to this next chapter of her wine journey. Currently under renovations, the winery is set to re-open this spring with a new 1,500-square-foot modern tasting lounge.
The previous tasting room simply no longer meets the demand particularly post-pandemic as the winery team witnessed firsthand how mutually beneficial it was for visitors to have a seated tasting experience.
The new lounge is purposefully positioned to provide visitors with optimal views of the wine cellar, along with the gorgeous lake and vineyard scenery, all while enjoying Haywire wines in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.
The Haywire brand is also getting a refresh with new labels inspired by the stunning mural that adorns the winery created by Vancouver artist Scott Sueme.
Fans of OCP wines will be happy to know that the winemaking team led by Matt Dumayne remains in place. Additionally, the popular Narrative, Free Form, and Bizou + Yukon wines will continue to be produced with the same commitment to organic and sustainable winery practices along with their signature dedication to creating wines in concrete vessels.
AdVINEtures was treated to an intimate tasting with Christine at Provence Marinaside in Vancouver’s Yaletown district, where several of her wines are paired exclusively with the restaurant’s special Dine Out Vancouver menu.
Our lineup included Haywire and Narrative wines along with a sneak preview of two new wines (a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir) under the Garnet Valley Ranch brand that are set to be released in the Fall of 2023.
Tasting through the lineup, the defining style of Christine’s wines which she describes as ‘bright, lively, fresh and uncomplicated’, were showcased brilliantly with pairings put together by Provence Owner/Executive Chef Jean-Francis Quaglia and Wine Director Joshua Carlson.
Overall, the range of wines are impressive, incredibly approachable, and particularly good value for the level of quality.
It seems that Christine herself is the only one that may be surprised by her stunning achievements over such a sustained period. However, by staying true to her vision of quality, both with her wines and the experience she provides for visitors, it’s unsurprising to everyone else. We can’t wait to see what comes next.
2019 Narrative Chenin Blanc
A wonderfully lithe version of Chenin Blanc with floral and honey notes on the nose followed by lemon, apple and ginger on the palate. It was paired perfectly with an Herbes de Provence crusted goat cheese in a balsamic reduction.
2021 Garnet Valley Ranch Chardonnay
This was one of the wines of the night and a great indication of what’s to come with this new label. If you aren’t familiar with the winemaking style it might make you wonder how this wine can be so approachable at only 2 years old.
This is the perfect wine to convert “anything but chardonnay” drinkers as it has all the classic notes of chardonnay with melon and citrus notes on the nose and palate, without being too aggressive on the density thanks to a lovely acidic backbone.
2020 Haywire Gamay
The fruit for this wine were whole bunch pressed and fermented 80% in concrete, 20% stainless steel. Sweet red fruit on the nose, there are also lovely secondary notes of violets. This is a lighter bodied red with a lovely acid and minerality showing a terrific versatility to various foods.
2019 Narrative Viognier Syrah
The grapes for this vintage were sourced from 2 separate Osoyoos vineyards in the south Okanagan. A certain amount of the Syrah and Viognier grapes were co-fermented in clay amphora and left on the skins for 9 months while additional Syrah was fermented in concrete and then aged in amphora. The result is a distinct V/S blend that has the power you want but softened by a nice round mouthfeel. This was the pairing of the night as it was a surprisingly terrific choice to pair with Provence’s signature Bouillabaisse!
2021 Garnet Valley Ranch Pinot Noir
A lovely complexity to this fruit forward wine starting with loads of red fruit and mocha, then secondary notes of earth and a kick of spice. Very well balanced with a wonderfully long finish.
2013 Haywire Vintage Bub
What a treat to try the inaugural vintage of Bub, Haywire’s sparkling wine and our first introduction to their wines several years ago. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this cuvée spent 52 months on its lees and no dosage was added at disgorgement as it had achieved the balance the winery was aiming for. It’s very well-balanced indeed and clearly demonstrates that despite Haywire’s approachability young, their wines are also very age-worthy.
16576 Fosbery Rd