We’re fans of Okanagan Crush Pad here at Chez BCWineLover, and not only because of the wines. The 3-year old winery based in Summerland, BC is already a business success story and they’ve barely just begun.
Proprietors Christine Coletta and her husband Steve Lornie have marketing and business smarts that has helped them shorten the journey into profitability that all start-up wineries must endure. They’ve helped to launch a long list of new BC wine brands through their custom crush and consulting services, including their own Haywire Wine label.
There has been lots to crow about since Haywire Wine first came onto the market in 2011. The wines were announced with modest fanfare at the North Vancouver office of Coletta’s former PR and marketing firm. It was there that BC wine writers were introduced to “the egg” concrete fermentation tank that would become OK Crush Pad’s signature winemaking tool.
Another early milestone occurred when Canada’s “Iron Chef” Rob Feenie – Executive Chef at for popular Cactus Club Cafe restaurants – partnered with Coletta and Lornie on a red and white private label house wine. They announced that “Feenie Goes Haywire” in May 2012, and the wines are still pleasing palates right across western Canada.
Then this past summer the winery received news they had won the 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence in BC Wine for their 2011 Canyonview Vineyard Pinot Noir. It was a gratifying end to a long journey, and the beginning of great things to come at Okanagan Crush Pad.
The 2012 Haywire Canyonview Vineyard Chardonnay ($23) – available on store shelves and for order through their website – is one of a growing list of excellent unoaked B.C. Chards. This is a light to medium-bodied style, fruit-forward chardonnay, that has a soft, round mouth-feel and pleasant finish. Wine Align writer Janet Dorozynski says this Chard is “dry, with intense fruit and crisp, bright acidity” and we would agree. We suggest that you pair it with a little sharp cheese or a stir fry dish.
The winery operation continues to grow both in terms of volume, but with the exciting purchase of several hundred acres in the Garnett Valley just on the outskirts of Summerland. The property sits at the highest elevation of any vineyard in the Okanagan region, but the expectation is that weather and soil conditions will eventually produce remarkable organic wine grapes.
As Okanagan Crush Pad celebrated its 3rd anniversary on September 28th, owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie announced changes within the winemaking team. Michael Bartier is transitioning his role as chief winemaker to Matt Dumayne which will allow Michael Bartier flexibility and the time required to continue to build his own wine portfolio, Bartier Family Vineyards. Michael will continue to consult to Okanagan Crush Pad indefinitely, continuing his work in developing and managing the vineyards. Jordan Kubek will continue her role as sparkling winemaker. The change in responsibilities will allow for a smooth transition through harvest and the critical time of fermentation.
In addition to Michael, Matt and Jordan, the winemaking team includes world renowned Tuscan-based consultant Alberto Antonini, and wine expert David Scholefield. Chilean Pedro Parra has been consulted to gain knowledge of the terroir and geology of the winery’s vineyards.