East Kelowna is the place to be on Saturdays if you are a fan of live music. Each Saturday this summer, from 2-5 pm The Vibrant Vine Winery has booked a band to perform, and these are no small acts. Among those on the roster this year are jazz phenomenon Anne Jacyszyn and the Latin ensemble, Major Mombo. The winery will have picnic items available for purchase such as cheese and meats, and if you buy a bottle to drink there they provide complementary cheese, bread and biscuits.
The Vibrant Vine Winery opened in May 2010 under the guidance of Tony and Erin Lewis, who are assisted by Tony’s parents Marion and Wyn Lewis. The parents occupy the Okanagan Villa, a gorgeous estate, just above the winery; a spot that has held many of Kelowna’s most talked about celebrations. Tony Lewis planted 10 acres on the estate including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay and used a unique ground trellis system he developed that works around the rocky soil on the property.
Tony Lewis is a treat to speak to, his energy is fantastic, something that probably kept him going in his years as a drummer in the band Storytime, a rock and roll band he performed in with his two brothers. His creative drive leads him into adventures such at the unique pressing of the Pirate Chardonnay in October 2010. Lewis pirated a barge to the Naramata Packing House where he picked up the Chardonnay grapes, loaded the six tons onto the barge, and then pressed the grapes onboard using a bladder press powered by water from Okanagan Lake. They arrived in Kelowna 4 ½ hours later with a load of the grape must. This wine is the only wine ever pressed on Okanagan Lake to date.
Other adventures Tony Lewis has embarked on include his adventures with great uses of American oak. He first crafted a BBQ from an oak barrel, then turned a barrel into a snow board, topped it with a horse saddle and almost lethally road it down the mountain. He is now working on a row boat which will set float across the lake this spring.
The Vibrant Vine Winery can be found along the East Kelowna wine route just up from McCullough Station Pub on Pooley Road. When you visit the winery you will be sure to notice the labels, a result of their older son, Phil Lewis and his work as an artist. They are impressive, full of colour and vibrancy. Phil Lewis’ paintings decorate the wine room, and there will be several visiting artists works on display this season. The room is a colourful affair, and the wines a visual and flavourful sensation. Open for tastings from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
As the 2009 vintages are now sold out, wine lovers can look forward to the release of the 2010 Gewurztraminer, the 2010 Riesling and 2010 Sauvignon Blanc.