Category Archives: Wineries

Vibrant Vines Winery – East Kelowna

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.

3240 Pooley
778 478 1977

Haywire Winery

Haywire Winery is the well tended wine project brought to us from marketing consultant Christine Coletta her husband, Steve Lornie, a well-known construction manager.  David Scholefield is the winery’s consultant and, as anyone in the BC wine industry knows, he comes with a bank full of applicable knowledge and industry connections.

On the winemaking side, the first vintage (2009) was made by Michael Bartier (previously at Road 13).  In August 2010 the winery added some international flair as Alberto Antonini joined the team as the oenologist.  Antonini studied in Bordeaux and at UC Davis and has names such as Antinori, Frescobaldi and Mondavi on his resume.  Antonini and Mark Wendenburg combined forces to make the 2010 vintage and for 2011 Bartier will be back in the wine cellar with Antonini.

In 2005 Haywire purchased an old orchard in Summerland with the mindset to plant vineyards and produce quality vino in the area, a region which had already proven to yield quality grapes and produce wines of distinction.

In 2010 a 2009 Pinot Gris was released and there will be more of this varietal in 2010, along with some Pinot Noir made from grapes grown in the Skaha region, close to Penticton.

Coletta and Lornie named the vineyard Switchback to celebrate the switch from losing money as apple growers to losing money as grape growers. This mixed up logic is why they have called the winery “Haywire”, referring to the mangled manner in which hay is bailed.

Let’s hope they at least have fun doing this, and while they may jest about financial loss, the pair are planners and I can’t imagine this couple randomly stepping out into anything other than a venture that looked profitable in some manner – perhaps even financial.

Coletta Consultants, Christine’s company, has successful and more importantly, creatively, marketed many other BC Wineries.  With some descent growing seasons and care in the vineyards, this up-and-coming winery will be one to watch, and the chance for Coletta to directly apply the knowledge she previously only shared with others.

Haywire Winery Pinot Gris 2009

A light-bodied and fresh number, the first from this Okanagan Winery.  Floral, green apple and peach aromas with flavours of lemon, lime, apple, peach.  A somewhat tart finish, this is a typical Gris from younger vines.  With another year to develop, these plants should produce wines of more depth, but there’s nothing preventing you from enjoying the inaugural vintage with some fresh oysters – accompany with a granny smith mignonette and you’re set for patio weather.

Technical Information:

Vintage: 2009
Status: VQA
Vineyard: Switchback
Variety: 100% Pinot Gris
Clone: 52
Fermentation: 100% Stainless Steel

Alcohol: 13.0
pH: 3.29
RS: 1.3
T.A.: 7.60