We are currently looking for a new solution to cork our ever-popular Distraction Frizzante , and this has us thinking about big wineries versus small.
There have been some big corporate buy-ups in the Okanagan wine industry lately. And it’s a positive indicator. When a corporate wine producer like Andrew Peller invests 95 Million dollars to buy up some of the valley’s top producers it’s a huge vote of confidence in the future of this business, but it also marks the passing of an era.
Gray Monk, a true pioneer of the Okanagan wine industry joined Tinhorn Creek and Black Hills as part of the Peller corporate powerhouse.
When it was announced in September, the people involved in the transaction talked about plans to keep the existing employees and branding in place so consumers could have confidence that the quality of the wines and general status quo would be maintained. But from our perspective, a spirit of collaboration may be one of the first casualties in the transition.
Lucky for little us, boutique wineries still have their allure. People find charm in a rough hewn wine shop carved out of the midsection of our working cellar. They appreciate visiting a winery, where they may just run into the proprietor or the winemaker during any given visit. And there are always new boutique wineries opening to help keep the wine region interesting. The smallest are now referred to as micro-wineries or garagistes.
As for The View, we have grown from a few hundred cases per year to close to ten thousand. We would like to think we’ve kept that small winery feel.
In the case of boutique wineries great wine often results when a winemaker can devote his or her attention to very small lots, but on the other hand, when a winery gets a little bigger they can have a team of wine makers, and sometimes that can be even better. Some of the best wine in the world, produced by the houses of Bordeaux for example, is made in quantities over 30 thousand cases.
The Turton/Ward family has been on our property for five generations, but our entry into the wine business was in 2006. Jennifer Turton-Molgat put a teaching career aside and jumped into the business with enthusiasm, making-up for any shortage of business experience.
What happened next was extraordinary. Instead of being scoffed-at by the established small and medium sized wineries, what she encountered was an uncanny willingness to help. Whether it was advice or a shared piece of equipment the collegial atmosphere among these “competing” wineries was unbelievable.
Thank you Intrigue. Thank you St. Hubertus. Thank you Summerhill. And yes, thank you Gray Monk.
Unfortunately that spirit of one winery helping another doesn’t always cut it in the corporate world, which is why at the time of the writing of this blog, The View is in need of a corker and foiler for the bottling of our 2017 Distraction Frizzante. We’ll just have to figure something out.