Aspirational Okanagan wineries form new group

Seven leading BC wineries: 50th Parallel Estate Winery, Culmina Family Estate Winery, Haywire Wines, Liquidity Wines, Painted Rock Estate Winery, Poplar Grove Winery, and Summerhill Pyramid Winery, have formed a partnership, The Okanagan Wine Initiative.

The association groups together these seven Okanagan wineries to share resources and collaborate on varying projects internationally, across Canada, and in their home market, British Columbia. The members share a common passion to drive one-another to excel and adopt best business practices and to help elevate the identity of the Okanagan as a premium wine producing region and superb wine tourism destination.

The seven members found themselves working together over industry issues or attending wine trade fairs abroad and discovered common values and aspirations, most notably around export market development, sustainable business practices and a desire to create terroir driven wines that showcase the Okanagan. Over a year ago, they started informally sharing resources and more recently decided to establish The Okanagan Wine Initiative as a company. Each member has provided significant funding that will support market development and promotional activities. Once the group is firmly established and its processes and activities in place, other likeminded wineries with similar aspirations will be encouraged to join.

The Okanagan Wine Initiative is in no way a replication or replacement for any of the current trade marketing associations in B.C. “We are non-partisan and will work closely with all existing trade organizations, in addition to driving our own initiatives,” says Liquidity’s Ian MacDonald, a key force behind the group’s formation. “The Okanagan Wine Initiative is about adding to what is currently being done to elevate awareness and demand for Okanagan wine around the world.”

“This group is here to challenge and build one another up to be the best we can be in all areas of our business,” says Christine Coletta, co-owner of Haywire Wines in Summerland, B.C.

“Collectively, we offer wines and tourism experiences from north to south, and we create a diverse portfolio, focusing on wines that are signatures of the Okanagan,” Coletta continues.

Recently the group came together to host the event Farm Friends following the Alberta B.C. wine boycott, and also held a public tasting and panel discussion for the Everything Wine Tasting Lab in Vancouver. Next up is a series of events in London in mid-May and co-hosting a tour in the Okanagan for seven UK journalists.

“Each of us brings a different skill set to the group and by dividing the work between us, we hope to make fast in-roads,” noted Culmina’s co-owner Don Triggs. “Our end game is to build our wine region’s reputation nationally and internationally.”

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