Christine Coletta, owner of Okanagan Crush Pad, has been named one of Western Living’s Top 10 Foodies of the Year in 2018. This win comes after Okanagan Crush Pad’s winemaker, Matt Dumayne, was a recipient of the title in 2017.
This year’s outstanding list of finalists and winners are not only a reflection of the vibrant culinary scene in Western Canada but also a celebration of the talents that work so passionately to propel the industry forward and to rise on an international level.
With a successful career in the B.C. wine industry, Coletta is a prime example of how talents in the industry have worked tirelessly to advocate for and to improve the Canadian culinary scene.
Coletta started her career in hospitality as a server during her early years and it was in the 1990s that her leadership and dedication for the industry took off. As founding executive director for the BC Wine Institute, Coletta formed VQA as a standard to support the local wine industry and its various marketing activities. In addition, she co-founded Wines of Canada, the national wine standards arm. Under that umbrella, Coletta developed a roadshow that crossed Canada to encourage support for local food and wine (before “locavore” was even a word).
After helping numerous B.C. wineries establish their businesses, Coletta launched her own wine, Haywire, and Canada’s first purpose-built custom crush winemaking facility, Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP). Since 2011, Coletta has assisted more than 15 B.C. wineries in their winemaking via OCP.
Coletta has also been on the leading edge of Canada’s natural wine movement, establishing OCP as Canada’s top producer of natural wines (wines made from organic grapes and without additives or manipulation).
Most recently, when the government of Alberta held a boycott on B.C. wine, instead of responding with retaliation, Coletta led and set the tone for collaboration, by initiating a B.C. wine and Alberta food event.
And above this, Coletta doesn’t keep her knowledge and ideas to herself. She shares her resources and continually offers advice and encouragement to not only her own team and people, but also her community and industry. Thus, her most recent project is on the team that formed the Okanagan Wine Initiative, where seven leading B.C. wineries have united to share resources and to collaborate on various projects internationally, across Canada, and in their home market, British Columbia.
Throughout the years, Coletta has not stopped innovating and propelling the industry forward to become a premium wine producing region and a superb wine tourism destination. She has received many accolades over the span of her career and is proud to be a Western Living Foodie of the Year 2018.
Coletta, in spite of her many accolades, remains humble and thankful. “I am thankful to Western Living Magazine for shining a light on those who work hard to elevate and inspire with their food and wine efforts,” she said. “Also, I am very thankful to the local restaurants, who bought B.C. wine when it was an unknown and for helping make the industry what it is today.”