Okanagan Crush Pad Winery owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie announce that the winery has acquired Secrest Mountain Vineyards Ltd. in Oliver, B.C. The holding includes a 50-acre property planted in 2000 with 38 acres (15ha) of Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer. The property has been under lease to Okanagan Crush Pad since 2010 and is currently transitioning to organic certification. Grapes from this vineyard have been instrumental in allowing Okanagan Crush Pad to increase production of its own wine labels, with Secrest Mountain Vineyard grapes earmarked to many of the winery’s top Haywire and Narrative wines.
“We thank Brad and Dave Wise for the hard work they have done over the years and wish them well in their future endeavors,” states Lornie. “We look forward to working with their crew and completing the organic farming conversion they started.”
Secrest Mountain Vineyard, which neighbours Covert Farms, is a flat, south-west facing bench in a high mountain setting 487 meters (1,600 feet) above sea level, with alluvial soils, studded with coarse gravel, sandy loam and limestone layers.
“The cool high altitude setting of Secrest Mountain yields exceptional grapes,” notes chief winemaker Matt Dumayne. “We can harvest at full physiological ripeness with lower sugar levels, and subsequently create delicate, lower alcohol wines, which is exactly our aim. The vineyard has proven itself over the years, and we are able to produce some of the best sparkling, Pinots and Gamay that I have made over the course of my career.”
With this acquisition, Okanagan Crush Pad now has 80 acres of grapes between their Switchback (Summerland), Garnet Valley Ranch (Summerland) and Secrest Mountain (Oliver) and aims to plant an additional 55 acres at their Garnet Valley Ranch and Monro Avenue sites, to bring the total to 135 acres.
“Owning and controlling our grape supply is critical to our future,” notes owner Christine Coletta. “We have been very fortunate that the Wise family shared our vision, and have put in three years of hard work to convert to the farm to organic practices. Now we are in a position to see that work carried on. While our winemaking team is a key asset in the processing chain, the farmer is the unsung hero in any wine narrative. The more work done in the vineyard, the less intervention required in the cellar and that suits our winemaking ethos fully.”
Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie built Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland, B.C., on Switchback Vineyard in 2011. The facility, producer of Haywire and Narrative, has established a reputation by receiving unprecedented awards and accolades with chief winemaker Matt Dumayne at the helm in the cellar, and with farming in the capable hands of fellow New Zealander, Duncan Billing. Dumayne crafts natural wines from organic grapes in state-of-the-art concrete tanks, using native yeast and minimal additives.
The wines reflect the region’s unique high mountain/northern desert setting noted for its intensely hot, short growing season with hallmark cool evenings. Visitors to Okanagan Crush Pad discover a guest center, built into the heart of the winery, where they are offered a rare glance into the art of winemaking and a place where they can sample and purchase.