By Jordyn Wegner
Deep in the Okanagan lies a creature of mythical stature. A lake monster, seen only by a handful over hundreds of years. This creature, said to live in the deep waters of Lake Okanagan, goes by the name of Ogopogo, and a Penticton winery is creating wines as unique as the monster itself.
Monster Vineyards was established in 2006 when Dr. Anthony Holler, owner of Poplar Grove Winery, decided to introduce an exciting new line of wines to the British Columbia wine market.
Holler was born in Summerland, British Columbia and grew up on his family’s apple orchard; his upbringing left him very familiar with the immense beauty and bounty the Okanagan Valley has to offer. Holler’s interest in wine began like so many other wine lovers, as a passionate and eager wine drinker, and from there the rest is history. Holler dove head-first into the B.C wine industry and never looked back. Not only does Holler immerse himself in the details and business of Monster Vineyard, but he also tends to his own personal 1.5-acre Chardonnay vineyard located on his property in the Okanagan. He enjoys spending his free time in his vineyard, tending to the land and taking care of the grapes by hand.
“The Monster wines are fresh, fruity, and ready to be set free upon release,” explains Daphne Tomkins, marketing coordinator for Monster Vineyards and their parent winery, Poplar Grove.
This unique line of wine prides itself in being different, and as Stefan Arnason, winemaker for Monster Vineyards, explains, it expresses his creative freedom when it comes to his winemaking and grape choices.
“Monster Vineyards’ wine has been produced to be an easy-going and approachable wine that many can appreciate. The glow-in-the-dark wine bottle features humorous artwork that is sure to be the talk of the dinner table. Monster wines are demonstrably cheerful and optimistic,” shares Tomkins.
It’s not just the wine alone that is special, it’s also Monster’s unique and somewhat unconventional tasting room.
“The rustic building is a great reflection of Monster’s whimsical brand and sense of humour,” says Tomkins. “Monster’s tasting room’s main centrepiece is a large chainsaw-carved tasting bar, made from 800-year-old sequoia red wood. The bar was featured on the TV show Saw Dogs and is a very unique representation of the Opopogo.”
The legend of Ogopogo (a mythological creature that is said to haunt Lake Okanagan) plays a significant role in the theme of winery’s tasting room, and parts of the legend are subtly sprinkled throughout the brand itself. The unorthodox tasting room also features a recently renovated patio with a stunning view of Okanagan Lake and the Okanagan Valley — the perfect setting to enjoy a delicious glass of wine.
Monster Vineyards produces on-average 5,000 cases annually, and their wines can be found throughout British Columbia and Alberta. This vibrant young brand is letting their creative (wine) juices flow; they describe themselves as “demonstrably cheerful and optimistic”, and it is very evident through everything they do. Their passion and enthusiasm shows in every way, from their tasting room, to their bottles, to the wine itself. As Tomkins mentions, there’s no denying Monster wines is something special.
“The laid-back atmosphere and quirky setting create a memorable wine tasting experience.”