Val Tait, well-known Okanagan winemaker, announces her departure from Bench 1775 Winery to launch her new wine venture.
“The decision to leave Bench was a difficult one, but I feel that the winery is in a very good place to hand over both the GM and winemaker duties to a new team so I can pursue my next evolution in the wine industry,” says Tait.
Reflecting on her time at Bench 1775, Tait comments that, “Over the past eight years I have enjoyed the process at Bench immensely. Growing the brand, the reputation, and the production from 950 cases to 26,000 have all been very satisfying. With the growth came increased sales both domestically and through exports. It has been a real pleasure to work with owner Eric Lui and his family as we have had a good collaborative relationship and I had a lot of freedom to experiment with different wine styles and to make unique wines. Now I am ready for a new challenge.”
Tait will be working with her life partner Ian Sutherland, winemaker and founder of Poplar Grove Winery, and they are pleased to announce their new venture, “2house”, a project they have imagined for several years that will bring together their passions for winemaking, the simple joys of the vineyard and cellar, and creating beautiful bottles of wine.
2house is first and foremost a collaborative venture for Tait and Sutherland, and a return to their first love of growing grapes and making wine, which is now infused with years of experience.
“As both owners and winemakers for 2house, the collaboration will be in the analyses of each other’s wines, as we each bring our independent take on winemaking to the project. We have both tasted and collected wines from around the world and the wines we have most enjoyed were distinctive of place, so we plan to make 2house wines that are very reflective of the South Okanagan,” says Sutherland. “The project is going to be tightly focused on two wines from two winemakers per vintage.”
Regarding vineyards, Tait continues, “All of the fruit for our wines will be sourced from single vineyards owned by the Gill brothers who are the owners of Gold Hill Winery. We will be managing the viticulture hands on. I helped plant their first vineyards a number of years ago and have used the fruit for winemaking ever since. Our wines will be super focused on small lots.”
Sutherland adds that they intend to really connect with the people that they are making the wine for, as well as to have direct, strong, and personal relationships with their customers. 2house wines will be available to people by invitation.
Watch for the first wine release this summer. More info at Instagram: @2housewine.