OKANAGAN CRUSH PAD WINERY

I took my first sip of Haywire’s The Bub last summer while attending Diner en Blanc (Okanagan). It was crisp, refreshing and had just the perfect hint of green apple. Paired with a fabulous picnic dinner under the setting sun and a handful of new amazing friends, this wine really hit the spot! Flash forward a few celebrations and I’m still sipping The Bub on special occasions. Holding such a special place in my Piggy heart, I figured it was high time that I go directly to the Haywire source, the Okanagan Crush Pad Winery. So this past weekend I loaded up the car - destination Summerland - and did exactly that!

As far as first impressions go this one was pretty spectacular. The winery has an impressive exterior design, sleek and sexy modern machinery, a playful energy that spills out onto the patio, and to top it all off, a view of the Okanagan Lake that just can't be beat. Home to Haywire, Bartier Scholefield, and wines from other BC vintners, this state of-the-art facility has something for every palate. In fact, within the industry, it is thought to be one of the best places to experience a wide variety of wines from up and down the Okanagan. And in addition to the exceptional tastings that you'll sample, you might also see the cellar team at work, find out what's going on in the upstairs laboratory, or watch the Crush Pad activities live and in action; lots to see and lots to learn!

Perhaps my favourite part of the visit was being fortunate enough to spend some one-on-one time with Winemaker Michael Bartier. Out amongst the rows and rows of Pinot Gris grapes he shared his appreciation for balance - as cliché as he said it might sound - and his “keep it simple” wine growing philosophy. He explained subjects like crop estimates, soil sampling, how tall is too tall for a cane, and what one might plant nearby in order to effect the level of nitrogen in the surrounding soil. And lastly, as we took a nice close look at the current vines and some of the fruit that has already started to grow, Michael also expressed how pleased he is with the current state of this developing vintage. Save for some cataclysmic weather or a runaway tractor incident (he said he’s seen both in his career!) this year’s harvest promises to be a good one.

Back inside, Michael had just as much interesting information to share as we toured around the facility: why they make their wine in concrete tanks, what their plans are for the two large Italian terracotta containers that they just imported (a popular wine fermentation method in Italy) and why they chose to use a manual riddling rack procedure for one of their upcoming batches of The Bub. I’m telling you, for anyone interested in the behind the scenes goings on, this was such an amazing learning experience.

And last but certainly not least, we entered the Wine Shop – the land of delicious OK Crush Pad tastings. I sampled my way through a large variety of different wines, definitely an amount fit for any piggy, and then made a few purchases for the road. If you’re like me, you’ll want to take a piece of the experience home with you for further reflection! Now I understand that everyone’s favourites are always going to be different – that’s the beautiful thing about wine after all– but I can’t help but mention a few of my personal notables ; must try’s in my Piggy opinion:

Haywire Switchback Pinot Gris 2012 ($23.00)

Haywire The Bub 2012 ($25.00)

Bartier Scholefield Rose 2011 ($19.00)

Bartier Brothers Semillon 2012 ($20.00)

Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir 2011 ($35.00)

My visit to the OK Crush Pad was an exceptional one and I truly hope that this post has convinced you to plan a trip of your own. Before you hit the road be sure to check out their Summer Events and Live Concert Schedules - shows are running now until mid-September. Tickets are going for only $20 per person and that includes one glass of wine! Packing a picnic is highly encouraged and wine bottle purchases are available in the wine shop. Put it all together and this promises to take your tasting experience to the next level: wine, dine and enjoy the show.

For Further details on tastings, tours, purchases, events and more, visit www.okanagancrushpad.com

The Wine Shop is open daily from 10:30am to 5:30 pm until September 14, 2014.

Enjoy, Piggies. Happy sipping and travel safe!

OK crush pad facility

OKANAGAN CRUSH PAD
What a building! Unlike any other winery facility that I’ve toured, I think this is modern design at it’s best. Steve Lornie, Owner and General Manager of the OK Crush Pad, oversaw it’s construction and he is also now responsible for all ongoing site management. Quite an impressive feat if you ask me.

row upon row

ROW UPON ROW OF GORGEOUS
Each row of the beautiful Switchback Vineyard is named after someone who has helped the Ok Crush Pad become what it is today. I couldn’t help but take a picture of my good friend Leeann Froese’s row. (Hi, Leeann!) Co-owner of Town Hall, Leeann is one of the most hard-working and inspiring women I know. Keep up the good work, Lady! #gogetit

patio

THE CRUSH PAD PATIO
Now who wouldn’t want to BBQ something out on this patio? With a glass of wine in hand, this space is just begging for a Fat Pig dining experience!

the traditional

THE TRADITIONAL METHOD
Opting not to use an automated riddling wine rack for this batch of the Baby Bub, Michael Bartier explained the traditional method to me in great detail. Remember Piggies, if you don’t know the rotation schedule, no touching allowed!

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#BABYBUB
Born June 20, 2014, weighing 792 Kg… and just in time for summer! Crafted by Jordan Kubek, Okanagan Crush Pad’s cellar assistant, with the direction of winemaker Michael Bartier, the Baby Bub is “a young, bright shade of pale rose and is packed full of raspberry, strawberry patch and lime zest character”

Read all about the Arrival of Baby Bub here: http://okanagancrushpad.com/haywire-baby-bub-press-release/

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THE DREAM TEAM
Meet Mike, the Tasting Lounge Manager and new hire Kayla. These two were full of knowledge, enthusiasm and ear-to-ear smiles! Hi, you two!

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No, Thank YOU!
The pleasure was all mine, OK Crush Pad. And you better believe that the countdown has already begun for the next visit!

 

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