Summer is truly the sweetest season on the west coast. Patios open, colourful fruit fills up the farmers’ markets, and chilled wine becomes an evening essential to be enjoyed with canapés and sunshine. It is time to swap those soul-warming winter blends for crisper wines, seasonal ingredients, and get in the spirit of summer.
Choosing to consume food and beverages that are locally-sourced and sustainably grown is healthier for you, decreases the carbon footprint of your dining experience, and it also supports your community’s growth – literally and figuratively.
When combining ethically- and locally-sourced dishes with wines from our home and native land, drinking local transforms from a romantic concept into a splendid reality.
Keeping this in mind, we take a four-hour drive to the Okanagan Valley – and make our way to gorgeous Summerland, a quiet lakeside town. Here we find ourselves at Okanagan Crush Pad, where Haywire wines are made.
Haywire wines offer pure, lively flavours that reflect the unique cool climate terroir of the Okanagan Valley. The portfolio includes Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, traditional-method sparkling wines, and three ‘natural’ wines, made without chemicals and with minimal technological intervention.
Founded in 2006 by Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie, “haywire” is an old Canadian-ism that refers to wire used for baling hay. Haywire tended to tangle and be unpredictable, making it an apt description of the pair’s impromptu decision to forgo retirement and journey into farming and winemaking.
Today, their venture includes Okanagan Crush Pad, a state-of-the-art 40,000 case winery, 321 acres of vineyard and farmland, and a focus on creating natural wines exclusively from organic grapes. With home vineyards Switchback and Garnet Valley Ranch now certified organic, Haywire has become recognized as making some of the most game-changing wines in the region. Winemaking is in the capable hands of New Zealand native Matt Dumayne, who works with Italian consulting winemaker Alberto Antonini. The entire team is committed to farming wines that are lively and elegant, and let the natural beauty of the Okanagan Valley shine through.
The winery is situated beside Switchback Organic Vineyard, a site that is home to roaming sheep, chickens and ducks (otherwise known as the ‘vineyard workers’). The goal is to optimize vineyard performance, by deeply exploring the surroundings to discover the variables that affect vine growth, grape ripening, and plant health and longevity.
Created exclusively from organic grapes, the purity of Haywire complements the intentions we are looking to set for summer 2017. To bring it all home (or at one of the many great eateries Vancouver has to offer), of course we need the right foods.
The Haywire Pinot Gris 2015 offers guava and stone fruit aromas with a grassy herbal influence on the nose. On the palate the wine is dry, but juicy and bursting with citrus notes, intriguing sweet and savoury herbs. The wine’s retained delicacy and lively acidity means this Pinot Gris is demanding of food that is loaded with the same. Partner this wine with flavours of sage or dill, in salad or sauces, and if you are looking to enjoy the Pinot Gris at a casual summer spot that has a plant-based mentality, try Virtuous Pie. Located in Chinatown on Main St, Virtuous Pie offers a delicious range of plant-based pizzas that taste great, are good for you, and support a healthy planet. The team recently captured a BC Restaurant Hall of Fame Award for most creative restaurant. The on-tap Pinot Gris is a great choice to pair with an amazing menu of exclusively vegan offerings. Try the Superfunghi – the cashew mozzarella, herbed potatoes, and flavours of the truffle almond ricotta combined with wild mushrooms, are a match made in heaven with the savoury Pinot Gris.
Haywire owner Christine Coletta’s daughter Alison went by many nicknames as a child. Favourites like Ali-pallie and Ali-bubba eventually morphed into “the Bub”. When Alison became an adult, her love of sparkling wine gave way for the bubbly wine to take her name: presenting The Bub 2015. Now a Haywire staple, this wine is fermented and aged using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown on two cool vineyard sites in Summerland. This vintage is a shining example of what the Okanagan does best – crisp, fresh, and delectable with citrus and toasty notes, as well as a textured, light effervescence. It is a bold, dry, austere bubble, and no food pairing is required for this wine that tastes amazing on its own. However, The Farmer’s Apprentice offers a vegetable tasting plate that is a flawless pair, with beets, roasted potato, sunchokes, and pumpkin seeds.
The birthplace of innovative, artisanal, and sustainable cuisine in Vancouver, Farmer’s Apprentice offers an ever-changing menu featuring ingredients from local farms, pastures, and providers. To accompany the restaurant’s ‘conscious cuisine’, wine director Kieran Fanning has handpicked a selection of organic and biodynamic wines available by the glass and bottle. Launched in 2013 by chef/owner David Gunawan, Farmer’s Apprentice received the number two spot on EnRoute Magazine’s annual list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2014, and captured Best New Restaurant, Best Casual Restaurant and Restaurant of the Year at the 25th annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards that same year. In 2016 Gunawan was singled out as Chef of the Year at the 2016 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards.
Another Haywire wine that is a favourite with Farmer’s Apprentice sommelier Keiran Fanning is the Haywire Pinot Noir 2014. This wine was fermented with native yeast and aged in concrete tanks for 11 months before being bottled in its purest state. Lively ripe berry fruits, exotic spice, and earthy characters dominate this wine. The beet tagliatelle from the Farmer’s Apprentice tasting menu is another great paring choice.
So grab a bottle, lift a glass to local flavours, and welcome that summer sun.