Okanagan Crush Pad – Raised in Concrete

This week I was invited to some major announcements from Okanagan Crush Pad. OCP was established in 2010 by Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie. The Crush Pad is located on Switchback Road in Summerland, BC. Their head wine maker is Mr. Michael Bartier. Mr. Alberto Antonini is their consulting viticulturist and wine maker from Italy, and David Scholefield is their wine advisor. Alberto was a senior wine maker at Antinori and Frescobaldi in Tuscany, and at Robert Mondavi, Au Bon Climat and Qupe in California. Michael made wine at Township 7, Stag’s Hollow and Road 13 Vineyards. More info about Okanagan Crush Pad is on their website.

You may know about the Haywire brand of wines. This wine is produced by Okanagan Crush Pad. I have some tasting notes for the Haywire wines below. You may not know that Michael Bartier and David Scholefield are producing wine through Okanagan Crush Pad called “Bartier Scholefield“. We were able to see, but not yet taste, their White Table (Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc blend), Rose Table, and Red Table (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot blend) wines.

What are some of the announcements from Okanagan Crush Pad?

  • They have designed the Crush Pad as a co-working space for wine makers in the Okanagan to work side-by-side to share ideas and to collaborate on wine making.  Some wineries / wine makers also cannot, for example, afford all the wine making equipment when they first start, so the Crush Pad also gives them a chance to get their winery off the ground.
  • Concrete eggs! What? Okanagan Crush pad is excited to be the first winery in Canada to use egg-shaped concrete fermenters from Sonoma Cast Stone in California. They purchased 6 of these eight foot tall eggs to use in the fall of 2011. OCP researched into purchasing these unique fermented at the urging of Alberto Antonini.  Concrete has been used for centuries in wine making.  The egg shape (which has temperature control tubing within the concrete) allows the flow of the fermenting wine to follow a circular circuit meaning the skins and pulp stay submerged by the must pumping over naturally. Concrete also is slightly porous, letting the wine breathe, like oak barrels, but not impart any oak flavour. The result of these two features, the result is wines with brighter and higher fruit notes and pretty secondary aromas that would not not find in wines fermented in stainless steel.  A picture of one of these large concrete egg fermenters is shown on the right.

Let’s talk about some of the Haywire wines that I was able to taste.  Note that these wines were not produced in the concrete egg, but as mentioned, the fermenters will be in action starting fall 2011.

  • Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2010 ($23).  Light straw/lemon colour. Light flowery, peachy nose. High acidity with citrusy and some stone fruit flavours.  Quite dry and a long length. Very nice. Also a bit of sweet spice to it.Look for the 2010 to evolve a bit and be a bit rounder like the 2009 which I also tasted. Chicken or seafood would be nice with this Pinot Gris.
  • Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2009. Light lemon colour.  Apple,citrus and peach aromas. Lower acid, rounder mouthfeel compared to the 2010 vintage.  Peachy, flowery, and a bit of spice. Fairly long length.
  • Haywire Gamay Noir Rose 2010 ($23). Light salmon colour. Strawberry and cherry aromas. High acidity with strawberries, raspberries and cherry flavours.  Very refreshing. We don’t come across a Gamay Noir rose, so this was nice.  Gamay, like Pinot Noir is naturally a low tannin wine, with red fruit / summer fruit flavours.  This is a very nice wine for the summer.  Try with some crab or lobster.

To find out more about Haywire winery visit, www.haywirewinery.com. Enjoy!

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.

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