If you want to have a rare glance into the art of winemaking, then you’ll want to visit Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland this summer. Open June 15 to September 30, this combination winery/custom crush facility is popular with visitors because it makes its own wines as well making wine for an ever-changing line up of clients. 

At Okanagan Crush Pad, you’ll get to watch the cellar team and discover why they make wine in their six egg-shaped concrete tanks. The winery’s Italian consulting winemaker, Alberto Antonini, strongly believes in concrete tanks, used by European vintners long ago, because they accentuate grape characters to bring out the natural attributes of a wine. Chief winemaker Michael Bartier has worked concrete into his regime, and the winery’s first “Raised in Concrete™” Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2011 was just released to great acclaim.

You’ll also be able to taste the limited release house wines Haywire and Bartier Scholefield along with a unique range of wines from other BC vintners in the tasting room. This is in the heart of the cellar, which is where the action takes place. Wander Switchback Vineyard for a peek at how Okanagan Crush Pad is making the transition to organic farming. Bring a picnic and take in some sun while you relax on the patio.

Okanagan Crush Pad has been very successful since its inception. It was just named a top innovator for 2013 by both BC Business Magazine and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.

One of the reasons for this success is the expert Crush Pad team. Owner Christina Coletta, for example, has been in the wine industry since 1990 and among many achievements, was instrumental in the establishment of the VQA program.

“Wine starts in the vineyard, which must be planted with precision, farmed using natural techniques, and closely monitored throughout the growing year,” says Christine. “We treat each lot of wine differently, with the goal of crafting vineyard-specific wines.”

~ Dona Sturmanis