“With every gnarled and knotted vine, twisted and shaped into symmetrical perfection there lies great beauty in sacrifice.”  –Anon

Visitors to Coyote Vineyards are greeted by an eclectic array of willow sculptures, symmetrical squares and spheres and sprawling spiders guide the way.

Art and vine come together under the hands of Annabel Stanley, artist, grape grower and owner of Coyote Vineyards.

It is said that nature nurtures the creative mind, Annabel may well agree as she tends her vines and thoughts of pruning for next year’s grapes coincide with the next sculpture; inspiration at her fingertips.

Annabel and her family are hands- on at Coyote Vineyards; in 2014 they produced an impressive 5 tons of hand-harvested premium grapes. The fruit of her labor (literally) is passed onto her husband Grant, the master winemaker at 50th Parallel.

When harvest is over, life on the vineyard carries on into beautifully woven sculptures. The ubiquitous quail live twice, once wrought from blood and bone, and once from moss, leaves, willow and vine; every structure a little piece of the Okanagan Valley.

It’s a natural progression.

As is the story of Annabel’s career in art and wine.

In a time-old tradition many women innately uphold, Annabel was introduced to horticulture by her mother. Early memories of drinking dewdrops from nasturtiums and gathering forget-me-nots established a connection to nature and developed into creative expression through art and vine.

She travelled through South East Asia, Cuba, Europe, and Australia before moving to New Zealand; each country an education on materials and cultural traditions, “the land is what inspires me and natural fibres, the influence.”

With a creative eye and an education in horticulture, Annabel opened a florist shop in New Zealand where sculpting with natural fibers evolved into unique floral displays. It was in New Zealand that both Annabel and Grant became involved with viticulture and winemaking.

And the partnership between vine, wine and artwork began.

The early days of the Okanagan wine industry encouraged the Stanley family to move to Kelowna, and in 2005 they bought Coyote Vineyards where they ripped out most of the existing Chardonnay vines, holding on to 50 for exclusive use, and replanted with 100% pure French Pinot Noir varietals.

Now, with roots firmly established within the wine and art communities of the Okanagan, Annabel hopes to see greater recognition for local wines, “as the world starts to recognize the unique growing conditions we experience here in the valley, (and) the wines reflect the quality fruit we can grow…”

Annabel’s sculptures adorn galleries, gardens and wineries throughout the valley. Her work is for sale at Quails’ Gate and New Moon Gallery.

Visit Annabelstanley.com for more information.

~ Henrietta Poirier

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