Kraze Legz Winery in historic Kaleden is difficult to find, but that’s to be expected from a winery that draws its inspirations from the speakeasies of the prohibition era. Indeed when I arrived at the winery’s iron gate, with its signature keyhole, I felt as if I should have been driving Jay Gatsby’s gorgeous Rolls Royce. A feeling that only increased when I spotted the grate on the door of the tasting room and entered a room that felt as though it belonged to another time.
Though names of the wines are a tribute to the dance crazes of the 1920’s, these are serious wines. Each one has won at least one major industry award. The shelves in the tasting room are covered with medals. Their wine club Joe Sent Me—named after the iconic password of the prohibition era—ensures exclusivity, access to their library, winery-only releases, pre-releases and first access to the purchase of tickets for all winery events. Like the winery’s touchstone, the speakeasy —which often had two personas, the estate has another more “establishment” side: SKAHA Vineyard. This vineyard (Skaha is the native Okanagan word for horse) is an ode to co-owner Sue Thygesen’s affection for all things equestrian. The labels are beautifully illustrated with a native horse with feathers in its mane. These wines extend the estate’s portfolio and are popular in restaurants across the province. Like their counterparts this line is also synonymous with ultra-premium quality.
Co-owner Gerry Thygesen attributes their success to handcrafting recognizable terroir driven wines. The slopes of fossilized sandstone that surround them deliver unique characteristics and minerality to all their wines. This is truly a local wine and a very local story. But don’t trust me to tell it. Come to the winery and enjoy the adventure for yourself. Just don’t forget to say, “Joe sent me”.
~ Lesley Buxton