Before Gina Harfman was professionally making wine, she was airbrushing and pinstriping motorcycles, vehicles and basically any object thrown at her. Her family held onto almost everything, from old fridges to vintage cars — Harfman grew up in an era well before her time.
“I have a big family, so there were always lots of old stories to be told,” says the young owner of Oliver Twist Estate Winery. “Getting together and telling stories makes people feel good, and everybody has a story.”
For the single mom, winemaking came naturally as it is part of her Portuguese heritage. Her grandparents made wine in their basement. Harfman’s family has lived in the Osoyoos area for four generations, buying bare land and farming it for over a century.
When Harfman purchased Oliver Twist Estate Winery in 2012, she kept the signature Oliver Twist wines but created her own Nostalgia series. The labels are brightly coloured, and each has a pin-up girl, with an attitude to match the wine. With names like Rockabilly Red, Pink Cadillac, Boogie Woogie White and Cherry Baby Port, the blends are fun and vivacious, just like their maker.
“People come here to have fun. We have speakers all around and crank up the music — usually ‘50s and ‘60s inspired,” says Harfman. “We have a big yard, so families come, and kids can run around while the parents drink wine and have a picnic.”
The biggest event of the year is the annual car show where Harfman will release another Nostalgia series wine. This year’s event on July 14 is the fifth annual show. You won’t find traditional prizes for the longest drive or best car, rather trophies are awarded for the best chic magnet and best rockabilly car. Plus, with food trucks and vendors, a pin-up girl contest and live rockabilly band, The Wheelgrinders, the event is a highlight of the year for Oliver Twist and for Oliver.