It’s fitting that traditional 10-year anniversary gifts are tin or aluminum, materials symbolizing the “durability and flexibility to sustain a loving union,” according to Wikipedia.
Since officially opening on July 5, 2008, Kalala Organic Estate Winery has captured “the heart and soul of founder and owner Karnail Singh Sidhu, his family and the team he gathered,” says Tibor Erdelyi, winemaker.
Erdelyi explains, “When Karnail immigrated to Canada in 1993, he found his electrical engineering credentials weren’t recognized. He jokes that you can’t call yourself Punjabi if you don’t have farming roots. So Karnail began working with his hands in orchards and vineyards. His hard work paid off and he was hired by Summerhill Pyramid Organic Winery.”
After 10 years of managing Summerhill vineyards, Karnail decided it was time to open his own family winery.
Says Erdelyi, “Karnail isn’t afraid to take a risk. Plus, he is such a personable guy and liked by so many in the wine industry, he had lots of help to get started.”
That charisma enticed Erdelyi, who worked at Summerhill as retail manager, to join Kalala from its beginnings.
“The desire to learn more about wine is highly addictive,” says Erdelyi, whose formal training is sound engineering. “I gained experience in winemaking while working with my uncle back in Serbia and I jumped at the chance to get deeper into it.”
When asked, he acknowledges the many wine awards and accolades received by Kalala over the years are rewarding while, “at the end of the day the best award is our empty, sold-out shelves and enthusiastic Wine Club.”
Watch for two special releases for the anniversary: a 2008 Pinot Noir and a one-time-release 2014 Malbec sourced from Mariposa — one of the oldest organic properties in BC, on which Karnail was the first to plant grapes. For more on Kalala’s 10th anniversary, see kalala.com