By Barb Aguiar
Bobby Gidda, president of Volcanic Hills Estate Winery in West Kelowna, credits the work ethic of his grandparents and parents for the family winery’s success as it celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2020.
A Family Business
“If you can work with your siblings and your family members, there’s nothing that can stop you,” says Bobby, who, with his brother Amit and sister Christina, established Volcanic Hills Winery in 2010.
In 1958 their grandfather Mehtab came to Westbank from India, bringing not only his agricultural knowledge but his wife and three sons to become the Westside’s first Indo- Canadian family.
Mehtab’s son Sarwan – Bobby, Amit and Christina’s father – began helping him at a young age, and by the time Sarwan was 12 the family purchased their first property, an apple orchard.
The family gradually purchased more land, and in the late ‘70s Sarwan began growing grapes.
By the early ‘90s, the family was farming over 250 acres of grapes. In 1999, they opened a winery they had built.
While school was top priority, when Bobby and Amit were old enough they helped with the irrigation in the apple and cherry orchards behind the family home. They helped with the summer cherry harvest, and at 15, Bobby was managing the
workers during the harvest.
At college, Bobby focused on taking courses to help him manage the winery. The lessons he learned growing up allow him to get his hands dirty with any job at the winery.
The family now has four generations who have lived in West Kelowna, with the fourth generation growing and healthy. Bobby, Christina and Amit learned from the work ethic of their parents and grandparents.
Even in his 80s, Mehtab enjoyed working and was pruning in the vineyard months before he died at 83.
Sarwan never needed an alarm and was always out working at sunrise. He is still active in the vineyard, while their mother Sudarshana is the glue that holds everything together.
“Without family, we definitely wouldn’t be in the position we are,” says Bobby.