Hipster wineries? Let me explain!
Hipster wineries, to me and John Erickson, is the expression of odd, rare and organic wines. I’d also add to this natural wines that have become a prevalent trend within the wine world. If the term Hipster wineries leaves a bad taste in your mouth maybe it is because your mind automatically drifts to man buns, bearded millennials and the Kardashians.
The past decade has brought plenty of change to the Okanagan wine region of British Columbia. The food scene is emerging as a Canadian gem with the current boom of new and unique restaurants, breweries and wineries. New breweries are popping up yearly and the North End has become a brewery district. Add to this a craft cocktail revolution at various lounges and bars, food trucks and a beach culture that feels like a slice of California and you’ve got a very busy tourist season come summer.
But Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley is known for its wine first and foremost. Since the 1980s when Canada entered the North American Free Trade Act spurring on a complete overhaul of the vines in the valley allowing growers to expand with vinifera with the help of government grants.
Since then the Okanagan has been adding new wineries and vineyards annually at a staggering rate. Each summer one can return to the Okanagan knowing full well there will be a slue of new wineries to visit and new wines to taste.
Recently, the Okanagan has been breeding a new kind of winery entirely: Hipster wineries. These are wineries with a laid back atmosphere catering to patrons that are seeking out smaller boutique wineries or perhaps “odd, rare and organic wines” as noted by John Erickson in Great Wine News.
These four wineries embody exactly that – odd, rare and sometimes organic or biodynamic wines with an open and wecoming atmosphere.
The Hatch Winery
The Hatch is a must-visit winery in the Okanagan located on the West Side Wine Trail at the foot of an extinct volcano. Surrounded by iconic Canadian wineries like Mission Hill Estate and Quails Gate Winery, The Hatch is a small and unassuming winery you might zoom past on your way to its famed neighbours. No uniforms or script here. The small refurbished shop keeps bocce on the lawn, a small courtyard for picnics, and walls lined with antique tools. Aside from the eclectic yet rustic décor it is the artwork that will inspire you to buy a bottle before you even taste their wines. The artwork by ex-Okanagan native Paul Morstadt instills whimsy with inspired works featuring bird imagery. It’s a cool place to hang out over a glass of their Flipping the Bird Rosé this summer. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you do not at least try their Crooked Crown series!
Kelowna’s urban winery, Ricco Bambino, evokes millennial design with the famed “millennial pink” adorning its cushions, the chill vibe and top 40 playlist booming in the same room where concrete eggs act as an AirBnB until the bottling process. It’s a fun place to grab a drink, learn about some naturally made sparkling wines that I’d call a serious contender for the best in the valley.
A winery using music frequency to help settle the sediment quicker. It’s a very unique experience even for the Okanagan! The wines in studio are aged and infused with harmonic sound frequencies created by artists who perform live. Those who come into the winery can watch and listen to Canadian artists recording their music while also putting out “good vibes” helping to infused the wine with sound frequencies as well and positivity. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever come across and makes it in a league of its own. A live demonstration occurs during the wine tasting experience. Grains of sand are placed on a tray. With various frequencies playing and reverberating the sand is shaken into different patterns and shapes showing how wine sediment is shaken into the grooves of the barrels quicker than simply waiting.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Located in Kelowna, this is one of Canada’s most visited wineries mostly for their delicious sparkling wines and the replica of the Pyramid of Giza that they use to age their wines. With ideas of mysticism, astrology and paganism combined with organic and biodynamic wine making it is a true one of a kind in Canada if not the world. Their process is no gimmick or trend. Summerhill has been setting the bar for organic wine making and what that really means for years now. Take a tour of the winery and you’ll also get to step foot in the pyramid where they age their wines. It is said to intensify the characteristics of whatever is placed within its walls, for better or worse.