What comes first, the eggs or the chickens at BC’s Okanagan Crush Pad?
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As if Summerland, BC’s Okanagan Crush Pad (OCP) didn’t need another first. Visitors to this working winery and custom crush facility are already jolted out of preconceptions of conformity at their first sight of the electric blue and red graffiti-style mural at the concrete and glass entrance to O Tasting Lounge.
Communications director Leeann Froese says the mural may be “the world’s first intentional application of this art form at a winery.” Inside, six, eight-foot-tall concrete “egg” tanks act as flavor enhancers (beyond sterile steel and without the “oakiness” of wood vessels) for OCP’s house brands – Haywire and Bartier Scholefield – as well as a host of premium small-lot BC wines. Using concrete egg fermenters was a first for a Canadian winery, but that’s not all that sets OCP apart.
OCP now stands for “Okanagan Chicken Pad” as well. As part of a move toward biodynamic viticulture – the holistic integration of soil, crops, animals, insects and the community in organic wine-making – 30 or so chickens now go to work daily to manure sections of OCP’s vineyards. They roost nightly in nesting boxes made of wine barrels. Old World farming practices are customary here. Irrigation is limited, and a soil-enriching mulch of peas and beans grown beneath the grapes replaces chemical fertilizers. The goal is to produce vigorous vines and flavourful fruit on the way to becoming one of BC’s first 100% biodynamic wineries.
In O Tasting Lounge, take your pick from a selection of local terroir-focused wines rotating by on an enomatic wine dispenser. Sit and sip on the Crush Pad Patio, listening to the drone of bees in the vineyard and the chattering buzz of workers downstairs in the wine cellar. Hike up to the dog-friendly Lookout Trail behind the winery and picnic on the ponderosa pine-covered hill sweeping above sun-glazed Okanagan Lake.
O Tasting Lounge is open June to September.
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