Necessity is the mother of invention, or innovation in the case of British Columbia’s wine industry. While custom crush has played an essential role in New Zealand and California, BC has lagged behind in developing licensed wineries specifically designed to vinify grapes on behalf of other brands.
Established in 2011, Okanagan Crush Pad finally filled that gap. Yet co-owners Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie did not set out to enter the custom crush business, or even make wine. Their venture began 2005 when they bought a 10-acre (4-ha) fruit orchard near the town of Summerland in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia’s main wine growing region. To generate revenue, they converted five acres to Pinot Gris vines. The intention was to sell the grapes but by the time they harvested their first crop in 2009, they had been convinced to make their own wine.