I wouldn’t start driving around British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley trying to find Haywire winery because, simply put, there isn’t a winery named Haywire in the Okanagan. So is it a brand? Well, yes it is a brand; it’s made out of a custom crush facility, where wine is made for numerous local clients. But this is no side project or vanity bottling. Haywire wine comes out of the Okanagan Crush Pad, the custom crush facility in question, but it is the brand that is the vision of Christine Coletta and Steve Lornie who are also the founders and owners of ‘OCP.’
Situated in Summerland on the 10-acre Switchback Vineyard, the Haywire wines made at Okanagan Crash Pad by winemaker Matt Dumayne, are meant to reflect the natural terroir of the region. Echoes of local sagebrush, elements of nearby apple and stone-fruit orchards, along with crisp, vibrant acidity due to the proximity to Lake Okanagan and a broad daily diurnal temperature swing are all hallmarks of their wines. The wines are guided by consulting winemaker (and global legend) Alberto Antonini, and the crew also work closely with Chile’s Pedro Parra, possibly the leading terroir specialist on the planet today. You see, the Okanagan Valley was created thousands of years ago by glacial movement, leaving behind deposit that has made for very mineral-rich soils. That history comes across in the glass as well.
Haywire’s wines aren’t fussy. You’re not going to find overly tricked-out, heavy-handed, over-oaked fruit bombs. What you get with Haywire is an honest expression of this tiny corner of the world in your glass - a taste of the Okanagan in every sip. To get a good sense of what they do, you should give a couple of these bottles a try. In fact, if you sign up for My Wine Canada’s Winery of the Month Club by February 15th, a selection of Haywire wines will be delivered straight to your door!
Haywire 2012 Canyonview Vineyard Chardonnay has some great lemon tea and peachy notes on the nose, followed by a wave of tropical fruit, mango, green grape and honeycrisp apple on the palate. A crisp, cool Chardonnay with a good spot of richness right in the centre.
Haywire 2012 Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris is a stunner in the glass, with a slight pink or salmon hue. Pears, white flowers and sage leap out of the glass leading the way for a palate full of apricot, ripe peaches, blood orange, quenching acidity, and plush viscosity.
Haywire 2012 Canyonview Vineyard Pinot Noir has outright intoxicating aromas of stewed red and black fruit (just a hint candied) with clove, allspice and thyme, and then it’s layer after layer of complexity. Cherry, Italian plum, raspberry, strawberry jam, pastrami, root beer, a lick of chocolate mint and very light tannins. Although there’s a lot going on, it’s quite graceful and has a charming lightness.
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at KurtisKolt.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt.