First impressions are important. I’d known (and been a fan of) West Kelowna’s Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery since its inception in 2001, and knew that for almost 30 years before that, the Gidda family had been growing grapes in the Okanagan for many of the regions critically-acclaimed wineries. I hadn’t met any of the family of proprietors until My Wine Canada was coming close to launch-time in late 2013. Jackie McLachlan, the founder of this website, and I were driving all around the Valley chatting with wineries about her vision for an e-commerce platform where people from all across Canada could purchase wine from many of our country’s best regions. In most cases on this particular trip, we’d find who we were to meet with, and take a seat in a small meeting room or in an office to talk business.
When we ambled up to Mt. Boucherie, stepping past vines steeped in the area’s renowned volcanic soils, I was mentioning to Jackie how I’d long been a fan of the winery’s Semillon, always citrusy and full of charm, along with their Gamay which always tells the story of its soils amongst a swirl of cherries and raspberries. Incredible value as well, I recall mentioning, I do think they’re one of the best bang-for-your-buck wineries in British Columbia.
As we entered the bustling tasting room, co-proprietor Pinki Gidda was at the counter cheerily pouring wine for a few guests who were obviously charmed by her sunny demeanour. We introduced ourselves and she immediately brought out glasses and started to pour us a couple splashes. “Oh, we’re actually here to chat about the My Wine Canada project,” we’d said. “Oh, I know,” she beamed right back at us, “But you should enjoy some of this while you’re here!”
A few more people came in, two older couples, exclaiming “Pinki!” There were brief hugs and she offered them splashes, explaining she’d be right with us in a second. It turns out they were folks who live in the area and simply like to pop in weekly to visit with her and enjoy her joviality. One of the guys even declined a splash with a polite “Ah, I’m fine for today!” She turned back to us and as we chatted, we realized that we were indeed in our meeting with her even though she was still pouring for guests, both strangers and friends, and she was just so incredibly charming and amiable with all. At one point there were about 15 people in the room and she somehow kept lively conversations going with everyone, never missing a beat. She truly seemed to be the matriarch of the room, looking after everyone, making it seem effortless and natural.
Every time I take note of someone buying a bottle of Mt. Boucherie wine, I think back to that sunny Okanagan day and our first time meeting with Pinki. I admire that her office, her place of business, is right there in the middle of it all when she’s sharing wine and cheer with all comers. How nice to know that that’s behind every label.
Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. He’s not half as fancy/boring as that sounds. He Tweets and Instagrams @KurtisKolt.