Cover Story Oddball branding pays off

There’s a seriousmethod in the apparentmadness at The Hatch, which was recently ranked among the nation’s best. By Judie Steeves


he attitude and marketing is zany and irreverent, but they’re serious about the quality of their wines — and the combination is working well.

Judged the ninth best winery in the country by the WineAlign National Wine Awards in Canada last fall, even though it is only two years old, The Hatch winery in West Kelowna is already making waves in the wine world.

In those same wine awards, The Hatch was judged the fifth best winery in B.C. out of 10, based on the fact its Black Swift 2013 Long Road Syrah won platinum, which operations guy Grayson Riordan admits they’re very proud of, even though they aren’t filling walls in their rustic tasting room with their medals. (It doesn’t suit the decor...) The Hatch n/v Brut Rose Octobubble took gold in that competition, while the 2012 Hatchchild, 2014 Prima Volta Pinot Noir and 2014 Screaming Frenzy Meritage; Black Swift 2014 Oak Street Vineyard Chardonnay, 2015 Gobsmacked Gruner Veltliner and 2015 Talking Stories White won silver, and the 2013 Dynasty Red and 2014 Talking Stories Red won bronze.

That was out of 1,500 wines entered by 230 wineries across the country, so not too shabby for an unassuming little winery perched on the bench above Okanagan Lake— with some pretty solid world-class wineries as neighbours. “It’s difficult to ‘out-fancy’ the neighbours,” admits Riordan, as he nods to the adjacent Quails’ Gate Estate Winery and Mission Hill Family Estate, “so our branding is irreverent and unconventional and


Grayson Riordan, operations manager at The Hatch winery in West Kelowna.

we have a rustic little shop.” Quails’ Gate operates out of a modern glass and wood tasting facility and adjoining restaurant overlooking the vineyards and lake, while Mission Hill makes its wine on the hill above both wineries, atop a massive in-ground wine cellar, and markets it from an award-winning, architecturally stunning set of buildings and grounds with panoramic views and many amenities.

In terms of the new Hatch winery’s

brand, it evolved from the concept of Black Swift Vineyards, named after a rare and mysterious species of bird that returns to the Okanagan and nests in at least one area of the region. However, unlike most birds, the Black Swift parents produce only one egg each year, carefully hidden behind a waterfall, or similar site. Riordan compares this to The Hatch’s ‘individual bottle babies that are born here every year,’ with the philosophy of producing single- vineyard, small-lot wines that taste

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2017 7

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