A selection of the eccentric labels designed by Paul Morstad that adorn bottles of wine produced by The Hatch. learning.

distinctive, like the grapes they came from.

The Black Swift wines are the top tier, but he admits such individualized production is not a viable business model, so along came Screaming Frenzy, named for a flock of Black Swifts, and other labels, each with a name that has a story behind it. Key to the eccentric branding is the art of Paul Morstad, who designed not only the Hatch’s unusual personality, or face — a hobo with a messy nest for a head, topped by a single floating egg/brain — but also some of the most interesting labels in a new-age wine world that includes some pretty weird names and labels.

Riordan concedes the arrival of Morstad on the scene was ‘fortuitous’ and such illustrations as his elephant carrying a hobo holding a bottle of wine, gazing at a shack, complete with a trail of empty bottles behind, speaks to the winery’s philosophy. “The elephant is a big, statement- making wine; good wine should never be forgotten,” comments Riordan about the relationship between the illustration and the wine within the bottle it’s on.

That appears, with very little further information, on the labels of the Dynasty wines, while the egg/brain hobo is the label for the lower tier B. Yanco and Ross O wines, a clear play on Italian red and white house wines. And then, there are the Talking Stories wines; Crown and Thieves Broken Barrel series (sipped by Kings and Queens, but made by scoundrels, explains Riordan) and Contempt by Pamela Anderson (that’s another story you’ll have to ask for at the winery)... As in most of B.C.’s wineries, there are lots of stories behind the wines,


and The Hatch is no exception. Riordan is a migrant from Eastern Canada who was raised in the wine industry in Ontario, where he says it was instilled in him early on how a wine can make a meal. He went on to add to that passion with training at Niagara College.

Grapes come not only from the vineyard surrounding the tasting room, but also from vineyards throughout the valley, from Oliver and Osoyoos; the Golden Mile, to Naramata, West Kelowna, East Kelowna and the Okanagan Mission area of Kelowna, including from Ricky Dhaliwal’s family-owned Desert Valley Vineyard in the south and Kurkjian Farms, further north. And the naming thing continues with the vineyards: Lands End, Placeholder, Drunken Dog, Coyote, the Long Road, Isabelle’s Draw, Stones Throw, Oak Street, Jagger and Bob’s Roadside Fruit Stand. The crew that makes up The Hatch has been busy renovating the older buildings taken over when Horst and Ilse Mueller’s vineyard on Boucherie Road was purchased. The result is the unsophisticated, pioneer-style tasting room decorated with antique farm items and a tank cellar ‘shed’ that is used as an overflow tasting facility as well.

However, that rough-hewn look and quirky labelling stops at the glass where it turns into a pretty smooth and sophisticated beverage, out-competing wines from older and more-experienced wineries and winemakers.

That’s not to say locally-raised winemaker Jason Parkes is any slouch, as the B.C. wine industry is

“We’ve grown so rapidly, we intend now to stay in place, except for growing the quantities,” comments Riordan.

The wines sell out each year. In 2015, 20,000 cases were made by The Hatch under different brands, with the first vintage grown in 2012. “It would be hard to forecast that we would be so successful,” he admits, adding, “We’re all so proud it has grown as it has in just a few years.”

From the beginning, The Hatch has had a wine club, which currently has a membership of more than 300, from all across the country. “People have found us. Word of mouth has worked well for us. People just fell in love with what we do—and everyone who works here is in love with what we do. It’s a great team,” he says

Winemaker Parkes is director of winemaking and operations for Terrabella Wineries Ltd., which owns Black Swift and The Hatch. It also owns Perseus in Penticton, at the start of the Naramata Bench. President is accountant Robert Ingram.

Although a lot of the wine is sold through the wine shop, much is also marketed through restaurants and private liquor stores.

Riordan notes that the small lots wines are often not entered into the VQA program, but instead are sold through restaurants.

Lone Tree Cellars in Vancouver is the winery’s agent.

Seems that good wine can’t hide its light under a barrel—or in a rustic shack with no slick advertising to draw the crowds.

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2017

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