Farm to Glass & Sipsters

Hey, hey, hey, you fabulous, wine-loving Sipster! 🍷💃

Your ears must be tingling with delight because you've been serenaded by none other than the dynamic duo – Luke and moi! – on The Sipsters Podcast!

And because I can tell you're already awesome, I'd love to take you on a wine adventure and connect you to some of my favourite people and wineries in the Okanagan and Similkameen.  

But with a very special deal:  Save 15% off any wine tour (wine adventure!) with the promo code:  SIPSTERS


 Now.... I'm trying a hand at something where I write stories about the who/how/where/when of (insert person or winery here).  So Luke gets to step into the spotlight as my trial participant (he has zero idea I'm doing this) and here's that story...

Bottled Narratives: Stories that Flow like Wine ep. 1

 You and I know, that over the years Luke has published a variety of books but one book of his I found at the beginning of when I was at my maximum wine geek/brain-craving-knowledge of BC Wine. Here's that story:

It's April 2021 and we're still in the thick of it with that thing that rhymes with rovid and I'm about 6 months into the planning of Farm to Glass Wine Tours. I've been laid off from Air Canada for 10 months so far with zero idea of when I will be called back. There's no sight of my Tesla arriving anytime soon to start my business (my fight with Tesla can be read here), I just finished a 3 month viticulture certificate course at Okanagan College where the day before the course started, I sprained both my knees in a ski accident and couldn't walk, my mom passed away two weeks later, then three weeks after that we had to say bye to our 18 year old cat and I was just a couple of weeks away from getting surgery on my foot that would have me not walking (again) for a good chunk of time.

So that was my life.... it's a little ridiculous when I look back at that chaos that I was navigating. The grief of loss was intertwined with the idea of starting a business and I can tell you that I almost threw in the towel many times.

But I'm stubborn.

What I also am, is competitive... and a bit of a perfectionist. Which is probably why my 6 years working on luxury yachts and private jets was right up my alley. Precision and excellence is the only option in those careers and dammit... I was a great at my job and still to this day are told I have one of the best corporate flying resumes they've ever seen. (Fun fact, I almost became the flight attendant for the owner of Mission Hill).  If you want to learn more about me, find my story here.  

So when I decided to start a wine tour business, I didn't just want to be any guide... I wanted to be the BEST guide. A well rounded, educated in all aspects of winemaking, viticulture/grape farming (which is why I went to school for it, I had zero plans of actually working in a vineyard) and what I've always been most fascinated about is wine history (which is why I took a master level course on Champagne).

To understand where we are going in the future, we first must understand our past. (Is that a famous quote from someone? I have no idea... sounds like it) Credit to: (insert person who said that)

I put a lot of pressure on myself... as I always tend to do. I am at times, my own worst enemy and it's something that I am constantly working on being more kind to myself.

So with a point in our society due to a pandemic where social activities weren't really a thing... the silver lining of that was I got to dive deep into some wine podcasts while I was puttering around the house.

There are a crap load of podcasts about wine, but there are only a few that really talk more specificially about BC Wine... and that's when I came across Moss. (see what I did there? I feel like Moss would approve)

Moss Scheurkogel (yes that's his real name) had an 18 episode run during the pandemic in collaboration with Vinstitute Wine School (part of Intersection Estate Winery) called Uncork the Sun and you can still find this podcast on any main platform you listen to podcasts.

Moss cracked me up, constantly... and to this day whenever I re-listen to these episodes (which I do as little refreshers for my brain cravings), the same damn jokes get me every time.

But more importantly what he is, is a fabulous teacher and really knows to bring information in a fun and digestible way, which is a beautiful thing.

So here I am, listening away and I come to episode 13: The History of BC Wine. (have a listen to it here)

My innermost wine history geek shined bright, absorbing all of the quirks of our history. I'll be honest... we didn't do wine in the most fabulous way and in certain ways, just made dumb choices. But to counter that, there were also some very innovative people that really saw the potential here (and many were just too ahead of the times and never succeeded).

Now.... you're probably wondering to yourself: What the hell does this have to do with Luke?

Fair question!

At the very end of the episode, Moss mentions that if anyone is interested in learning more about BC wine history, that there is a book called Valleys of Wine: A Taste of British Columbia's Wine History by none other than... yep, you guessed it. Luke Whittall.

I must've listed to the episode on April 21st, 2021 because that's when I ordered that book at Chapters/Indigo.

It's a great book. It's travelled all over the world with me as I keep it in my lunch box when I'm doing overseas flying and can pick it up and read a chapter or two on those longer flights.

Our wine history in BC is fascinating and Luke has what I like to call "a very Switzerland like" approach to telling it's story. No influence of any large key players in the industry. Just historical facts.

And some of the facts are bananas.

We were weird. We were awesome. We were politicians who owned wineries. We were said politicians who didn't drink. We were protective. We were crazy. We were innovative. We were prohibitionists. We were award winning. We were (are) cult-y. We proved people wrong. We proved people right.

We've come along way.

We are going to go a very long way in our (BC wine) future.

We are BC wine... and if you're curious about to know the past... I highly suggest to seek out this book. Though it's not current as some things have changed since it was published, it's still a great read. I reference it all the time, and frankly...

...I think I'm a better wine guide because of it. In fact I know I am.

Fast forward to 2023 and we connect via social media because I want to bring a copy of his book to LA, to gift to another podcaster who knew nothing about BC Wine. If you have never listed to Organic Wine Podcast with Adam Huss, I invite you to give it a listen. You'll also find an episode featuring a very nervous me, talking about the Okanagan and Similkameen.

I popped by the winery Luke works at to pick up the book and we got chatting about all things wine and life, while I got a little tour of the property.

He pitched the idea of recording a podcast episode some time... and the more we started to chat about how fun it would be to record in Lulita the Tesla as if we were doing a wine tour, the more I knew that we needed to make this happen.

That was April.

It took us until the very end of July to get our schedules to work, ha!

The end result is what brought you here, reading this page... so I'm guessing you liked the podcast? Hahahahahahaha. I know I sure did, it was so fun to record and maybe I can pitch to Luke that we do a wine travelling sub-series.... hey Luke! What do you think?

I have incredible respect for someone who puts the time and energy to create little nuggets of our wine history... be it through his pocket guides of 50 must try wines in BC (there are two already out with a third down the pipeline though any edition is timeless and always relevant), to trying to create a better connection, awareness and education with an Ontario version of the pocket guide (which I'm going to get as I have plans to go wine adventuring there soon), to writing a book about our wine history... because frankly.. that was no small effort and when you get someone like John Schreiner writing the forward to the book... it's kind of a big deal.

So thank you Luke!

If you have managed to stumble across this page and have ZERO IDEA how I am talking about. You can find The Sipsters podcast, books and more right here!