Let me just preface all this by saying that I’m not averse to change. I’m not someone who dislikes change of any kind and prefers things to be routine and predictable. Some people need that and I can understand that but I’m not one of those people.
Ok, there’s this winery. They have built their reputation with their original name and have won awards for their wine and sold out most of the shop each year. Their wine has been improving from the start and they’ve reached a level of acclaim and notoriety that other wineries might never reach. I’ve been following them since I first heard about them because they wanted to grow all of these odd varieties of grapes that hadn’t (at the time) been tried in the Okanagan. They were true trail blazing pioneers at a time when most wineries to taking the safe road with varieties that are easy to sell no matter how badly they were made.
And now they are changing their name and their whole brand. It’s been the talk of the industry for the last few months and thought though there is nothing officially released yet (that I know of), the most common question that I’ve had in my discussions is – WHY? It just doesn’t make any sense and it gets me a little annoyed mostly because I’ve followed this winery for a while. It’s (literally) not my business so what’s the big deal?
Well, I want to see the wine industry here thrive and prosper. It’s something that I’m quite passionate about and I want to support it in any way that I can. I live in wine country and I see the potential in the land and people that I see all around me every day. This is really just the beginning of not only an industry, but a way of life in a place that 100 years ago was a remote outpost for only the toughest citizens. Imagine living centuries ago near Beaune in France’s Burgundy when the first vineyards were being planted and people were trying out different varieties to see what worked best. That’s what it feels like here, now, and it’s utterly fascinating to witness. That’s one reason why I started this blog.
My hope is that perhaps there is a serious reason for the name change. Maybe they are being legally required to change it because it infringes on some other business’s name elsewhere and they’ve agreed to change it. Or maybe there has been an ownership change and want to change direction in winemaking style.
The worst thing would be that some marketing company has convinced them that they need to change it for no other reason than to acquire a new re-branding contract. To me that means that money is the only reason for changing the name and for me, money is never a real reason to do anything. Beethoven never wrote a symphony purely for money, there were other more artistic reasons. Money was a means to creation but it wasn’t the desired end result.
There have been a few historically significant name changes in the BC wine industry in the last 20 years. Usually they have been difficult-to-pronounce family names that have been changed to make it easier for people to remember. Prpich Hills Winery, Slamka Cellars, and Scherzinger Vineyards are now better known by their newer names Blasted Church, Little Straw, and Dirty Laundry.
The winery in question however, does not suffer from the unpronounceable family name. They have a very easy to remember name with an image and label that stands out and has lots of potential for new colour schemes and alternative stylings. Again, I just don’t understand why they would want to let all of that go.
I wish them well and hope they can make it work. I’m sure I will try their wine at some point but at this point it might take a little convincing.