VOICE 120 – Garden of Granite Winery

Justin, co-owner/winemaker at Garden of Granite Winery

“What we want to do with Garden of Granite Winery is to create a hub for wine and a creative space for wine lovers in Vancouver. The wine world can be pretentious, but our aim is to make it easy and approachable. We make wines that we are proud of and are so excited to show to our community! Integral to our success is our network of people that have helped us figure out how to run a winery in a garage, as well as the support from everyone in this lovely neighbourhood. We want Garden of Granite to be a fun place where people want to kick back, relax, and drink some delicious grape juice.”

Garden of Granite is an urban winery, situated in North Vancouver’s Brewery District in Lower Lonsdale. The winery is operated in an old car garage by local entrepreneurs Justin Pineau and Andrew Doyle, who kick-started Andrew’s mother Susan’s wine agency Lone Tree Cellars in 2014 after working for Mark Anthony Wine&Spirits, one of Canada’s biggest wine agencies. 

Starting in October 2019, they opened Garden of Granite and planned to keg imported wines for restaurants and pubs, but then COVID hit and they had to pivot the game plan.

VOICE(V): “How did the idea of an urban winery come about?”

Justin(J): “The reason why we originally got this garage space and started an urban winery was to provide restaurants with new and interesting wines in keg that haven’t been done before. We have great relationships with restaurants through years of working as a wine agency and things were heading in the right direction. Right when the first wave of the pandemic happened last March, all restaurants were temporarily closed and we had to totally shift gears. We weren’t even planning to do bottled products, but we had the space, we had all this wine with restaurants closed, and we asked ourselves, “what are we going to do with it?” So we decided to make retail bottled wine under our label – What Happens Now? It is the question we literally asked ourselves in response to the setbacks. If it wasn’t for the Covid, our bottled wine might have never happened.”

V: “Can you tell us more about your wines?”

J: “We are importing bulk wines from all over the world as well as sourcing wine locally in BC. We ferment some wine on-site and also have lots of fun blending finished wines. We have just enough barrels and tank space to be able to play around and try new things. Currently we have small lots of BC Merlot, Argentinian Malbec, New Zealand Sauvigon Blanc, Italian Sangiovese, and our “Cuvee Garagiste” Blends all in-house.
As the pandemic continues on, we also try to work with local wineries, some from lesser known regions in BC including Shushwap and Duncan. Our focus is to try to showcase the vineyard names or regions on the label and try our best to express the terroir it is from. It is like a collaboration wine, and we want to make fun wines that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.” 

V: “Where can we find your wine?”

J: “Our wines are stocked at selected private liquor stores around BC. In Vancouver, you can find them in Legacy, Liberty, and Everything Wine to name a few. Now that restaurants have reopened under the new restrictions, we have resumed selling keg wines to some restaurants. CRAFT Beer Market, Wildeye Brewing and the Parlour have our wine on tap. 
There is a little tasting room at our garage winery that is open 2 days a week; Friday 4pm-8pm and Saturday 3pm-7pm. (Good news- Indoor wine tasting is still allowed in B.C.) It is really cool experience here! We are really hidden with no sign but only A-frame on the side walk saying “Winery Open”. Our sister project, La Cerveceria Astilleros, is a Mexican inspired craft brewery downstairs, and usually the brewery staff invites guests to come upstairs to the winery for tasting. It is really cool to see a lot of support from the community, family and friends, and we have a tiny wine club growing now from people who want to buy our wine directly.” 

V: “So, what happens now?”

J: “You know, it wasn’t really my plan at all to be in the wine business. I originally worked in The Boardroom in North Vancouver up on Lonsdale and 21st. That was when I got into sales. Then I eventually worked for Mark Anthony and then Lone Tree Cellars with Andrew. I feel lucky to have travelled to a variety of wineries around the world, and I have learned a lot about the wine community and wine making in the past few years. Our goal is to be a hub for the wine community in Vancouver and offer something unique. It has been a really great first year, and this year we have a cool pilot project with Milestones Restaurants, making a special feature keg wine for them. We hope to have projects like that with other restaurants as they resume their dining capacity in the future.”

Since their very first batch released in October 2019, Garden of Granite is sending out  inspiration that a happy and special thing can come out of the pandemic. You can have a little Kelowna wine tasting experience right here on the North Shore. Check out their hidden gem garage winery, pick up your favorite bottle then check out the brewery downstairs for some Beer&Tacos!

Justin’s Favorite Wine: The Golden Hour! It is Orange Wine and it is their first wine that is made in-house. Always keeps a soft spot in his heart.

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