10 QUESTIONS with Echo Bay Vineyard

Kelsey Rufiange, winemaker @Echo Bay Vineyard

Q1: How was your summer 2021? 

Kelsey(K):  “Busy, smoky and it is gratifying to finally be out with people again!”

Q2: Climate change is one of the most pressing issues today. How have the recent wild fires affected your business or your approach to winemaking and farming?

K: “I think it was a wake up call for all of us. We have to start thinking about what varietals we can grow, how to mitigate this from happening again or happening less. This whole movement of creating healthier soils, creating less waste, doing more holistic farming for self sufficient, preventative environment is one of the ways that we can help to minimize risk in the future. It all starts from farming and awareness.”

Q3: On top of the climate change, there is a pandemic. How do you see your winery evolving through the pandemic time and in a post pandemic world?

K: “Before this pandemic first happened, we were mostly restaurant focused, and then we had to shift to direct consumer sales just like the whole wine industry did. I have noticed that people are also more conscious of what they are buying and how they are spending their money. It has been great to see that people choosing and supporting more local businesses. Even when I was growing up here, I’ve always drank Okanagan wines and bought Okanagan produce, you can’t beat local.”

Q4: What is the biggest joy working in a winery?

K: “I feel so lucky to be able to see something from beginning to end and being able to be in every part of the process. Being able to enjoy the product with people around you and making people smile, because wine brings so much joy to everyone.”

Q5: If you were not in the wine industry, what would you be?

K: “I would definitely be a maker of some sort. To be creative, and create a tangible product keeps things interesting and fun.” 

Q6: What is your current favorite wine and how would you like to enjoy it?

K: “I would say Cabernet Franc. I imagine that I would just finished a day of skiing, coming back in and drinking a glass of Cabernet Franc with some charcuteries. So you feel like you’ve earned it!”

Q7: “Where is your go-to-spots when you are off work?”

K: “A beer at Neighborhood Brewing, skiing our local hill Apex, or hiking in our mountains.”

Q8: How can people enjoy Okanagan in the fall?

K: “Hiking, biking, and eating apples. The fall is great time to do many outdoor activities because the summer is too hot. Mountain climbing at Skaha Bluffs is nice. We offer new release at Echo Bay in the fall, too!”

Q9: How is this years harvest looking like?

K:  “I am excited about the fruit quality. If smoke is not an issue, then it will be a really great harvest. The season started off early and hot, and now it is getting cooler so hopefully we can have an extended fall and it will be a good year.”

Q10: In a few words, how would you best describe Echo Bay? 

K: “Family-based, guided by Nature.”