That’s cool art. Where’d you get it from and what does it have to with wine? May 6, 1915 – Posted in: the art, the people

Paul-Morstad-on-the-banjoThat’s a fantastic question and one that must be addressed. But first, let us step back in time and go back all the way to June of 2014 in an office far far away (Summerland). We had this idea for the look of  our wines, but our collective lack of artistic ability left us at a loss. We wanted something eccentric, something polarizing, unique, weird, powerful, genuine and most of all: artistic. Through the miracle of good fortune, we were put in contact with a jovial young artist, based out of Vancouver, named Paul Morstad. Via a connection at Emily Carr,  Paul sent us an email introduction along with some examples of his work. I recall opening the first image in his email, the image we now use for ‘Ross O. & B. Yanco’ and thinking immediately ‘Oh #$&!, this solves everything’. We continued to open the attachments, and on the third image (Birds Eye View) I can recall looking at my colleague and thinking ‘You’d better like these’ and him looking at me and saying ‘I think  we have something here’. And like that, a star was born. And even more so, a winery got its image and our lovely little wines got their labels. Now this isn’t just a simple story of a couple guys reading an email and liking some pictures, as thrilling as that kind of story is. This is a story of actual destiny. For you see, Paul isn’t just a random dude who’s art we love (I mean he is, in a sense) but Paul and his art are inextricably linked to our land and our location and our ideas. After agreeing that yes, this was what we had all been dreaming of, Jesse Harnden set-off to meet the man behind such remarkable works of art; and I kid you not, both of these stories are 100% true:

  1. Paul, amongst other things, is an avid birder. One of his favourite birds is the Black Swift – the name sake to our other line of wines. The Black Swift is a rare, mysterious bird that flies higher than any other bird and lives its life mostly alone. Except when they congregate during their annual migration; a migration that leads them exclusively into British Columbia. A flock of Black Swifts is called a ‘Screaming Frenzy’ (marketing gold, and also a line of our wines). It has been Paul’s goal to see a Screaming Frenzy for years. Last year, on a cycling trip from Vancouver to Kelowna, Paul and his friends saw a Screaming Frenzy for the first time in Osoyoos. The story has it of Paul’s friend looking up at the sky, with a horrified look on his face, to which Paul asked ‘what’s wrong, you okay?’ His friend then shook with excitement, pointed to the sky behind him and uttered what is come to be our in-house motto ‘It’s a #&$#!%& SCREAMING FRENZY!!’ to which Paul turned around, took at all in and they both cracked a beer and celebrated. Two weeks after this sighting, he heard from us to commission illustrations for a winery called ‘Black Swift Vineyards’ and line of wines called ‘Screaming Frenzy’.
  2. So we get to know (and love) Paul a little more and  Jesse tells him about the project more and where it is and shows him on google maps the exact location of ‘the hatch’ here in West Kelowna. Paul looked at the map, smiled and said ‘of course I have to work with you, I almost died in that vineyard!’ It turns out, as a teenager Paul lived in West Kelowna and one wayward night, he and his friends ‘borrowed’ a car and went for a cruise around town. Driving down Boucherie Road, he took the turn a little fast and a little sharp, and the car went off the road, rolling down the embankment into the vineyard that we now own. That is to say, the vineyard that his art now adorns.

As much as we love the art, and the look it’s more than just art to us. Paul, and his art, were the last piece of the puzzle that we needed to make ‘the hatch’ what it is you see today. A place, we like to say, where many forms of art come together and are celebrated. Through our rustic shack in the Okanagan Valley, we embrace the eccentricities of grape growing, wine making, living and drinking with our unconventional, yet extraordinary endeavors.