Winemaker Jason Parkes of The Hatch Winery
3225 Boucherie Road
It was not long after The Hatch wine shop opened on June 1
that a buzz developed about this winery.
A fellow wine writer who visited told me this was the most
fun he had had in a tasting room in a long time.
“The Hatch tasting room is a very high energy place, very
raw,” says winemaker Jason Parkes. “People love the place.”
If you did not visit The Hatch this season, you can still
experience the unbuttoned and edgy vibe of the place by reading the winery’s
website and by studying the exuberant labels on its wines. This represents the
clever and imaginative mind of general manager Jesse Harnden. The wines measure up very well.
The Hatch is one of two wineries operated by Terrabella
Wineries, a holding company based in Summerland. (The other is Perseus Winery
It is based on a vineyard that Terrabella purchased in 2013, just north of
Quails’ Gate Estate winery. The 15 acres of vines include Pinot Blanc, Pinot
Noir and Gamay.
Originally, this winery was to be called Helios until a
conflict was found with another brand. The owners then came up with Black Swift
Vineyards, named for a high-flying migratory bird. Flocks of black swifts are
called screaming frenzies.
In the course of refining the brand, The Hatch emerged as
the winery’s name with Black Swift and Screaming Frenzy becoming brands within
The Hatch portfolio.
Some of the branding decisions evolved from the work of Paul
Morstad, a Vancouver
artist whose style recalls the legendary Ralph Steadman. The latter is the
British cartoonist well known for the labels he created for Bonny Doon
Vineyard. (His irreverent label for a wine called Cardinal Zin caused the wine
to be banned in Ohio.)
Jesse Harnden happens to admire the Bonny Doon vibe. He was receptive
when Morstad was recommended to create some labels for The Hatch. Jesse was
floored by the string of coincidences that unravelled subsequently, beginning
with the fact that the artist grew up in West Kelowna
It turned out that Morstad already had what you might call
an intimate connection to the vineyard that supports The Hatch. When he was an
undisciplined sixteen-year-old, Morstad went drinking with friends. When they
ran out of beer, he “borrowed” his father’s truck to get more. On the way back,
he managed to flip the truck end over end three times. Miraculously, he was
uninjured. A neighbour hid the beer and convinced the police that Morstad was a
The ironic coincidence is that the truck had come to rest in
what is now the vineyard at The Hatch.
“This was meant to be!” Harnden says of his decision to use
Morstad’s art on The Hatch Wines.
Harnden’s creative marketing combined with Morstad’s images
to spawn wine packaging that gets consumers talking and chuckling (although
without the irreverence of Cardinal Zin).
An octopus swimming in what Morstad says is Champagne fostered the
label for The Hatch ‘Octobubble’ Brut Rosé.
The image of a torso topped with a nest and an egg adorns two house
wines – a white blend called B. Yanko and a red blend called Ross O. For two
other blends labelled Dynasty – a big white and a big red – an elephant appears
on the labels of the unusually squat bottles.
And several wines use images from a Morstad painting that
The inspiration from Morstad just kept rolling along. A hobo
hut from the painting served as the design model for the deliberately rustic
The Hatch vineyard fronts on high-traffic Boucherie Road, a strategic location
because there are six other wineries on, or close to, that road. There was an
early plan for a grand Hatch facility on the road as well. But when economic
reality got in the way, it was decided to renovate old barns or tractor sheds
at the rear of the vineyard.
The resulting wine shop echoes the unrestrained art of the
labels. Doors are salvaged from an old mansion; the ceiling is salvaged from an
old building; the interior walls are salvaged wood from a Vernon
barn. It would be hard to find a
tasting room with more personality.
Jason Parkes, the winemaker, is a
perfect fit with the vibe of The Hatch. He once was the leader of a “spacepunk”
rock band from Kitimat called Glasshead. When music was not paying the bills, a
vineyard job at Hainle Vineyards led to a flourishing career as a consulting
winemaker. He now makes wines for many of his clients from First Estate Winery
near Peachland, which he leases.
Here are notes on the wines at
The Hatch and its partner labels. Some are small lot wines and will be sold out
after a very successful season in the wine shop.
The Hatch B. Yanco 2013 ($13.99). This is a blend of 70% Pinot
Blanc and 30% Viognier. The wine begins with aromas of apple and stone fruit,
leading to flavours of apple and peach. The wine is refreshing and crisp on the
The Hatch Ross O 2012 ($15.99). This is 92% Pinot Noir, 8% Gamay.
It is full of bright cherry flavours and aromas. 87.
The Hatch Muscat 2014 Hobo Series ($21.99). This is a good dry Muscat, with spice on the
nose and spicy citrus flavours. 88.
The Hatch Sémillon 2014 Hobo Series ($21.99). The wine begins with
aromas of citrus and banana and delivers grapefruit flavours. The texture is
The Hatch Gamay 2013 Hobo Series ($21.99). This is a light, cheery
Gamay with aromas of strawberries and flavours of strawberry and cherry. 88.
The Hatch Octobubble Brut Rosé ($27.99). This is a traditional
method sparkling wine with Gamay grapes. Tangy and fresh, the wine has
appealing aromas and flavours of wild strawberry. 91
The Dynasty White 2013 ($29.99). This is a blend of equal parts of
Pinot Gris, Viognier and Chardonnay. The varietals were fermented in barrels
but were aged in stainless steel barrels. The wine is rich and buttery on the
palate, with flavours of pear, pineapple and mango. There is a touch of spice
on the finish. 90.
The Dynasty Red 2013 ($39.99). This is 70% Merlot and 15% each
Malbec and Syrah. The wine is bold, with concentrated flavours of red berries,
plums and black currants. There is a hint of pepper on the finish, along with
black coffee and chocolate. 91.
Hatchchild 2012 ($33.33). The sheep on the label inspired the
punning name for what is a pretty serious wine. It is Cabernet Sauvignon, with
grapes from Inkameep Vineyard’s legendary U2 block. It is an elegant wine with
ripe tannins and aromas and flavours of cassis and plum. 90.
Screaming Frenzy Sauvignon Blanc
2014 ($16.99). This Sancerre style Sauvignon Blanc has appealing aromas and
flavours of lime, lemon and herbs, with a crisp, tangy finish. 90.
Screaming Frenzy Pinot Noir 2013
($21.99). The wine begins with aromas of cherry and spice. On the palate,
the wine is a bowl full of strawberries. The texture is juicy. 89.
Screaming Frenzy Meritage 2013
($22.99). This is 60% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot. Full on the palate, the wine
is almost porty in the ripeness of the aromas and flavours. 89.
Black Swift Chardonnay 2013 ($40). This is a full-bore voluptuous
Chardonnay fermented in puncheons. It has flavours of citrus, butterscotch and
cloves with a lingering and rich finish. 91.
Black Swift Merlot 2013
($45). This is another big red aged 18 months
in oak. It has flavours of black currant, black cherry and vanilla, with notes
of chocolate, tobacco and cedar on the finish. 90.