VOICE 147 - Kyle Herrewynen
at Blind Tiger Vineyards

"There is definitely quality over quantity. There is a quality in people that work here. There is a quality in wine that ties into an organic winery. We are not some winery that cycles people through. We are meant to come, sit and enjoy the view, and have a drink!"
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Blind Tiger Winery is a family-owned and operated vineyard in the heart of Lake Country. As you arrive, you meet a black blind tiger statue in the driveway, free-roaming chickens and dogs, and the smiley faces of the winery staff. The first grapes were planted in 2010 when Jerry and Charlene Wowchuk acquired the property. Ever since they have been steadily growing certified organic grapes of Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gewürztraminer, and their business.

You can easily enjoy spending extra time at Blind Tiger because they offer much more than wine. There is a rustic organic vegetable garden, a full-scale wood-fire pizza kitchen, and a whole dog menu for furry family members! Every Friday during the summer, they host a live in the vineyard by local artists and Canadian bands.

Blind Tiger is all about having a good time with family and animals. There is nothing pretentious about this winery. They are genuine and organic, and the "kick off your shoes and lay back" kind of feeling you get at Bling Tiger is something rare in much hyped-up Okanagan winery scenes these days. Honesty and friendliness are definitely the essences of their quality wines and tasting experience.

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VOICE (V): Where did the name Blind Tiger come from?

Kyle(K): "The name comes from one of the terms for speakeasy lounge bars operated in the United States during the Prohibition era. It was also often used as a code to go out drinking. People go, 'buy a ticket to see a blind tiger', and that was the code to go out drinking. In the Prohibition era, they would have a statue at the entrance and put a blindfold on it. When you saw a blindfold on the statue, it meant no one was watching, and it was safe to come in and drink."

V: What makes Blind Tiger Vineyards unique?

K: "I find many B.C. wineries have a level of poshness, but we are a little bit more laid back and casual. We don't try to be another type of winery. We are a chill B.C. winery, and with that mindset is how we approach things. The organic aspect is very important as well. We are proud to say that we use 100% organic grapes in our wines. We avoid using any herbicides and pesticides. Natural fertilizers are used to maintain ideal soil nutrient profiles. A flock of chickens roams in the vineyard performing pest control duties.
We are very much animal lovers here. That is why we launched the whole dog menu this year in July. Our Marno's Neapolitan-style handcrafted pizzas by chef Morgan, the owner of Marno’s Woodfire Pizza, are also what we are known for. (Closed for the season as of August 29th, 2022) She makes everything from scratch. Another big promotion is our wine slushies. It is a blend of Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer with syrup turned into slushies. We serve them from May through October, and it is very popular, especially on hot summer days!"

V: How did you get into the wine business?

K: "I am originally from Abbotsford, working in purchasing and the agricultural sector. I have lived in Okanagan for many summers so I decided to move here in February this year, and am new to this winery. I enjoy the process and all the efforts that go into winemaking. The reason why I was drawn to this winery is because there are a lot of layers and depth within the wines, and there is a lot of subtlety that comes from the wines, which I enjoy. At Blind Tiger, it is very LGBTQ friendly, honest, open approach to management, and dog friendly!"

 

V: What is the biggest joy in your work?

K: "Dogs! I am really a dog person! Aside from that, I get to meet and interact with all different kinds of people who come through."

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

K: "One of my favorites is Pinot Gris. I have gone to other wineries, but I have never tasted as good Pinot Gris as this one, not to say nearly same-priced. It is like drinking a fresh glass of peach. It is very fresh and crisp. I would say any of our Marno's pizzas goes really well!"

V: How do you find the Lake Country winemaker community?

K: " We love being a part of the Scenic Sip Trail in Lake Country, so if you are in the area, the participating wineries will give you a pamphlet and a stamp. Turn it into any of the wineries, and we do a draw twice a year. Everyone contributes to a bottle of wine or two, and a winner gets a free case of wines from all those different wineries!"