Guest post by Danelle Wettstein
We pulled into the driveway on a sunny morning in June, dusty and rocky, lined by rows upon rows of grapevines. A house could be seen off to the left but our destination was the tasting room towards the right. We parked, admired the massive wood doors and made our way into the little building. A yellow Labrador retriever greeted us at the door in advance of the woman in the shirt stained with the colour of red grapes. Katie welcomed us with a smile and a wave, and our tasting journey had begun. Yes, Serendipity is truly everything you’d look for in an Okanagan winery.
Upon finding out we were visiting from Calgary, Katie’seyes lit up and she said, “Let me tell you my Calgary story.” A born-and-raised Calgarian, I always love a good story about my hometown so we readily listened.
“As part of our marketing strategy, Judy, the owner, went to Calgary to see how our wines would do in the Alberta market. In fact, we told her not to come back until she’d made a few sales.” This was said with a wink and a nod. “She did a tasting with a large group of restauranteurs and liquor store owners, to show off her wines and gauge what people thought of her wines. Included in the group was a gentleman who didn’t appear to be associated with any restaurant or liquor store. Judy, not being one to turn down any opportunity, included him in the tasting anyways.”
After the tasting, the gentleman at the counter stated that he’d be interested in carrying Serendipity’s Devil’s Advocate and White Lie wines. Curious, Judy asked how he had heard about this industry tasting; to her surprise, he said he was with the Calgary Stampede and was looking to stock the wines in the 2013 Co-op Wine Garden in the Western Oasis – an opportunity, indeed. The Devil’s Advocate was also chosen to be in their “Top 10 Wines for 10 Days” list. In fact, the Stampede was so taken with Serendipity that it asked Judy to be their “Canadiana Success Story” at the 2013 event.
The tale was a heartwarming one, and reinforced what the Calgary Stampede is all about. A dash of western hospitality mixed with a few parts of community and we’ve created a bond between this small winery, producing wine for less than five years, and an event over 100 years old that attracts millions of people every year. Even standing in this petite barn just outside of Naramata, B.C., sipping exceptional wines, one can’t help but be proud to hail from Calgary, with stories like these.
Find the Western Oasis, and Serendipity, in Halls D & E of the BMO Centre during the Calgary Stampede. In addition to the cool and comfortable wine garden, there are musicalentertainment and poetry, culinary demonstrations by first-class chefs, crafts of all kinds, amazing photos andbeautiful artwork to admire and purchase; a must-see on your Stampede schedule.