Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Day At Elephant Island Winery!

Welcome to Elephant Island Orchard Wines...
There are no elephants and there is no island but the vanguard spirit does rein supreme here.

Classic wine making traditions fused with a dose of fun, a passion for fresh, local fruit and a love of challenge are the foundations of our wine portfolio.

Wines to amuse and to amaze...
Expect the unexpected and prepare for a flavor voyage!

~From The Elephant Island Website

A Day at Elephant Island Winery, 11x14" Ink on Watercolour paper, June 2011

This spring, I was hanging out in Cafe Nevermatters (known to me as Angelo's Coffee shop) when I had the pleasure of finally meeting Miranda Halliday face to face. Miranda's name has popped across my computer screen several times since returning to Canada since she is firmly committed to supporting the community of Naramata and other charities in various ways. (For Instance, Elephant Island Winery has a line of $25 bottle of champagne for sale, where 100% of the proceeds go to the Children's Hospital of BC. How could you not buy a bottle? I did!)

Miranda's grandmother was an architect and built this funky little house on the property she bought as a retirement investment. Miranda's Grandfather was convinced the property was a 'white elephant" hence the name "Elephant Island Winery. Even though the day I visited the winery the discorging was happening in the parking lot, I really wanted to paint this little building!

Miranda had seen my work in few charity auctions, and so she invited me up to Elephant Island Winery, (which she owns and runs with her husband Del), to see how some of the ways their fruit wine is made at Elephant Island. Luckily, my time in Naramata coincided with the rather exciting process of discorging. (Removing the sediment from the aged wine in barrels and moving it to bottles for a longer fermentation period. See? I'm learning!)

The dosaging of the wine- (say this word like you are French- dosaaaaging!)

So I spent a little time watching the dosaging and discorging of Elephant Islands' latest 'Pink Elephant' Champagne. I quickly ran around and snapped some photos of things I'd need later for information for a painting, and one of the girls working on dosaging (adding cassis to the apple wine with the syringe) happily explained what they were doing. It looked like a pretty fun process and she explained it enthusiastically! I didn't want to be underfoot for too long, otherwise I would have paparrazi-ed the place. I love that Elephant Island is a small family run business and still do things in small scale assembly lines. (Love that machinery too!)

I love the wine puddles!! I didn't paint them in this time, but maybe next time!

1. The bottles are first hooked up to a machine which pumps them full for sparkling apple wine. Then the workers add cassis with the syringe- often through a funnel because the wine tends to bubble over when the cassis is added. This makes big wine puddles everywhere!

For some reason I think it's totally appropriate that Elephant Island uses pinkish coloured machines.
This is Del, Miranda's husband, manning the machine.

2. Next the bottle are corked on the big pink machine.

3. After the corking, another little machine adds the wires that will hold the champagne cork in place.

4. The corked bottle is shoved into the holes of the next tiny box machine to add the foil that will cover the wire and the cork.

5. The newly bottled Pink Elephant wine is placed into wine boxes to be sold to people like me!

I'm excited about doing reflections in water!

It looked like so much fun that I wanted to get on some boots and rubber gloves and just be part of the fun.

On a personal note, I love Elephant Island wine, which is entirely made of fruit. Not only does it taste amazing, it's completely different from grape wine, so I love the fun of it. The blackberry wine is amazing! The dessert wines are awesome. But Elephant Island uses fruit exclusively, so this Okanagan girl is excited that there are still plenty of orchards around Elephant Island so the cherry trees of my youth are still around! Yay fruit!

The three bottles of wine my friend Eric bought on a subsequent trip to Elephant Island.

This painting will be made into prints and will be available through Cafe Nevermatters and Elephant Island Winery once I am organised (by the end of this week!) I'lll update this blog once I have more information.

Thanks again, Miranda!
Link to All things

Until then, I am just getting everything organized for the Cafe NeverMatters show, which will be hung on July 1st or 2nd.

See you there!



  1. This has entered my top 3 favorite paintings of yours. I think you've been wanting to do something with this subject matter for quite a while now! Bravo! Beautiful!

  2. As a buyer of wine, sometimes soley, on the basis of my attraction to the label, I give my stamp of approval on Eric's wine purchases! I love the painting too!