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Painted Rock Estate Winery-Building a Legacy Family Business
And a new tasting room this summer…
Spring 2013 Sneak Peak
written by Chytra Brown
Painted Rock Estate Winery proprietor, John Skinner is beaming with enthusiasm. His pursuit of perfection in a bottle has proved a worthwhile endeavor. But he’s not stopping there. Painted Rock will be opening a new tasting room this summer and Skinner is eager to share his wines and the gorgeous vistas of the Painted Rock vineyard site.
Scouting for a suitable vineyard site that would meet all of his criteria and work within his business model took some time. But what he found was a gem! The vineyard site was once the largest apricot orchard in B.C. The facets of the lakeside terroir, with its breezy climate and silty lake soil, was and is “the ideal location for a vineyard for the types of varietals we wanted to plant, and the types of quality single varietal wine I had in mind” said Skinner.
The mandate to ensure that the winery produced quality wines made for an easy decision to source clones from Bordeaux. The property was planted in 2005. The first harvest for Painted Rock was in 2007 and the first vintage in 2009. The site produces 25 acres of gorgeous fruit including, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot, malbec, merlot and syrah. When asked about his wines and the industry in general, Skinner is not shy to state, “It’s all about quality.” He set out to build something of permanence and provide a legacy for his children.
The decision to invest in a winery was a natural fit for Skinner. “I’ve always been a wine guy”, he says when asked why he chose the industry. “Buying a winery seemed like the right business path and it was a good time to get into the B.C. industry, just as it was beginning to boom”. Having spent his career in the financial sector really grounded Skinner and gave him a solid business foundation, which he carries over into the operations at Painted Rock. Early on in the project, Skinner assembled his team of trustworthy advisors. “We have a very talented team and we work well together”. The Painted Rock team includes acclaimed French winemaker Alain Suture, Barry Green who looks after the vines and cellar master Gabriel Reis.
When asked about the winery namesake, and the history and significance of the winery site, Skinner stated, “my father was an archeologist, Painted Rock refers to the pictographs on the property. As a child I often accompanied him on digs.” According to Skinner, the name, Painted Rock was a way to honour his father’s legacy and, at the same time, to show respect for the local native band who created the painted rocks. “It’s a karma thing!” stated Skinner.
Moving Painted Rock forward
Skinner will admit that initially, selling his wines proved to be an exercise in trust.
With price points set for quality which range from $30–$55 a bottle, he quickly realized there was some skepticism about the quality of B.C. wine. He had to pour a lot of Red Icon (Painted Rock’s signature red) in order to close a sale. Today, he can’t seem to keep enough of it around to meet the demand.
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