A Lower Mainland restaurateur and sommelier has purchased a Naramata Bench winery and dozens of vineyard acreages throughout the Okanagan Valley.
JoieFarm Winery, established in 2004, has changed hands from co-founder and executive winemaker Heidi Noble to Alistair Veen and partners.
Veen is the owner & chef of South Surrey’s Tap Restaurant, which opened in 2007. He has received the Advanced Sommelier designation from the Court of Master Sommeliers and was named Best Sommelier of BC in 2016.
“After witnessing the sales of several prominent Okanagan wineries to larger corporations, we felt that it was important to maintain the integrity of an independent, family-run business. We’re local small business owners and we care about our community,” Veen said.
The JoieFarm team will remain intact in the transition. General manager BJ Tumanut and winemaker and cellarmaster Karl Duda will stay on, and the winery has also added winemaker Richard Charnock, formerly of Pentâge Winery on the Skaha Bench, to work with Duda on a growing viticulture program.
Along with the purchase of the winery and the four-acre vineyard property on-site, the new owners have purchased an additional 62 acres of vines throughout the Okanagan Valley, with plans to invest even further in acquiring estate vineyard properties.
“We know that the most crucial element of quality wine production is the source of the fruit itself,” said Veen.
“The commitment to farming our own vineyards is what excited me most about joining JoieFarm,” said Charnock, adding, “Investing in vineyard land not only ensures we can maintain the quality of the current wines people love from JoieFarm, but also elevate them over time.”
Tumanut added, “Continuity is important to us, but so is growth. We’re excited to build on the amazing foundation that Heidi established as we continue to invest in our vineyards, our community, and our people.”