Life in the time of Covid

Well, here we are, more than a year after news of a Covid-19 pandemic rocked the world and started us all wondering how this all might play out. Last April, then through May and June, we scrambled to make the necessary adaptations so that we could keep our customers–and ourselves–safe. And, if in anyone really needs a reminder, we had the chilliest, dampest spring in recent memory.

Our pavilion has a roof!

But cope we did, and patience paid off. The weather turned nice in early July, we moved the tasting tables outdoors, under the protection of the winery building’s eaves, and customers poured in. What had begun as a genuine struggle turned into our best year ever, and we were especially thrilled to see so many new faces from around the Kootenays. It’s easy when you live in a beautiful region to take it for granted, and many of us took up the habit of making day trips to other part of the Kootenays. The rewards were great, and we were reminded that any change of scenery feeds the soul. l suspected at the time that the bump in Kootenay visitors was sustainable, and that is already playing out early this year. We are routinely greeting guests that we met last year.

“We couldn’t do our usual winter travel, so now we are making shorter trips around the Kootenays and BC Interior,” has become a common sentiment. For Crestonites, even the snowbirds, travel has become much closer to home, and we get reports about how lovely the trips are, many involving only a couple hours of driving and eliminating the sour taste that often results from airplane travel. No passports, no security, no struggles with a different language–even new hotel experiences can be a joy. Angela and I have discovered, after all these years, the wonderful Elizabeth Lake Lodge in Cranbrook. Much of our personal travel means (meant?) driving to Calgary to see our sons and their families, and other family members and friends. We don’t need to stay overnight in Cranbrook for those visits. But now we are happy to just drive an hour east for a change of scenery and new faces (or masks!) and then spend the night in our new-found haven.

As we move toward summer, we here at the winery have taken pleasure at seeing a beautiful project unfolding. Carpenter Dave Jackson has put a roof on our pavilion, and just this week wrapped up the finishing touches. Adding protection from the rain will certainly help with summer events, and the space will still be available for guest who want to enjoy some wine and food here on the property.

And there is more to look forward to as well. Each Thursday through Sunday beginning later this month we will have a food truck on site, and on some special evenings, like Wine Down Fridays, the truck will be open after the winery kitchen closes (our popular selection of charcuterie will be back before the long weekend). Stay tuned for more details in the next week or two!

Like all businesses that include farming, ours is one that fueled by optimism. We are excited to see new and old friends return and to continue to prove that the Creston Valley is a mighty fine growing region. We know how good our wines are; we get feedback every day, despite the weather challenges in the last two harvests. As I write this on a Thursday afternoon, it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood, there are people enjoying a snack and Recolte Blanche on the back patio, and I am filled with hope that it will remain that way for the next 4 or 5 months!

–Lorne Eckersley, May 13, 2021