If you love BC wine and follow Okanagan local news and social media, chances are you’re already well aware of the latest jewel of the Westside Wine Trail – Crown & Thieves.
Located on Brown Road in West Kelowna, it is adjacent to Truck 59 Ciderhouse and offers sweeping views of Mount Boucherie and Okanagan Lake. The buzz, though, is more about its distinct style, architecture reminiscent of a castle ruin and outstanding wines. Still, that view is incredible. You even get a glimpse of Mission Hill Family Estate and its beloved bell tower.
At the risk of sounding like a groupie, I was intrigued from the beginning. Since its inception, the hatch was a breath of fresh air offering a completely laidback approach to experiencing wine in the Okanagan. At the hatch nest, a number of wine brands incubated including Black Swift Vineyards (Recently opened its own iconic tasting room on Boucherie Road, see Black Swift post.), Screaming Frenzy, Gobsmacked, Talking Stories, and Crown & Thieves.
Jason Parkes (Jason Parkes Customs) – winemaker and musician – is the visionary behind these innovative designs. To call him a Renaissance man is an understatement and he has brought his many talents to enhance our experience. He jokes Crown & Thieves was an expansion of his concept to create a cool place for his band, Proper Man, to practice and perform. Accordingly, you’ll find a Speakeasy on the lower level achieves that goal. Once events return, you’ll be able to listen to “new wave meets punk sugar tunes” while enjoying libations. Here’s where ghosts of Prohibition meet old world and merge the theme “Made by Scoundrels, Sipped by Royalty”.
We were lucky to spend time with Jason himself to enjoy his humour, sly wit and insights.
Parkes has gathered a merry band of scoundrels to assist him in making those wines and creating welcoming environments to taste them. For example, the talented Shannon Forgues is featured in the role of “Jane of all Trades”. She organizes the various tasting rooms and has been instrumental in bringing in a delightful team to introduce you to the array of wines.
Thieves extract the best of the barrels to create the wines and those royalty that get to sip them are you and me. Don’t let the playful presentation confuse you: These wines are seriously good and reviews by acclaimed wine experts are highly favourable. The 2014 NV Scoundrel’s Punch received 92 points by Natalie MacLean. SavorNW gave the Merlot 92 points and a gold in 2019. The Roussanne Viognier was awarded a bronze medal by Wine Align in 2019.
When my husband and I visited, we were enthralled by the tour of the facility by Reg and Sean. It is comparable to visiting a museum or private showing of eclectic collectibles – a union of antiques and creative replicas.
Ali led an exemplary tasting and managed to balance a sudden rush of wine enthusiasts while training new staff.
While our journeys have been cut short during the Covid-19 pandemic, a visit to Crown & Thieves is a trip to another dimension. Can’t wait for our return engagement. Those rascals stole our hearts!