What started as a first conversation on a houseboat along the Shuswap became a fruitful marriage and business. The Krouzels founded 50th Parallel Estate Winery, one of the Okanagan’s largest wineries in one of the best viticultural regions in the world. They’re excited to connect people and place with each glass of Pinot.
After some lakeside contemplation, self-professed Glamour Farmers, Curtis Krouzel and Sheri-Lee Turner-Krouzel took the plunge to build their “slice of heaven,” 50th Parallel Estate Winery, on a 61-acre estate in Lake Country, north of Kelowna.
“The Central Okanagan provides one of the most diverse regions in the world in which to produce world-class wines and boasts uncompromised beauty and complementary tourism experiences that draw guests from around the world,” says Krouzel.
The couple hand planted the winery’s first 10 acres of vines in 2009. Krouzel used his engineering background to improve the process by designing a planting machine that was able to navigate difficult slopes on the property. From there, the team took on the challenge of growing notoriously difficult Pinot Noir grapes and went all-in with the varietal. In fact, it is the only red wine produced onsite, making up about 35% of the winery’s production.
In 2020, 50th Parallel launched its Glamour Farming canned wine, aligning with consumer trends and offering a more sustainable, fully recyclable option.
50th Parallel’s original winery was expanded by 15,000 square feet in 2018. The architecturally stunning space includes a tasting room, flexible indoor-outdoor space for banquets and events, and BLOCK ONE Restaurant, which made OpenTable’s list of Top 100 Restaurants in Canada for 2021.
“Let’s be honest, there is no lakefront city in the world like Kelowna. We are not an emerging international destination… we have arrived.”
In addition to helping source and secure meetings and conferences, Krouzel notes that Tourism Kelowna’s team “was very helpful in the early years, helping bring influencers and media to the winery to spread the word about our up-and-coming new business.”
“We have managed to achieve our goals of building a place where people want to come and visit and experience our wines, and most importantly we have built an incredible team that we are proud to
call our 50th family.”