Viticulture

Off The Grid Organic Winery

Paynting a sustainable picture

BC’s oldest and Canada’s most internationally awarded distillery, Okanagan Spirits is the first farm-to-flask distillery in Western Canada since the days of prohibition.

For more than 100 years, farmers in the Paynter family have worked the same plot of land in West Kelowna. Today, brothers Nigel and Travis Paynter, along with their wives, Sheri—one of a growing group of female winemakers in the region—and Hayley (plus numerous family members who are employed full time) practice sustainable farming on the land to grow grapes that are made into premium, organic wine.

The Paynter’s founded Off the Grid Organic Winery, which is certified through the Pacific Agricultural Certification Society, in 2015. Now producing about 2,500 cases of wine per year, Off the Grid was the sixth winery in BC to have both its grapes and wines certified as organic. But producing amazing organic wine is just one facet of Off the Grid’s existence.

True to its name, Off the Grid is committed to its sustainability efforts in all aspects of its operation. The wineshop was built out of straw bales, which offer double the insulation value compared to a standard build, and has solar panels on the roof to power the wineshop. Its unobstructed views of Okanagan Lake and permaculture-in-action operation make it a must-stop destination for tourists and wine enthusiasts.

In addition to wine tastings, locals and visitors alike are also welcomed for yoga classes, live music, and fundraising events for the BC SPCA. A visit with the winery’s flock of rescue animals, including goats, who can explore and play up on the wineshop roof, sheep, and chickens, round out the guest experience and their grazing also helps eliminate weeds.

When asked about the future of the business, Nigel says his goal is to keep the winery and vineyard going for another 100 years.

“Success for us is being able to educate people on sustainable farming practices, and of course, selling out of wine.”

“The wine industry in the entire Okanagan has been so welcoming. Every winemaker looks to help one another, not just in starting [a winery] but constantly with ideas and tips should any problems arise.”