Lifestyle series captures Wine Country

A new lifestyle series about the Okanagan's wine country is looking to get picked up by cable TV.

Kenton Gilchrist

A music composer-turned TV producer is raising a glass to a new show that he’s hoping will lead to greater exposure for the wine industry and a new reality-type series.

Kenton Gilchrist is the writer and director for Ventures in Wine Country, which will provide viewers with an inside look at three Okanagan wineries: Covert Farms, Painted Rock Estate Winery and a yet-to-be named winery in West Kelowna.

For this project, he has partnered with John Hunwick and together they have formed the company, Asymetriq, which is a post-production operation that covers film, TV and other forms of media.

Gilchrist said his adventure into capturing some of the faces and personalities at these wineries began when his wife took a teaching job in Osoyoos a couple of years ago. He’d just started a post-production media company, and was in conversation with someone when they planted a seed in Gilchrist’s mind, saying they couldn’t recall any shows that had been  also produced that explored the Okanagan’s wine industry.

“As we settled into the community, we started meeting with people who owned wineries, and realized there were some really interesting people,” said Gilchrist. “At the time, I was probably more of a wine guy than a TV producer.”

However, the former musician who was born with an entrepreneurial spirit, and who had already made a name for himself scoring music for videos and independent B.C. films, was anxious to set off in a new direction.

Gilchrist began capturing footage of the three wineries in November of 2013.

“Originally, we developed it to the point where there were enough interested parties, so we started putting it together as a trailer,” he said, noting he didn’t have any expectations as to what might happen. “The process for pitching to TV networks can be pretty arduous.”

However, he realized as he was meeting with people and compiling footage, that he also had all of the key elements to make an interesting story.

The concept of Ventures in Wine Country is for the show to be a “lifestyle series” that covers wine-making from “grape to glass,”  and not a reality series, which Gilchrist notes a variety of plot elements are used to pique and retain a viewer’s interest in the show.

Instead, he prefers to utilize the captivating personalities and entertaining stories as the ingredients for a great story and that’s what he’s focusing on, as opposed to using footage of people swearing or fighting with each other as part of a storyline.

“I think there’s enough in the process of winemaking, from the planting, to the different types of soils, to the harvest and the bottling process to provide an interesting story,” he said. “The added benefits are, it sells the wine culture and all of the beautiful vistas that are showcased in this area.”

Funding for the pilot episode came from Telus Optik, and the trailer is currently airing on Telus community programming and on the Telus website.

Asymetriq will continue to shoot and independently produce up to eight episodes which will become part of season one. At the same time, Gilchrist will continue trying to generate interest to pick up season two of the show from cable networks, such as The Food Network.

Gilchrist has also been meeting with owners of a few other wineries with the goal of expanding and adding some new faces to the show, and will also be at a variety of wine events capturing footage for upcoming episodes.

After a long career in the music industry, he welcomes the shift to another facet of the entertainment industry.

“It’s nice to get out and have an excuse and do something different,” said Gilchrist.