Penticton Indian Band Coun. Joseph Pierre (centre) with Play Estate Winery partner and general manager Mohamad Awad (left) and president of Stage West Hospitality and Play Estate Winery Jason Pechet on the winery deck when it opened last year. Mark Brett/Western News

A Play-ful year at new winery

Play Winery’s upcoming one-year anniversary is the beginning of a flourishing winery, management says

A Penticton winery is celebrating its first anniversary with a party.

Play Winery opened up in the Skaha Hills area on June 9, 2016, and is set to hold its anniversary party on Friday, one year to the day.

“It’s our first wine club party that’s open to the public with ticket sales,” said Katrina D’Costa, spokesperson for Play Winery. “We’ll be having wine and food pairings with all the new releases and we’ll also be doing some art show, gift baskets, auctions and we have live music and a sensory area downstairs in the barrel hall.”

That live music will be coming from local harpist Ingrid Schellenburg, while artist Dorothy Tinnings provides artworks for display.

Related: Play among the view at Penticton’s newest winery

With a year under their belt, the winery expects to be expanding its productions, with D’Costa noting that the winery is low on nearly all of its wines.

“We produced approximately 4,000 cases in 2016 but due to demand and the popularity of our wine club, we anticipate production of 8,000 cases in 2017,” Play Winery founder Jason Pechet said in a news release.

That growth is expected to continue, with 12,000 cases expected to be produced in 2020, according to D’Costa, which means slower growth following the second year.

“We wanted to do a stagger, just for the sole purpose that we are new and we want to see where our sales are hitting for the couple years and just kind of grow with our sales,” D’Costa said. “We’re thinking that 12,000 by that point is very doable for us.”

While expanding production, D’Costa said expanding the types of wine produced won’t be expanded for at least a little while, but the winery will be keeping an eye on sales and “seeing where it takes us.”

Now a year into the winery, D’Costa says there have been some lessons to be learned from their experience.

“It’s been a lot more interesting, because we’re not on the Naramata Bench, where traffic is heavy, and you’re guaranteed sales,” she said. “We’ve had to really draw a name for ourselves, which has come from a lot of local support.”

D’Costa added that despite missing much of the Naramata Bench traffic, there are some advantages to being the only winery in the Skaha Hills area.

“It’s kind of given us our own standard to set,” she said. “We’ve been able to make our own name for ourselves without having everyone surrounding us pushing us towards a certain goal.”

About 150 people have reserved spots at the party, so far, with space for 300, but D’Costa says with friends and family expected to come and further ticket sales, the winery is expecting to see close to capacity at the event.

“We were going to keep this just a smaller-style party for wine club and a couple friends and family, and it grew substantially in just the planning phase,” D’Costa said. “I think we’ve had some pretty good feedback from it, so far.”

The party will start at 3 p.m., with tickets still available for $25.

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