One of the best highlights of the Okanagan in 2015's busy summer season has been the evolution of JoieFarm Winery that brought us to its newly opened "farmgate", where Heidi Noble and team share their food driven wines paired alongside their new offering of culinary delights from the meaningfully built kitchen of Heidi's farmlife vision.
To give the great evolution some context I'm sharing a little of the JoieFarm history.
Heidi Noble grew up in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. She's a Canadian girl irresistibly drawn to BC for its extraordinary proximity to nature and the bounty of the west coast.
JoieFarm's first vintage year was 2004 - made by rented space at Poplar Grove Winery. Let's go back a bit further...
Heidi went to the Stratford Chef’s school in Stratford Ontario and first trained in the kitchen of Toqué, Montreal where Chef Normand Laprise inspired her with his very early connection with a farm-to-table mentality and his cooking with the seasons driving the kitchen philosophy.
When Heidi moved to BC in 1998, as a chef she was naturally drawn to wine. After certification with the International Sommeliers Guild she worked as a Sommelier and then progressed in to wine import and export, but then she came back to craft- the art of winemaking became her focus. Heidi worked with winemakers Paul Gardner and Dwight Sick while working at Poplar Grove and Pentâge Wineries.
In 2003 after experiencing and witnessing the awesomeness of bounty, from the orchards, farms, vineyards and notably, the Penticton Farmers’ Market, Heidi and partner Michael Dinn moved to the Okanagan, specifically choosing Naramata for its sheer beauty, protected agricultural land it’s lake-moderated potential for making incredible wine. JoieFarm first opened that year, running as a cooking school and guesthouse, not so much the standard tasting room model of a winery you'd expect from a wine story. They made their first vintage, a 2004, in rented space at Poplar Grove. 2006 was their last year running JoieFarm as a cooking school and guesthouse.
Heidi wrote a cookbook and storybook, ‘Menus from an Orchard Table” that contains literal stories and essays of the growing pains of the early years through JoieFarm Winery’s growth to producing their first real vintage of wine. ‘Menus’ also reflects a diary of culinary exploration of a new region and new ingredients to which Heidi applied classical chef’s training. Heidi comments that she grew a lot as a cook, cooking in the Okanagan for four years.
As the winery’s beautiful wines grew in popularity their production volumes rose and the demand for Heidi’s sole attention in the winemaking realm dominated. The cooking school closed and Heidi, her husband Michael and the team ran the winery without a tasting room. Preferring to self represent their wines, not hand over the sales to a wine rep or distribution company, the duo did all of the sales of their wines, which were well received in the restaurant world of Canada where Heidi and Michael’s roots both are.
Heidi with husband Michael Dinn had their first son Theo in May 2010. In 2015, Heidi and husband Michael Dinn amicably decided to part their marriage and business relationship. The business is now owned solely by Heidi Noble and she has brought back the food component to her vision of wines made for food. She opened a tasting room and restaurant at the “farmhouse” in the early summer of 2015 where the “picnique” is endearingly received by the Okanagan community and tourists relishing the opportunity to sprawl on a blanket under the sun, or in the shade of a tree eating the marvellously wine paired pizza, charcuterie and other culinary treats with her decidedly alsatian styled wines. Heidi brings in food trucks, and unique events and performers to further deepen the culture and commitment to the "terroir".
Adding the food component of the Joie Picnique allows Heidi to present food driven wines, based on very classical, old world wine traditions in context.
Her primary motivation to evolve to this new model of winery, tasting room and restaurant is that she wants to provide an authentic wine touring experience for visitors to the area and locals alike.
JoieFarm Winery is internationally renowned for their aromatic white wine making, mouth-watering rosé and award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. JoieFarm’s wine making philosophy is to make the best naturally balanced wines possible, defined by their freshness and intensity of fruit.
JoieFarm is an active participant in an emerging food and wine culture on the West Coast of Canada. It is our goal to promote and further define the harmony between food and wine in the Okanagan, as well as making sure the wines of the Okanagan Valley help bring to maturity West Coast cuisine, each defining the other, as they evolve. JoieFarm wishes to actively promote the potential of aromatic white wines, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as being the signature of our cool-climate winemaking region.
Why is it called Joie FARM? At JoieFarm Heidi and team aim to make vineyard-based wines from the ground up and believe the fundamentals of great wine begin in the vineyard. All of the farm sites, long term vineyard leases and the families that grow for JoieFarm are integral to the wine and brand.
Find JoieFarm on the Naramata Bench and enjoy the 'picnique' bliss they share with great food, wine and people. Look at their TFG page for contact details and address :)