Heidi Noble: On Starting A Winery


(lively music) – Welcome to Joie, I’m Heidi Noble, owner, operator, and wine-
maker of Joie Farm Winery. Joie started as an outdoor cooking school and gastronomic guest-
house, summer of 2003. Joie was started by a poor
cook and waiter in a farmhouse. That is a true story, it was our dream to make wine when we first
came to the Okanagan Valley. Making wine is super capitally intense as you can well imagine and we had no money. I’m a formally trained chef and sommelier, my partner at that time had
spent a lifetime in restaurants and was also a trained somm. We had both also worked in
the import wine business, so on the sage advice of Sinclair Phillip, he said, “Heidi, you need
to use what you have. The bread is in the bed.” so we opened our farmhouse,
which was sort of a late 70s brown-stained farmhouse. We gave it a quick coat of red paint, as you see now, with this new farmhouse, so that’s what this bright red is about. It was the only money
this poor cook and waiter had to make their farmhouse legit. We ran gastronomic weekends including, big long table dinners before
they were a cool thing to do, we gave outdoor cooking
classes, market tours, wine classes for four summers until we were ready to make wine. Halfway through that process, we started to rent space
at Potter Growth Winery. We had seven credit cards,
we took 90,000 dollars off in cash, made our
first vintage of wine, it was classic entrepreneurial venture, the worst way to borrow
money in the entire world. However, prior to coming here, we had both worked on the
import side of the wine business and had about 200 clients
between the two of us and with great faith and pride, a lot of our friends bought
our first vintage on spec. Vikram Vij put his credit card on the bar, said, “I will take half of your first production of Noble Blend.” John Clerides of Marquis
Wine Cellars in Vancouver took the other half, so we managed to move this very small 800
case production in two weeks. Paid back the 90,000 dollars
in cash on our credit cards, paid the speeding ticket of the privilege of interest in doing that and moved on and then in 2005, we did
something super crazy. Our 80 cases we made in
the first year of the rose, sold out like, in a phone call. So we made 1,200 cases of rose, our neighbors thought we
were crazy, like super crazy. This is back in the era of BC wine-making where people still called rose blush. They thought it was white Zinfandel, they thought it was supposed to be sweet. They thought it was garbage wine. Having worked in import and
being a French trained chef and classically trained in food and wine, I knew rose was a huge part
of European wine drinking, lunch drinking tradition. I love lunch wine. There was a huge hole in the market for dry European style quality rose. The other thing we started making was our Noble blend, our other flagship wine. Noble blend is called a Noble blend because it’s a classic
alsatian, Edlezwicker Edleswicker, translates
literally from German into English, as a ‘noble blend.’ At the time in Vancouver,
this is like early 2000s, Vancouver was in the midst of sort of its small plate revolution,
bit 942 was the hot-shit, everybody was having tampas, small plates. Can I swear on this? Right, and everybody stopped
eating their own entree, what you would get in restaurants that is a four top,
where everybody would be having a different plate and
they wanted one bottle of wine. Pacific Northwest cuisine by nature is, ingredient-driven, it’s super
Mediterranean in that sense and lots of shellfish and seafood, so aromatic germanics were a no-brainer. Unoaked Chardonany was a
no-brainer and then, rose. Favorite part of the day-to-day, well, this doesn’t get old ever. I’ve lived here, we
bought this farm in 2002. I love the aridness of the heat here, I love the way that it smells, our ambient smell here
is like ponderosa pine and sort of, rotting apples. Sounds disgusting but, really
that’s what it smells like. I love the change of
seasons and I love the fact that I work outside everyday.

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