VANCOUVER — Christine Coletta, owner of Okanagan Crush Pad, has been honoured with the 2019 Trailblazer Award by the B.C. Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier during the Where to Dine Awards celebration.
The award honours exceptional women in B.C. who have blazed a trail and explored new territory. The award also celebrates those who have included others along their journey and/or provided a pathway to inspire others in their own careers.
Coletta has been internationally recognized for her work in the wine industry throughout the past 25 years and has recently been called the “Godmother of British Columbia Wine” in recognition of the breadth of her contributions and innovations to the food and wine community.
Upon accepting her award, Coletta shared, “…you can’t blaze a trail unless you have people in front of you clearing the path, people behind you pushing you along and people filling your gas tank from time to time.”
Coletta’s career started in the hospitality industry, where she spent several years working in management roles in Vancouver-based restaurants and hotels. She went on to work in restaurant development and oversaw the opening, marketing and management of many successful fine-dining establishments before forming her own consulting firm. Coletta worked on several provincial and federal government initiatives and was part of the industry team that created behind the creation and marketing of Serving it Right training program, which is now recognized as a key training tool for the B.C. hospitality trade.
In 1990, she held the position of executive director to the then newly formed British Columbia Wine Institute (BCWI) for nine years. While at the BCWI, Coletta was instrumental in defining Okanagan wine country, putting VQA wines on the map and convincing B.C. restaurateurs to carry B.C. wines.
In 2011, Coletta and her husband, Steve Lornie, launched Okanagan Crush Pad winery in Summerland, B.C. The innovative, award-winning concept comprises a custom winemaking facility that now houses winery brands Haywire, Narrative and Free Form, as well as wines made for other vintners. Coletta also continues to push forward on her mission in support of sustainable and organic farming, now owning 400 acres of land officially deemed certified organic, with 100 of those acres planted to grapevines.
Coletta is also part of the team that formed the Okanagan Wine Initiative, through which seven leading B.C. wineries have united to share resources and collaborate on various projects internationally, across Canada and in B.C.