The Garden of Granite is a new North Vancouver winery operated by local winemakers Anthony Walsh and Andrew Doyle.
Since launching in August, Garden of Granite has released three wines under their …what happens now? label: a Kerner, a Viognier, and a Gamay. They’ve also bottled two wine-cider hybrids. Their fruit is sourced from various BC regions including East Kelowna, the Shuswap, the Black Sage Bench, and the Golden Mile Bench.
Longtime colleagues Doyle and Walsh have backgrounds in wine sales and retail operations, respectively. They had originally planned to utilize their space at 228 East Esplanade for commercial winery manufacturing by kegging and distributing bulk VQA and International wines for use at local restaurants and bars. But around the same time the wheels were also turning to open up a new brewery, La Cerveceria Astilleros (The Shipyards Brewery) with close friend and brewer Carlo Baroccio. COVID threw a giant wrench into both plans, putting their main keg customer out of commission and introducing lengthy construction delays to their brewery project (the new anticipated opening date for that is some time in November, downstairs at 226 East Esplanade).
In response to these setbacks, the duo literally asked themselves, “What happens now?” The answer was to revamp their wine business model and take a road trip out to the Okanagan and beyond. They returned to North Van with the juice that would become their first line-up of wine and wine hybrids filling several thousand bottles, which they also painstakingly hand-dipped in wax. They enlisted North Van artist Nice Nothings – whose signature blissed out “smiley face” tag you likely have already seen in and around Vancouver – to provide some label art — a line illustration of an abstract landscape. “In an uncertain landscape, wine is constant. So put your shoulders back. Start by listening more and worrying less.” So goes the motto of …what happens now? – an apropos response to the F&B industry’s dire situation from a pair of diehard wine-lovers.
The name Garden of Granite is loosely inspired by the controversial vin du garage movement of the 1990s, in which a new breed of winemakers in Bordeaux, France, rebelled against the area’s traditional methods and stuffy old estates. These garagistes took up making their own style of wines, using whatever spaces they could afford, like the garage. In the case of Garden of Granite, the setting is literally a concrete garage that used to house an auto body shop in the designated Brewery District. When it came to the name, Walsh explains that granite is much prettier than concrete, and that it also alludes to their plans for a wine bar, “Granito”, which they hope to open some time in the next few years.
Fitting to the vin du garage movement they reference, Walsh and Doyle seem to have taken an approach to winemaking that is more intuitive than conventional, producing quaffs that are ultimately meant to be exciting and personal (each individual release comes with its own “Origin Story”), yet also versatile.
The first batch of …what happens now? wines are stocked at select private liquor stores and restaurants around BC. In Vancouver, you can find them at Legacy (where I personally snagged a bottle of the Viognier and Kerner from the BC Natural Wine section), Liberty, Marquis, High Point, Dachi, and Dockside, to name just a handful of retailers. All of the …what happens now? releases are also available to order online here.
Additionally, in the next few weeks the Garden of Granite garage will be opened for limited hours to the public for sales and tastings. The second batch of …what happens now? wines is set to drop in November, and features a new vintage of Gamay, plus a “Cuvee Garagiste” red and white blend.