John Schreiner is Canada's most prolific writer of books on wine. Since his first book in 1984,
The World of Canadian Wine, he has written 15, including multiple editions of The Wineries of British Columbia, British
Columbia Wine Country and John Schreiner's Okanagan Wine Tour Guide
Quidni Estate Winery
This fall, Quidni Estate Winery, which also has three bed-and-breakfast rooms, was voted number one on Trip Adviser for specialty lodging in Penticton.
Owner Marty Gunderson was ecstatic – rightfully so. The award signalled what a profound turnaround has occurred at this winery which, under another name and other owners, had not been successful.
It is all in a day’s work for Marty, even if it is the first venture in the wine business for this Edmonton businessman and entrepreneur.
Born in Fort McMurray in 1972, he grew up in Edmonton and plunged into business without bothering to finish a degree at the University of Alberta. His profile on LinkedIn rolls describes him as a “SCREAMING Capitalist, Disrupter, Challenging authority since 1972.”
He has been involved in the financial services industry for 17 years. His currant activities in that field include a directorship of the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada. He is also involved in real estate development and that was how he became a winery owner in the Okanagan.
Quidni had opened in 2011 as 3 Mile Estate Winery and slipped into receivership in the fall of 2014.
“I was involved in real estate development and one of my partners had an interest in this winery and asked me if I knew anybody that wants to buy a winery,” Marty says. “I said I don’t know anybody but let me check. Then I was asking other people if they want to buy a winery.”
On of those he contacted (through mutual friends) was Todd Moore (right), a captain in the West Kelowna fire department and a veteran consulting winemaker.
Todd, a one-time bicycle racer who is 49, started his winemaking career when he was 21 with Lewis Brothers, a fruit winery (now closed) in Grand Prairie. He went to work at Quails’ Gate Estate Winery in 1991. He went to Australia for a vintage in 1993, returning in 1994 to help work the vintage at Blue Mountain Estate Winery before rejoining Quails’ Gate for two years.
From there, he moved to Vancouver Island in 1996 as the winemaker at Cherry Point for four consecutive vintages. Even after joining the West Kelowna fire department in 2000, he has kept a foot in winemaking as a consultant.
“The fire department was putting food on my table,” Todd says. “Winemaking became a hobby … but I love making wine.”
Todd was not interested in buying a winery when Marty approached him. But he offered to help Marty with the due diligence on making the purchase. He also was willing to run it. Marty thought that was an excellent idea. He bought the winery and relaunched it this year as Quidni Estate Winery.
Quidni is Latin for “why not.” The name was inspired when Marty got tired of explaining why he had bought the winery and just answered “why not?”
“I have always been a big fan of wine,” he says now. “It’s a fun business. For me … the fact that you are encouraging people to come together and enjoy some great wine with friends and family, frankly that’s been the big thing for me. I just liked the idea of doing fun things, now that I am a little bit older. I am not necessarily making money. Wineries don’t make a whole lot of money.”
The deal was closed during the 2014 vintage. “Three quarters of the way through the harvest!” Todd remembers. “I came in and I worked one day with [the former owners]. We crushed a ton and a half of Gewürztraminer. I watched to see where you plug things in; then I was on my own.”