Dirty Laundry Vineyard is located near Summerland and first opened in 1995 as Scherzinger Vineyard, the dream of a former German woodcarver named Edgar. He retired in 2001 and the new owners enlisted a marketing company to create a new image.
The marketing guy had previously turned Prpich Hills Winery into the more exciting Blasted Church branding. His research uncovered the story of a Chinese railroad labourer who opened a laundry in Summerland over 100 years ago. It quickly became a front for a bordello, and the washing business became known locally as the "dirty laundry."
The theme of laundry, and the naughty bits, overwhelms the current business. There is a script running here from the moment you leave your car and enter the tasting room.
That nudge, nudge, wink, wink thing is a bit much and detracts from the wines. Names include Bordello, Woo Woo, Hush and Secret Affair. A few years ago the winery's Reserve Chardonnay wasn't selling well enough and the name changed to Naughty Chardonnay. Apparently the oak can be a wee bit "knotty." And so it goes. Marketing is important here, and it works. Big time.
Whatever else, Dirty Laundry is popular with tourists and the tour bus operators that rumble down the Okanagan's highways. I think the theme has been taken too far, right down to the clothespin you are given as a souvenir, though they sell a great many bottles. Marketing, branding and imaging are front and centre, not the wines, though the whites are somewhat interesting, especially the Threadbare Gewurztraminer, which we enjoyed as a patio wine and Jeem was doing his laundry.
Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2014.