Bill Lui built, over the years, a highly successful business in the medical supply and manufacturing sector. During that time, he did the obligatory wining and dining, or as he puts it, “Of course, with clients, it is always a good idea to have great restaurant experiences and great wine.” Lui is absent of pretension, has a solid head for business, but developed a deep appreciation for chefs, sommeliers, and the entire dining and winemaking world.
About seven years ago, he decided to try making a nice wine in the Okanagan Valley. Why there? “It is true I could have done this project anywhere in the world. But I grew up in British Columbia, I have always loved it here. I want my kids to have the same great experiences growing up that I had. So, there was never any question that I would make this wine in the Okanagan.” That wine is called One Faith, a kind of single-vineyard Bordeaux blend, in some ways a nod to the “California cult wine” phenomena, made from fruit grown on four acres of a vineyard owned by Harry McWatters and cultivated, nurtured, and farmed by Richard Cleave.
It is available only from the wine’s website at this time, although as the inaugural 2012 vintage sells its last remaining bottles, plans are underway to develop a retail presence for next year. This first vintage produced 144 three-bottle cases (it is only sold in that format), and Lui estimates, “I probably hand-delivered more than half of those myself. I want to meet the clients, although I already know many of them, in which case it is good to say hello in person.”
The wine itself, after spending 22 months in new oak, requires serious decanting, although the best idea would be to lay it down for three to five years (more, if you can resist drinking it). At this point in time, it shows spicy oak notes, cigar-box cedar, which yields to some very bright berry fruit notes and the overall palate is rich, seamless, only hinting at potential future glory. McWatters, himself a true pioneer for quality in the Okanagan, says the wine is all about “finesse, depth of colour, and depth of character. It is solid gold.”
Fair enough. The wine is clearly not intended for everyone, nor for everyday drinking. But what it does do is underline the whole region’s virtually unlimited potential. Some neighbouring vineyards are already producing fantastic big red wines, and it is obvious the big blue sky is the limit for world-class wines. For Lui, the future is today.