July 9, 2019
Sword fighting isn’t usually a trait you’d associate with a wine entrepreneur. But Joseph Luckhurst is different from a lot of wine guys.
“I was a stage actor, I did a lot of musical theater, a lot of classical theater as well. I was licensed in stage combat and stage combat choreography, so I did a lot of Shakespeare and that kind of thing,” says Luckhurst of his life before working at Road 13 Vineyards, where today he’s General Manager.
The Luckhurst family acquired the winery property from its original owners back in 2003. Formerly called Golden Mile Cellars, the family wanted to make the property their own, but still wanted to pay homage to its past and its rural location.
“The street that we're on is Road 13 and there’s this whole idea with that where you are defines who you are,” explains Luckhurst. “That's particularly true with wine because people can copy your label, copy your blends, but your land is the main thing that makes you distinct. That’s where we spend our lives, this is our farm. And this is what feeds and creates the product.”
Road 13 makes Honest John’s Red, Honest John’s Rose and another red dubbed Seventy-four K, all available at Calgary-area Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stores.
The Luckhursts are a logging family from way back, shares Joseph. So how did they end up in the wine business? The same way a lot of folks do; a love for the product and high hopes for that dreamy wine-maker lifestyle.
“When we bought the winery in 2003, I was 19 years old. I was working in the U.S. as a stage and voice actor down there, and when my work visa in the states ran out I came back to Canada,” Luckhurst recalls. “I kind of found myself doing odd jobs for the winery here and there, and quickly realized that I was enjoying it a whole lot more. About eight years ago I decided to move up to the Okanagan and be involved in the winery full time, and I took it over from my parents about five or six years ago.”
Luckhurst says he loves the freedom that comes with being able to work outdoors and with the land.
“There is definitely something about getting back outside, that really it was nice. But other than that, it's the ability to kind of work with your hands, create a product and actually have something to show for it at the end of the day—and something to share with people.”
Road 13 was named to the top 10 wineries in Canada for 10 years in a row and this last year, the brand hit number two winery in the country in a national wine awards category.
While Luckhurst doesn’t swing a sword as much as he used to, he’s still finding interesting differences between the acting business and wine making.
“It was a really fun career for sure. But, you know, in the end, what really drew me to the wine industry was that surprisingly, the wine industry was significantly less pretentious than the acting industry!”
Find Road 13 Vineyards' products at your local Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer store.
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