Rust Wine Co.

June 6, 2019

You may think naming a winery after the process of oxidizing decay is a bad idea. After all, what might the customers think it’s meant to symbolize? Rust Wine’s Jesse Harnden says far from having a negative connotation, the winery’s moniker has a different kind of symbolism.

“For us, Rust is about age, evolution, and capturing specific moments in time— themes that lend themselves quite well as a metaphor for wine,” says Harnden.

Rust is located in Oliver, B.C. and is a relatively new winery, but the ownership took over another winery called Rustico Farm & Cellars. The new name is also an homage to the original site and its reputation for consummate hospitality.

“I really think the customer today more and more really wants to identify with where a certain product was grown,” muses Harnden. “And so, when you look at Rust wines, you can truly identify with a really small pocket of land in B.C. and know, this is what this acre or two or five gave us that year. Your wine is coming from an individual block and a very specific place in Canada which is all explained on the back of the label.”

rustRust Wines makes a Rosé, Gamay and a Zinfandel which are available at Calgary-area Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stores. Harnden says one of the unique things about his wine that will catch a Co-op customer’s eye is their labels, which are created by Rust fans and customers.

“Our first labels were photos taken by just me and a friend, on our iPhones, and we were out looking for rusty tractors and combines, snapping close-ups. But, with our more recent vintages, the photos for the labels have been submitted by our customers, and we give them a little photo credit on the back of the bottle. It’s a great way for us to connect the customer to the winery and to celebrate some of the people who added their own interpretations of rust to our labels. The labels will change every year as we get new submissions.”

Harnden says Rust’s marketing plan definitely considered how to stand out on the shelves. In a sea of eye-catching labels, the user-generated macro photography does create a unique piece of art.

When it comes to the wines, Harnden is also proud of what they’ve been able to achieve in a short time. Rust’s Rosé has flavours of wild strawberries, orange zest and B.C. earthiness, while the Zinfandel shows dried fruit and spice notes with a smooth, savoury, medium bodied style. Rust Gamay has a ripe, yet fresh style with intense aromas and flavours of white pepper, Bing cherry, and chipotle that pairs well with Pacific salmon, and spicy foods.  

As a relatively new winery in the Canadian market, Harnden says it’s great to have a partnership with Co-op so Albertans can enjoy the spoils of B.C. 

“It's exactly what we were hoping to achieve. It's just great to have this distribution in Alberta with such a well-respected retailer like Co-op. Hopefully, it's the beginning of a long and healthy partnership.”

Find Rust Wine Co’s wines at Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer.

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