The Island / People
The foray into fruit wine was guided by the fascination of Paul, Miranda’s grandfather, whose recreational pursuit of fruit winemaking and distilling left a heritage rich in notes and memories. Paul had the foresight and vision to believe that there was a market for well-crafted fruit wines and that the fruit grown in the Okanagan Valley would provide the essential raw ingredients. His recipes, brought from the old-world, have laid the foundation for all of the wines at Elephant Island.
Miranda and Del Halladay founded the winery at Elephant Island in 1999 in partnership with Miranda’s Grandmother, Catherine Chard Wisnicki who’s unconventional wisdom is at the heart of all things Elephant Island.
Vancouver Courier "Del and Miranda Halladay have always paid close attention to the quality of their wines, but a recent tasting unveiled a number of superb efforts. If fruit wine deserves more respect Elephant Island is well on the way to guaranteeing it."
A passion for fine alcohols and the love of a good time, in good company, has inspired our journey into the world of winemaking and wine exploration.
This is US!
Miranda Halladay Del Halladay
We grow fruit, make wine, and have fun. We have been blessed over the last 21 years to have grown Elephant Island and the Naramata Cider Co with people who love this place, what we make and how we do it … like it is their own.
Our farms, our wines and our winery are the embodiment of these people and our shared commitment to big top spirit: strength, balance, tenacity, attention to detail, skill and a whole lotta love.
We are so thankful to have them as part of our Circus.
Many of you have likely visited with her in the Tasting Room ... she is Miranda's Mom and the Winery's proverbial 'Mother Earth'. She is one of the strongest, most energetic, and hardest working of our Troupe (and she's the oldest). She is thoughtful, kind and has a thumb greener than Mr. McGregor, keeping the winery picnic fridge stocked (pre-covid) with the freshest veggies in Naramata. In her previous life she was a primary school teacher.
If Julia won the lottery tomorrow, she'd "swoosh down silently and make a generous deposit into the accounts of single moms, who work so hard being Mom, Dad and provider". And if she could invent a holiday, it would definitely involve big family dinners - everybody contributing - with lots of great food, wine and laughter.
Her perfect day with wine: spring or summer after a good day gardening (surprise, surprise), on the deck (semi-shade), feet up with a chilled glass of "The Other Way" or Pear wine.
And in the short term ... her perfect day involves welcoming back guests (and many friends she's made over the years) to the Tasting Room and Courtyard.
Originally from Basel, Switzerland our Super Bea is like the most organized, detailed and productive of honeybees, the right brain of Elephant Island. She has been a key part of our Circus for almost as long as we have been the Circus ... 18 years. 😳
In another life, Bea is 100% confident she was a jockey ... and if you have had the pleasure of meeting her over the years you will likely have learned her love of horses. Bea has ridden in some of the most diverse places on the planet, from Iceland to Mongolia to the Grand Canyon. When not keeping Elephant Island ticking, she is an active and disturbingly fast barrel racer. Not surprisingly, if she won the lottery Bea would start a horse rescue.
A perfect day in the world of Bea: camping with the horses, hubby and friends, 'Think Again', Merlot with bbq steak followed by sips of Crab Apple wine around the campfire.
We are so glad to have her!
Tightrope Walker Extraordinaire … Assistant Winemaker and Wine Club Ringmaster at Elephant Island.
A mom of 4, a hunter and classic car restorer in her spare time (we are pretty sure she doesn’t sleep much). Lauren has been an instrumental part of the Circus for the better part of 9 years. Her meticulous attention to detail is the perfect complement to Del’s “Mr. Huge-Picture” style. Her tenacious observation and work ethic in the vineyards and cellar has been key in the development of our Magic/Reserve Series and her passion for the wine she produces has made her a one-of-a-kind leader of our Club Program.
Not to mention her super smeller … Lauren’s palate and olfactory prowess is a huge asset for barrel/blending and tasting days, but not so great for her when the team indulges in Greek food the night before.
Affectionately known as "Alex Scissorhands" around this Circus, he wields the hedge trimmer with acrobatic precision and strongman strength. In his 7 years with Elephant Island, Alex's role has expanded in elephant-like proportions. Beginning exclusively with farm labour, Alex's warm personality and eagerness to contribute have meant that his role has grown into crusher/press whisper, wine delivery dude, and social media/graphics producer. He indulges our endless revisions to his graphics and life advice (he is the youngest of the team) with good humor and just the occasional gluten free treat!
In another life, he is fairly sure he was a mountain goat. He and his wife Jolene can be found scrambling around the Rockies on their days off ... and if he wasn't so darn good at being “Alex Scissorhands” of Elephant Island, he would definitely be a LEGO designer. In fact, a glacially chilled glass of "I Told You So", allows him to stay up late and moonlight in his other business of Brick building/LEGO construction.
Still on his list of Circus tasks to conquer at Elephant Island ... learning to drive the Beast (our 2003 Dodge Ram) and getting some video of Del rocking in the Cellar to Britney Spears.