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Why does this West Kelowna winery look like a ruined castle?

Jason Parkes has outdone himself.

The punk rocker and rebel winemaker of Jason Parkes Customs just opened Crown & Thieves in West Kelowna, a winery that defies explanation.

Located in a vineyard just off Brown Road, the winery rises four storeys and resembles the ruins of a 400-year-old castle.

Yet inside, the vibe and decor is Prohibition-era speakeasy and haunted mansion parlour.

<who>Photo credit: Nicole Richard </who>Crown & Thieves is the brainchild of avant garde winemaker Jason Parkes of Jason Parkes Customs.

Parkes' other properties are also unconventional, including The Hatch and Black Swift wineries, also in West Kelowna, and Truck 59 Cider, next door to Crown & Thieves.

But Crown & Thieves has upped the ante.

"It was a dream of Jason's to do this concept," said tasting room manager Shannon Forgues.

"We just opened and let it get crazy."

<who>Photo credit: Nicole Richard </who>The four-storey facade of Crown & Thieves Winery in West Kelowna is new, but made to look like the crumbling remains of a 400-year-old castle.

The building is so eye-catching, cool, off-beat, eccentric and unconventional that it caused a sensation as soon as it opened last month with people clamouring to get in for a look and a taste.

Of course, it's also oh-so Instagrammable and Crown & Thieves has become a social media darling as a result.

"People are always after what's exciting and new and being exciting and new during COVID, when people have little else to do, really helped launched us," said Forgues.

Crown & Thieves was a wine brand for years out of The Hatch.

But Parkes deemed it was time Crown & Thieves had its own bizarro digs to perpetuate the 'made by scoundrels, sipped by kings' motto.

</who>The main floor tasting bar is set in a Prohibition-era parlour.

The scoundrels are the 'thieves' who steal from tanks and barrels to make wine and the kings are the 'crown' or the customers that drink the vintages.

Crown can also refer to the ruined castle theme and thieves a nod to all the mugshots of 1800s criminals on the walls.

It's all well and good to have a gimmick, but the wine has to be tasty, and it is.

The winery has a line up that includes a Winemaker's Wench white blend named after Parkes' wife, Hickenbothom Chardonnay, Scoundrel's Punch and Dimber Damber red blends, Crybaby Malbec, Roussanne, Chenin blanc and Gewurztraminer.

Architect Kimberly Fuller of Lake Monster Studio in Vernon designed the winery and Bronag Contracting built it.

Both firms also worked on Black Swift Winery.

Parkes’ next project is under-construction The Hatching Post microbrewery in West Kelowna, which will be similarly quirky with a Wild West facade and theme.

Jason Parkes Customs also makes wine for Indigenous World Winery in West Kelowna, Burnt Timber Winery in Kelowna and consults with Lakeside Winery in Osoyoos.

Crown & Thieves has limited opening right now because of COVID for tours and tastings, 11 am to 6 pm, Thursdays through Mondays.

Post-pandemic, the winery will make full use of its basement speakeasy bar, main floor tasting room and wine shop and terrace, third floor mezzanine and rooftop deck.

</who>The view of the tasting bar from the mezzanine.

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