Note: this article first appeared in the March 9th, 2017 issue of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune.
Spring is steadily approaching – though you might not know it, looking outside – which means that Esther Bricques Winery is getting ready for another year of music and art, adjacent their rolling vineyards.
Music- and wine-lovers might notice some new changes at the Oroville winery this year, both indoors and out. The outdoor patio and lawn, where performances are held when weather permits, are getting a new look. “We’re rebuilding the patio,” says Linda Colvin, who owns Esther Bricques with her husband, Steve Colvin. “It’s going to be larger, with both a newer and larger stage, as well as extended patio. It’s going to allow the music to flow out onto the lawn, as well as the patio itself.”
In addition to renovation plans for the patio area, the indoor tasting room and performance space are likewise being renovated. The wall that separated the tasting room from the adjoining work area has been removed, opening the tasting room into more expansive capabilities.
Until the weather becomes more cooperative, the winery’s music events will be held in that newly expanded indoor space. As with previous years, patrons can always expect events on Thursday evenings. This year, though, the winery aims to provide more weekend offerings as well. “We’re going to start having occasional Friday, Saturday, or Sunday events,” Colvin says. “Those will mainly feature music groups that are traveling farther, or larger events that we’ll be promoting more.”
Music won’t be the only art you can expect to find at the winery. Last year saw two fine art shows at Esther Bricques, one in mid-July and one on Labor Day weekend, and the Colvins plan to reprise both this summer. There are also plans in the work for dinner theater performances, most likely in July or August.
Though Esther Bricques Winery has become a staple in the Okanogan for music and arts, that wasn’t always in the plans. “When we first started, we didn’t plan on being a music or art venue,” Colvin remembers. “Like everything else with this project, it’s been a gradual evolution. Our music started with help from Steve Pollard, then different groups would perform occasionally. It’s gradually become a place where musicians really love to come and play.”
Though it may not have been planned from the start, the winery has evolved into an elegant yet casual arts venue, offering a unique complement to other performance spaces in the Okanogan. In a region abundant with bar concerts, eclectic performance halls, and larger festivals, Esther Bricques provides an intimate and comfortable space that ties together a rustic indoors with the quiet, picturesque lawns and vineyards outside the door. The Colvins have been experimenting with a canopy setup, just outside of their tasting area, where groups can set up to perform for patrons sitting comfortably indoors – an arrangement that further brings the scenic environment into winery events, even when the weather doesn’t allow for a fully outdoors evening.
Esther Bricques’s 2017 season starts this Thursday, March 9th, with a performance by Sunny Lanigan, who offers a seasoned guitar and vocals performance with an eclectic folk inspiration. “Sunny Lanigan is phenomenal,” Colvin says. “He absolutely loves Irish music. He went to Ireland a few years ago, and brought back what he learned. He’ll undoubtedly be sharing some Irish and Gaelic music.”
Linda Colvin emphasizes the diversity she seeks to bring to the music and art at Esther Bricques, which is on full display at the end of this month, with two unique events. On Saturday, March 25th, the winery will feature a “Sip and Paint” night, at which patrons can enjoy guided painting with their wine. The evening will serve as a fundraiser for the Apple Hill children’s art camp that runs in both Tonasket and Omak. On Sunday the 26th, Brian Ledbetter comes to the winery for a mind-reading event – an evening that promises to be one of the more unique entertainment opportunities this month.
Whether in winemaking or in supporting the arts, Esther Bricques Winery is guided by a love of creativity. “We want to support creativity in the county,” Colvin says. “For me, that creativity is in making the wine. For musicians, it’s their sound, for artists it might be their paintings. We’re about bringing the arts together.”
To stay abreast of upcoming events at Esther Bricques Winery, you can visit their website at www.EstherBricques.com or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EstherBricques, or keep an eye on the Gazette-Tribune’s Community Calendar section.