South Okanagan’s late summer — complete with rolling hills, plenty of vineyards and grapes still on the vine — has earned Osoyoos and Oliver a starring role in a Hallmark Channel movie.
Autumn in the Vineyard, a Lighthouse Pictures production, wrapped up six days of filming in the South Okanagan Friday with a session at La Stella Winery.
Earlier this week, River Stone Estate Winery was the featured backdrop and Thursday the set moved to GK Farm on Osoyoos’s East Bench.
“The reason we came to this area was for the beautiful vista of lush, rolling vineyards and desert-like mountains,” said Christina Ollson, the production’s Location/Unit manager.
“It was the perfect scenery for this movie.”
The film stars Rachel Leigh Cook (She’s All That, Josie & the Pussycats and Get Carter), Ali Liebert, Marcus Rosner and Brendan J. Penny.
The production is an adaptation of a Marina Adair novel by the same name. It tells the story of Frankie Baudouin, who wants to prove herself as an award-winning winemaker. Of course, her efforts are complicated when she has to share the property with a dashing competitor — Nate DeLuca.
Sparks quickly lead to fireworks and then a whole lot more as the two are forced to cohabit on the Napa Valley property and work out their differences.
Between 75 and 100 people were on set for the six days in the South Okanagan. The reception the production team received made everyone’s job easier.
“The people of Osoyoos and Oliver are wonderful and each filming location was very accommodating,” said Ms Ollson.
Trish Hahn, La Stella’s manager, was one of those folks.
“We learned about the project maybe a month and a half ago,” she said. “We’ve had the crew and the producer and the production team by the winery a few times over the past month to get everything set up and figure out where they’re going to shoot and what scenes they were going to shoot here.”
Although it was “business as usual” as the production was shot, Ms Hahn said there was occasion to “chat and talk to the people who are working” on the set.
She also expects the film will bring some recognition for La Stella.
“The winery has some really beautiful architecture and its quite distinct here in the Okanagan,” she said. “The building’s quite recognizable. It’s very Tuscan-inspired and so it fits in very nicely with the theme of the movie.”
Lighthouse Pictures specializes in genre and mid- to small-budget film and television projects. Other pictures it has produced include Battle of the Bulbs (with Daniel Stern and Matt Frewer), Gone (starring Molly Parker), Twist of Faith (with Grammy award-winning artist Toni Braxton) and The Wishing Tree.
Autumn in the Vineyard is scheduled to premiere on the US-based Hallmark Channel on October 15. It might also be on the menu later this year on Canada’s Women Channel.
Editor’s Note: Lighthouse Pictures wanted to publicly thank a number of folks involved in the production, including Ted and Lorraine at River Stone Winery, the Dhaliwals at GK Farm, Trish at La Stella Winery, the Okanagan Film Commission, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.