Okanagan convoy supporters now going after Bonnie Henry’s winery | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan convoy supporters now going after Bonnie Henry’s winery

Image Credit: PEXELS

Local supporters of Freedom Convoy 2022 are smearing the reputation of a Keremeos winery co-owned by Dr. Bonnie Henry.

The Provincial Health Officer has a minority stake in Clos du Soleil Winery in Keremeos via an ownership group. She has no operational or managerial role in the company.

Members of a Facebook group called Okanagan Friends That Convoy were recently discussing ways to change public health policies by getting Clos du Soleil involved.

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/facebook.com

Yesterday, Feb. 10, five people left one-star reviews for the winery on TripAdvisor – that accounts for half of all the one-star ratings it has received since its earliest review in 2014.

Some of the recent negative reviews are clearly in protest of public health orders.

“Do not encourage the owners of this place,” reads a one-star TripAdvisor review from today. “When your love of power and money overcomes your love of wine, it is time to retire!”

Another negative review would almost appear to be from a genuinely unhappy customer, except for how it was published today during the barrage of one-star ratings, and in February, when the winery is open by appointment only. 

“Worst tasting wine ever!” reads the review. “One glass and I was sick to my stomach. I'm not sure what is in there but it gives me puke shivers just thinking about it.”

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In an email, Dr. Henry said she is deeply grateful to everyone doing their part to help us slow the transmission of COVID.

"While I respect the right to peaceful protest, I am not actively involved in any activities at the winery and have not been since I took on the role of Provincial Health Officer in 2018," reads her email.

"I find it deeply concerning that some individuals are choosing to direct their frustrations about the pandemic and my role as Provincial Health Officer at the passionate and committed people who live and work at Clos du Soleil."

When winemaker and managing director Mike Clark was asked how it feels to see his winery bombarded with negative reviews that are irrelevant to his business, he focused on broader challenges.

“Clos du Soleil is a small, local winery, struggling in the same ways as every other business during this pandemic, as we try our best to keep our staff and our customers safe during these very challenging times,” Clark said in an email.

“Just like every other business, not only have we had to adapt to changing regulations, but the natural disasters in the past year have also been extremely difficult for all businesses in the interior of B.C. who are so reliant upon tourism.”

Appreciative customers make it all worthwhile, he added.

Clos du Soleil opened in 2006. On the Google review of the business, 19 of the winery’s 192 rating were all published in the past 24 hours, and all 19 were one-star reviews.

At the beginning of the day the winery’s rating was 2.4 out of five, and as of publication time it was 2.3.

“You want to hit us in our pocket book Dr. Bonnie. Time to hit you where it hurts,” reads Janine Kempe’s Google review. “I hope you lose your business.”

Jimmy MacDeal calls Dr. Henry a sell-out government shill in his rating, and Kimber-Leigh Holland’s review says she should be in jail.

READ MORE: Cities in British Columbia prepare for trucker convoy protests

Many positive reviews posted last summer appear to be from people who actually visited the winery and enjoyed themselves. These reviews include photos taken at the winery as well as specific details about the products and site. 

However, older one-star ratings from the past year also appear to have been written by people who disagree with the province's response to the pandemic. 

Matt Poirier, who gave the winery a five-star rating in October 2021, told others not to believe the negative reviews.

“What a treat. I read some pretty awful reviews on Google. Do not believe them. This is a top B.C. winery and the tasting experience was exceptional,” reads part of his review. 

Marketing and social media manager Belinda Rose-Innes publicly responded to Poirier.

“Thank you for your review, Matt,” reads her reply. “We are, indeed, struggling with fake reviews, but we will continue to focus on making great wine and giving our customers a great tasting experience! Your support means more than you can know!”

Image Credit: SUBMITTED

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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