Gina is owner, winemaker and leader of the uniquely all-female team at Oliver Twist Estate Winery. She’s the fourth generation from her family to sink her hands into South Okanagan soil. She’s a proud mom to son Jaxson, born in 2011, and daughter Vida, born in 2015. The family lives on the winery’s 17-acre property.
In 2006, when Denice and Bruce Hagerman established Oliver Twist Estate Winery and vineyard, Gina was 27 and had tried Fine Art school in Kelowna, airbrush courses in Las Vegas and was working airbrushing and pinstriping hot rods and motorcycles. She made her first wines with grapes from her father Ken Harfman’s vineyard for a family function in 2009.
“It was a Gewurtztraminer and a Merlot, and I custom pinstriped the labels,” says Harfman. “I had to make a lot of wine, knowing my family. And I loved doing it, so September 2009 I enrolled in Okanagan College to learn more about winemaking.”
She worked at Cassini Cellars as assistant winemaker and began helping Denice Hagerman with crush at Oliver Twist. In 2012, while on the bottling line with the Hagermans, Denice said to Gina “why don’t you buy the winery from us?” Harfman was shocked, as she was 32 at the time. But the rest, as they say, is history.
Gina is a classic car lover, and has a 1961 Chevrolet Bel Air fondly called “Ollie” after its previous owner. Those who have visited the property will remember her 1938 Chevy truck blooming with pink petunias in summer months. Following her love of hot rods, Oliver Twist is host to an annual Show, Shine ‘n’ Wine the second weekend of July. It’s an official Collector Car Appreciation Day event.
Gina is happy to accept a glass of any Oliver Twist wine any time, and her favourite wine to make is Rockabilly Red. “I feel like a mad scientist, trying all the different combinations and percentages of wines in the blend until I get it just right. She’s got to be a rockin’ wine every vintage to live up to her name!”