Lynsey Hayes is a multifaceted beverage connoisseur. Hayes went from managing vineyards in the Okanagan to owning Sorellina Coffee in Edmonton. We caught up with Hayes to learn how the two worlds intersect, and how coffee is following in the footsteps of wine.

-How did you first get into wine?

I had been travelling Europe, as a lot of people do when they are younger, and I ended up spending a lot of time on some small rural vineyards there. When I came home, I decided I wanted to go back to school for viniculture, which is the farming of wine grapes.

From there I managed vineyards in the Okanagan. I worked primarily on the land, farming, driving the tractors, and taking care of the plants. I think that’s the reason why I try to connect with producers as much as possible. Because of my farming background, I have so much respect for the amount of work that goes into maintaining fruit-producing plants—it’s such hard work. There is a lot of overlap in terms of the struggles of vineyard farmers and coffee farmers.

-Is there an overlap sensory analysis-wise with coffee and wine?

In so many ways. Everything from evaluating acidity, astringency, sweetness, and body. We evaluate all of that in wine as well and it works exactly the same way as it does in coffee. In wine, we practice how to catch faults. For example, if a wine has been tainted with Brettanomyces, which is a strain of yeast that causes spoilage, it will smell like a sweaty horse. The general public might open the bottle and think they just don’t like the wine when in reality, it’s just one bottle that is bad. It’s the same in coffee; if you open a bag of coffee and it smells dank then it probably had a potato defect. It’s important to know that it’s just one bad bag rather than ruling out the entire lot. It’s cool to be able to catch that in both industries.

-Is there an overlap in the processing side of things?

A lot of the processes that exist in wine are just starting to be utilized in coffee. In wine, we have had these controlled fermentation processes for years and years, and now there is a movement to go back to minimal intervention. I think coffee might go back to that at some point. A lot of the worry with coffee and processing is climate change and learning the different ways that we can try and mitigate the environmental factors that might come up with climate change.

-What are you most excited about in the wine world right now?

I look for a lot of the same things in wine that I do in coffee. I have a soft spot for small producers. I like to try lesser-known varietals and the same goes for coffee. I like to try stuff from an emerging growing region.

Right now Bolivia is growing some interesting wines. They are growing some bigger names like Cabernet Sauvignon but also some Barbera, some Italian grapes, and some cool climate whites. Some of the best coffee in the world is also grown in Bolivia so it makes sense; it’s a fun connection.

November 04, 2022 — Zara Snitman

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