A Similkameen winery that is apparently being targeted online by a group of people who oppose BC Provincial Health Orders is seeing support fired back from their fans.
Clos Du Soleil in Keremeos is run by an ownership group which includes Dr. Bonnie Henry in a minority stakeholder role. Henry holds no operational or managerial role within the winery.
Posts circulating on social media are encouraging people to post negative reviews, resulting in an influx of one-star posts.
Reviews made on Google and Trip Advisor in the past week are clearly targeting the winery for their relation to Henry.
"We DON’T support TYRANNY BONNIE," one review reads.
"Feel very sad for the other investors and owners at this winery. Since Dr. Bonnie Henry is part owner I will never step foot in here again. But that's the price you pay when you're effecting everyone else's business and forcing families to loose [sic] their jobs, income and homes," adds another.
Dozens of reviews posted recently also chastise the wine itself, the ownership and health mandates. But the influx of negative reviews is being battled by positive reviews too, a back-and-forth conversation that has been going on for months.
"Love this winery and the wine. It is sooooo wrong to leave reviews of a business based on your political views. These guys have made consistently great wines for years and will continue to do so," one five-star review stated.
"Definitely the best winery around, to my taste. Top notch French style wine. Never disappointed. Great people. Can't leave Cawston without stopping there," another writes.
Managing director Mike Clark explained that the small, local winery is struggling in the same ways as every other business has during this pandemic.
"We try our best to keep our staff and our customers safe during these very challenging times. 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 BC who are so reliant upon tourism," he said over email.
"We work hard to support the local economy, and to promote the Similkameen Valley to visitors from across our province, and elsewhere. What makes this all worthwhile is when our customers appreciate our community, our award-winning wines, and the unique experiences we try to provide for our guests, and we always love to receive their positive feedback."
Clos Du Soleil is currently open by appointment only.
Dr. Henry provided a statement over email in response, adding that she is deeply grateful to everyone who continues doing their part to help slow the transmission of COVID-19.
"This pandemic has been challenging for all of us," she said. "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."
"I find it deeply concerning that some individuals are choosing to direct their frustrations about the pandemic and my role as PHO at the Clos du Soleil winery and the passionate and committed people who live and work there.”