A Sikh in the vineyards of Lulu

Sikh at Lulu Island Winery

A Sikh pruning vines at Lulu Island Winery in Richmond. Photo by David Lansing.

Look at this photo. Where are we?

We’re at a winery in Richmond, British Columbia. And out in the vineyard are half a dozen Sikhs pruning grape vines. I told you on Saturday that Laura and I had gone down Richmond’s “Highway to Heaven” where, before we stopped in at a Buddhist Temple, we saw, all side by side, a mosque and a synagogue and several temples, including a Sikh one.

Well, evidently the Sikhs head down the highway to work at Lulu Island Winery. I love that! Although I’m not sure if there’s a bit of a conflict there since Sikhs aren’t supposed to use alcohol or drugs. But maybe it’s okay to help make the alcohol—just as long as you don’t sample it. If there are any Sikhs out there reading this please let me know because, frankly, I’m kind of clueless about Sikhs. All I really know about them is that they wear turbans, aren’t supposed to cut their hair, and they make love to Juliette Binoche (at least in The English Patient).

I should know more. Particularly since there are over 30 million Sikhs world-wide and they’re the fifth-largest organized religion in the world (and one of the most steadily growing—Wikipedia).

Anyway, Laura and I were touring the Lulu Island Winery with Polly and I saw these Sikhs out in the vineyard and I just had to ask her about them. She says they only hire Sikhs to work the vines. “They are very hard workers. I mean, it’s hot out there. I wouldn’t last 30 minutes. But they work out in the vineyard all day long and never complain. They’re amazing.”

So now I know one more thing about them: They’re good workers.

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  1. Harsimran Singh’s avatar

    One of the 52 “hukams” or orders of Guru Gobind Singh Ji says “kirt dharam di karni” .. Which means, we must earn a living by doing whats morally and ethically right and abides by our religious teachings. Since we are strictly prohibited to consume alcohol or any other intoxicant, I dont think it makes sense for a Sikh to work in a vineyard, as it offends the principle of “kirt dharam di karni”.

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa… Waheguru ji ki fateh…

  2. Johnathan Gill’s avatar

    I like to thank the author for not hesitating to ask a question that he is not familiar about rather than just assuming so kudos!

    The reasons sikhs are farmworkers or do not seem to be affected by heat is because in India – farming is most prevalent in each family and if you have ever been to india you would know the heatwave in india is much worse and hence they can withstand what we Canadians call warm weather – easily.

    Being farming is primary occupation and grapes can be used to make grape juice or eat as a fruit, i do not think there is anything morally or ethically wrong with sikhs working at vineyards – it is a form of harvesting and related to farm work. I agree with you as Sikhs we are not allowed to do drugs, smoke,drink – these are key principles of their faith, and i appreciate you being perplexed as to how come they are working in scorching heat, but in my view i think it is permissible and a honourable job as anyone can attest to working at a farm is no easy feat!

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