Karnail Singh Sidhu
Date of Birth:
Village Kalala, Barnala, Punjab
Karnail Singh Sidhu was born in 1968 in village Kalala, Barnala in Punjab, India and immigrated to Canada in 1993. His brother, who was already residing in Canada filed for his residency and Karnail, along with his parents, younger brother and sister moved to Canada. After landing in Vancouver, BC, the family stayed in Surrey for some time and then moved to Penticton, BC in December 1993.
Through the sponsorship of the Ministry of labor, Karnail got a job in the electrical field, and he worked for two years in the public and private sector in the Lower Mainland, then moved back to Penticton. Karnail remembers that it was summers when he landed in Vancouver and the land was lush green, covered with green vegetation and beautiful weather. Karnail and his family moved to Kelowna in 1995 and he along with his brothers started working in the winery. Karnail worked in a winery called Summer Hill for some time and then later joined another winery on April 1st, 1996.
Karnail went back to India in January 1997 and got married in the month of March, 1997. After his arrival back to Kelowna, Karnail continued to work in the same winery he did before leaving. Seeing his hard work and dedication, Karnail was given the opportunity to study a course in wine making and management and his employer paid for his expenses. After finishing the course in Penticton in 1998, he was made the manager of the winery and was a huge supporter of organic farming. Karnail worked there for 10 years and left the job in 2005 to work in his own fields he had bought.
Karnail opened his own Organic winery called Kalala in 2008 and it became a huge success, also being the third Indo-Canadian winery in the Okanagan Valley. Karnail recalls that there were around 250 Punjabi families living in Kelowna in the 1990’s and the Punjabi community would get together in the Gurdwara to celebrate festivals such as Diwali and Vaisakhi. According to Karnail, the Punjabi community had cordial relations with the white and the Indigenous community. It was rare that there was trouble.
Karnail is a strong believer that if there is a difference, then we should work on fixing it as these difference could become huge distances. One of the challenges that Karnail experienced in immigrating to Canada was the lack of recognition of his Indian education in Canada. Being a diploma holder in engineering and having work experience was still worthless in Canada, according to Karnail. However, his passion to work and striving for excellence made him a successful person and award winning winery in the Okanagan Valley.
Karnail strongly believes that Canada is the only country that can allow you to become the Prime Minister if you become a citizen of this country and have the qualification, irrespective of your background and birth country. He also emphasizes that a person wearing a turban should be careful as a bad deed would result in the loss of reputation for the whole community. He currently resides in Kelowna and continues to run his own award winning winery, Kalala.