AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 50
Name of wine estate: Mission Hill Family Estate
Wine region: Okanagan Valley
Standout points: Terrace restaurant overlooking Lake Okanagan; Mission-style architecture with 85ft-high bell tower
Winemaker: Ben Bryant
Wine style: Various, including Bordeaux blends, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and icewine
British Colombia may not be on many wine lovers’ destination list – but it sincerely ought to be. Set your sights on the beautiful Okanagan Valley, specifically Mission Hill Winery in Kelowna – architecturally impressive and with a cracking range of wines to boot. A six-year makeover of Mission Hill Winery completed in 2002 by a dedicated team of international architects, designers and craftsmen has created a winery visitor experience up there with the world’s best.
A meeting of continents
The winery design aims for a ‘transition between North America and Europe’, according to owner Anthony Von Mandl. An imposing 12-floor bell tower has four bells cast by Fonderie Paccard in Annecy, France, while the artwork-adorned winery and cellars and the Terrace restaurant, set within an outdoor colonnade overlooking Lake Okanagan, all lend Mission Hill a sense of Old World grandeur that will come as a pleasant surprise to curious visitors.
Host with the most
Throughout the year, the Mission Hill team hosts a wealth of events and activities, from winemaker’s dinners to culinary workshops, to summer concerts in the winery’s very own outdoor amphitheatre and fine art exhibitions (check the winery website for a regularly updated schedule of events). The estate’s popular Long Table Dinner events – al fresco wine-paired three-course dinners starting with a reception as the sun sets over Okanagan Lake – are highly recommended.
The sommelier treatment
Groups of eight or more can enjoy specially curated sommelier-guided private tours of the winery, gaining first-hand understanding of the Mission Hill winemaking ethos, learning about the ancient, volcanic and glacial soils and special climatic conditions which make Okanagan Wine Country so unique, visiting the winery’s impressive barrel cellars, viewing Mission Hill’s ‘art collection and finally partaking of a bespoke tasting of the estate’s wines. Six distinct tours are offered and appointments are necessary, but the Wine Boutique Tasting Bar is open daily with no need for appointment – ask at the bar about Mission Hill’s rare library wines!