Mission Hill Winery
History and museums
Mission Hill Family Estate is located in the heart of British Columbia’s pristine Okanagan Valley. Established in 1981 by Proprietor Anthony von Mandl, O.B.C., the family‐owned winery is internationally known for its exemplary vineyard estates, award‐winning wines, glorious cuisine, and spectacular mountain, lake and vineyard views. The winery is a stunning architectural landmark that has been heralded as “the gold standard of wineries” by Condé Nast Traveler and “the Versailles of the Valley” by The New York Times. In 2015, Mission Hill Family Estate was again named ‘Canadian Winery of the Year’ for the 6th time and in 2013 was the winner of the prestigious ‘World’s Best Pinot Noir Trophy’ at the Decanter World Wine Awards in the United Kingdom, the most prestigious wine competition in the world with more than 14,000 wines entered from 61 international regions. This extraordinary destination winery welcomes visitors from around the globe and offers an exceptional, authentic experience in an exclusive setting of unparalleled natural beauty. Visitors find a tranquil retreat from the hurried pace of daily life and an ideal location to immerse themselves in the art of fine winemaking.
Mission Hill Family Estate was established in 1981.
Anthony von Mandl was a wine seller in Vancouver during the 1970s and assisted in preparing a feasibility study regarding growing grapes in the area for Josef Milz, a Mosel based winery. While the German vintner did not go ahead with a purchase, von Mandl decided that the area was worth investing in, and in 1981 purchased the abandoned Mission Hill estate. von Mandl is also the founder of Mike's Hard Lemonade Co..
The first Chardonnay made by John Simes, who had just joined the winery, in the 1992 vintage won the trophy for "Best Chardonnay" at the 1994 International Wine and Spirit Competition, becoming the first Okanagan winery to receive significant overseas recognition.
Olson Kundig Architects were commissioned in 1996 to rebuild the winery and associated buildings. This was the first winery project undertaken by the design firm. The work was completed in 2002 at an estimated cost of thirty-five million Canadian dollars. The centrepiece and focal point of the design was a twelve story and 85 foot high bell tower, with four bells cast by Fonderie Paccard in Annecy, France who also crafted the bells for St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York and Sacré-Cœur in Paris. The largest bell weighs nearly 800 kilograms.
Until 1996, Mission Hill had purchased grapes from vineyards owned by others to produce wine, with no vineyard holdings of its own. It started to purchase its own vineyards in 1996. Mission Hill Family Estate farms 32 family-owned estate vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. Mission Hill has estate vineyards in each of the five growing regions; West Kelowna, East Kelowna, Naramata Bench, Black Sage Bench in Southeast Oliver and Osoyoos. Most of the vineyards are planted on benches above the valley floor; on varying degrees of slope that assist with air drainage, improves frost protection and increases the amount of sun the vines receive.
The current chief winemaker is Darryl Brooker who joined the winery in 2015.
Michel Rolland, a prominent French oenologist, has been consulting at the estate since 2005.
Mission Hill estate produces wines across four tiers. Their entry level wines are labeled as "Five Vineyards". The next tier are the "Reserve" wines, followed by the "Terroir Collection" and the top-tier "Legacy" series.
The flagship "Oculus" is a Bordeaux style red wine made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It is named after circular windows used in classical architecture.
The estate has a sixty-seat restaurant called "Terrace" that opened in 2002. It overlooks Lake Okanagan. In 2008 it was named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the five best winery restaurants in the world.