I woke up knowing today would be a good day. This is because good days usually begin with sunshine and breakfast buffets. After stocking up on enough scrambled eggs and the crispiest bacon to last a lifetime (well, at least for me until the next day) in Kelowna, we set off in search of another reason that I knew today would be a good day – wine. If you’re unfamiliar with Canada’s Okanagan Valley, it’s renowned for its world-class wines. Located a thousand miles north of California’s famous Napa Valley, who knew Canada boasts its very own wine region? Well you do now, and it’s beautiful and every bit worth visiting. We began our visit with a trip to the gorgeous Mission Hill Winery and Estate.
Arriving at Mission Hill Winery
Founded back in 1981 by proprietor Anthony von Mandl, Mission Hill Winery boasts a beautiful spot in the Okanagan Valley. Located on a winery hill between Boucherie Ridge and the Okanagan Lake, Mission Hill delivers excellent quality wines. We arrived and I was blown away by how beautiful the winery is.
The grounds are beautiful, with pastel colour rose bushes wherever you look. The sun beamed down on the manicured rows of vineyard. At Mission Hill Winery specifically, there’s a cool climate that is free from frost for most of the year. This makes it perfect for Riesling and Pinot Noir varieties.
The Okanagan Valley’s climate is helpful for nurturing these delicious wines. With the snow capped Coastal and Monashee Mountains on two sides, the Okanagan Valley, and glacial lakes, there’s a moderate climate. Did you know Canada has a desert? I didn’t either, but it belongs in the Okanagan Valley. It’s the Sonoran Desert, which begins all the way down in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, right up to beautiful Oliver, British Columbia.
We looked out at the rows of neatly positioned vineyards sprawling down to Lake Okanagan. The sun beamed down over the most beautiful day, just as it is every time I visit the Okanagan. We then headed inside one of the winery’s stunning buildings among the English roses for a tour. Mission Hill has a very European feel about it, from the manicured grounds to the architecture. The English roses even reminded me a little of home.
Mission Hill Winery Tour
Guests to the Mission Hill Family Estate can enjoy winery tours and wine tastings. On the tours, you get to understand how wine is made, and what it is that makes wines produced in the Okanagan so delicious.
From a photo inside the winery, it looks as though even Will and Kate went on their own tour.
We wandered around the gift shop while we waited for our winery tour to begin. They have so many lovely wine related gifts to purchase, along with plenty of wine to take home with you. I’ll get to that later!
The winery tour was genuinely really interesting. We started off with a video and learnt all about the region’s wines and grapes. The winery has a fascinating history, and we discovered how the vineyard has grown into the facilitator of some world-class wines. Our tour began then took us underground to see the Barrel Cellars.
It turns out Mission Hill Winery was even built with European architecture in mind. This extends to the French wood that is imported to produce the barrels for wine storage. The winery has even won international awards in England for its outstanding Chardonnay.
Taking a welcome break from the outdoor heat, we cooled off in the wine cellar. We got to take a peek at the winery proprietor’s prized vintage bottles of wine. I can only imagine how good they’d taste.
Each and every winery tour finishes off with a personalised tasting of Mission Hill’s award-winning wines. We entered one of the winery’s Private Tasting Salons, which was beautifully furnished and decorated. After being teased with the promise of wine throughout our tour, we were happy to finally indulge in a little tasting. Our lovely tour guide taught us everything we needed to know about examining, smelling, and tasting wines, no matter which variety we picked.
Tasting Bar at Mission Hill Winery
With this new wine tasting knowledge behind our belts, we were fully prepared for the final part of our tour, the Tasting Bar!
At just $10 for 4 varieties of wine from their extensive menu, we tried all sorts of whites, roses and red, of all different prices. The standout wine for me was undoubtedly their 2014 No. 5 Tranquil Pine Chardonnay. Sourced from a small vineyard in nearby Oliver, it has a vibrant structure, ripe fruit flavours, and good acidity. It was delicious!
For someone like me who is admittedly one to pick a wine by the prettiest label, it was such a good opportunity to learn more about what I actually like. I learnt a lot, and I discovered one of my new favourite hobbies.
I left the wine story feeling pretty happy, clutching bottles of delicious wine. Mission Hill is definitely a winery I’d recommend, and I’m sure I’ll be back again before too long.
Mission Hill Winery Grounds
With such impressive grounds, we went for a walk around the Mission Hill Winery Estate. It’s such a beautiful place, with sprawling views across the lake. I imagine it’s the perfect setting for a wedding or event.
There’s even a terrace restaurant onsite, the perfect place for a delicious dinner with wine pairings.
We got up close and personal with the vineyards, picking off some of the grapes hot from the blazing sun. We tried a few of the different varieties, to see how they tasted. Many of them were bitter, but longing to be turned into delicious wines.
We enjoyed a few more glimpses of the gorgeous view before setting off for a place to swim in the hot Okanagan sun.
We ended up take a drive south along the Okanagan Valley towards an adorable town known as Peachland. Check out my post to discover the most beautiful spot where we sunbathed in Peachland.
It was a wonderful trip to Mission Hill Winery, and I’ll sure as hell be back again. Have you visited any Okanagan wineries? Where do you recommend?