Ok, so as amazing as Little Straw was, I must at least mention the big guns, because they’re important too! And let’s be honest. The next two wineries have the capacity to actually export out into the world market. I have to say, for a BC wine to be found in the US or any other country would be an amazing accomplishment. (And if they are found across the border in Seattle or anywhere in Washington, someone please enlighten me!)
Now, in the New World, a “big gun” could be referred to as an extremely large winery, large acreage of grapes under vine, gift shops full of “swag” (and wine too, of course) and um…perhaps a bit of prentiousness…but not a lot. Now let me be clear: here in Canada, we really don’t have the capacity to be as big as the Central Valley in California, or Riverina and Murray Darling in Australia. We just don’t. Period.
Quail’s Gate to be honest, is really a lovely facility. Lots to see, and their lunch was highly recommended. However, a 13-year-old can likely think of better places to eat than a little wine bistro for lunch, so we passed on that notion. I did, however want to see the restaurant and wine room, as my cousin’s husband, who is Ian Annand Architecture, designed it. Beautiful. It was great to just walk around the property and catch the sights. No tasting here, just taking time to enjoy the view, and have a little fun with the camera too! Have a peek at a few of the pictures taken by my “expert photographer”, my 13-year-old, Chynna!
Moving on to Mission Hill. It’s just well….Big. But no trip to the Okanagan Valley is complete without a visit here! And here’s a curious factoid: The owner of Mission Hill is Anthony von Mandl, Canadian born to European parents in Vancouver, BC. After heading back to Europe at the age of 9, he decided to come back to Canada to attend University. In 1999, he started the famous Mike’s Hard Lemonade series. Bet you didn’t know that eh? And come on…I’m sure many of us have imbibed in a Mike’s or two!
He sold it for a tidy sum to invest in a winery, which, by the way, he could’ve chosen to start in the famous Napa Valley, or even Washington State. Instead, he chose to lay down the wine making roots in his native British Columbia. The site? Mission Hill: named for its panoramic location. Everything about it is stunning. And Anthony’s goal is to create a world-class wine. For now, I just wanted to see it. It was packed with people and 2 walls of tasting areas with six pourers a side. That’s a lot of wine being poured! And a lot of people tasting! They offer a lot of different types of tours, so that’s the route I’ll take next time I’m out. And when I say tours, it’s tasting, combined with tours of the cellar and wine pairings. A great thing to offer!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pictorial!