Wine Culture Magazine

The gorgeous Mission Hill Winery and its stunning 12-storey Bell Tower. Robert A. Bell, Wines of Canada photo

Mission Hill Family Estate has claimed the title of Canada’s Winery of the Year at the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada. The Okanagan Valley winery in West Kelowna took 18 medals, including two Platinums, six Golds, seven Silvers and three Bronzes!

The 2019 Nationals were held in Ontario back in June with 1,815 wines and ciders entered from 259 wineries in eight provinces. When the awards began in 2001, Mission Hill was the inaugural winner. In fact, this is the fifth time Mission Hill has been Canada’s Winery of the year!

Mission Hill is a five-time winner of this national award for excellence. Photo submitted

The most prestigious Platinum awards included Mission Hill 2017 Perpetua Chardonnay ($56.00). Like most wineries, Mission Hill has several levels of quality. The Perpetua belongs in this top tier, the Legacy Collection, which showcases the Okanagan Valley’s diverse microclimates. Each wine is the result of more than three decades of viticulture, sustainable farming, and winemaking experience in their estate vineyards.

The second tier of Mission Hill wines is known as the Terroir Collection, which was recently introduced to showcase the unique characteristics of the Okanagan vineyard sites. Every Terroir wine entered in the competition won a medal, six of them earning platinum or gold. In that tier is another Platinum Medal winner: Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 8 Jagged Rock Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 ($50.50).

The Terroir wines make up only three per cent of the production at Mission Hill and are only available at the winery. Winemaker Ben Bryant proudly states, “I am particularly pleased to see the results for our Terroir Collection. These small-production, single-vineyard wines are the purest expression of the unique microsites and diversity of the Okanagan Valley. Without a doubt, this is one of the unique winemaking regions in the world.”

Switching to Gold, there are four more Terroir Collection winners: Border Vista Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($56.10), Jagged Rock Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon 2018 ($33.70), No. 23 Crosswinds Syrah 2016 ($56.10), and No. 43 Reflection Point Pinot Noir 2016 ($57.60).

Also basking in the gold is a Legacy Collection wine, the 2016 Quatrain ($84.10). It’s named because of the four balanced varietals in the wine, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are similar to a quatrain, four lines of verse that work in harmony in poetry.

Silver medals were won by Mission Hill Terroir Collection No. 32 Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc 2016 ($56.10), Brigadier’s Bluff Rosé 2018 ($33.70), and Bluebird Passage Viognier 2018 ($50.50). Also in that golden category were the 2016 Reserve Merlot ($29.95), 2018 Reserve Riesling ($24.73) and 2018 Reserve White Meritage ($24.73).

Finally, the 2018 Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gris ($22.95) and the 2018 Reserve Pinot Blanc ($18.69) earned Bronze Medals. Considering that the Reserves are so affordable and available and won prestigious medals, they definitely represent excellent value for wine lovers!

—by Eric Hanson, Richmond News

Eric Hanson is a retired Richmond and UBC science teacher and an active wine journalist.

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