Situated on a prominent hill rising above the floor of the Okanagan Valley, the Mission Hill Winery is a 120,000-square-foot complex of buildings designed to transform the visitor. As visitors pass through the welcoming entry arches, they enter a world dedicated to wine. A Wine Education Center, with a small theater, anchors the experience of each visitor. An outdoor loggia, amphitheater and vineyard terrace provide breathtaking views of the lake and valley below. A 12-story bell tower is the focal point of the courtyard. The design, consciously serene, eschews festival-like architecture in favor of a timeless, monastic quality.
At Mission Hill Family Estate, underground cellars have been blasted into volcanic rock. With a capacity of about 800 barrels, the climate and humidity controlled environment is dedicated to the protection, fermentation and careful aging of wine. The architectural philosophy for the space was to edit back to its essential reason and purpose.
As tours descend into the caves, a quiet overtakes the group. People speak in hushed, reverent tones almost so as not to disturb the wine.
A gated wine vault is home to Anthony's personal wine collection. Those wines, from around the world, are served during special family occasions. They are also used by the winemaking team to benchmark the development of Mission Hill Family Estate wines against some of the world's top producers.
The only source of natural light into the cellar is from an oculus that sits above ground. Oculus is the Latin word for eye. It is also the name of the winery's premium Bordeaux-blend.