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Mission Hill Family Estate : Interview with Corrie Krehbiel, Head Winemaker

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After tasting the delicious wines of Mission Hill Family Estate, discover our interview with Corrie Krehbiel, head winemaker at the estate located in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.

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Photo: Mission Hill Family Estate

For our readers that are not familiar with Mission Hill, can you introduce us to the vineyard? Why the Okanagan?

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Corrie Krehbiel, Head Winemaker at Mission Hill Family Estate
Photo: Mission Hill Family Estate

In 1981, the Okanagan was largely undiscovered as a wine region, instead it was renowned for the quality of its stonefruit orchards. Grape growers were just beginning to take risks, planting vines in unproven terrain.

Despite these risks, the glacier-formed valley offered varying soil profiles, long, hot growing days, and diverse microclimates. These distinct subregions posed an opportunity to cultivate wine with unmistakable terroir. This potential inspired Mission Hill Family Estate’s vision for the future of Okanagan wine.

Now, after being recognized as Canada’s only five-time winner of Winery of the Year and receiving multiple best varietal awards on the international stage, we continue to draw inspiration from the valley and the vineyards we tend to. For us, the journey is just beginning.

The 2022 Novelties at Mission Hill Family Estate

What are the new releases this Spring/Summer? What is special about these vintages?

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The Reserve Rosé 2021
Photo: Normand Boulanger | Gentologie

We have some great new releases set for this spring and summer. Currently released is our 2021 Reserve Rose – a quintessential sip for the spring and summer months. Raspberry, watermelon and strawberry lead to a long, refreshing finish. The perfect wine for a light salad or a charcuterie board.

Late June, we will be releasing our 2020 Terroir Collection Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc. Produced in small quantities and available only through the winery, the Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc is fragrant with berries and crushed herbs and finishes with fine tannins and a silky structure. It is an excellent example of Cabernet Franc and would benefit with time in your cellar.

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Quatrain and Compendium
Photo: Mission Hill Family Estate

In addition to these, we will be releasing other wines including our Quatrain and Compendium from 2017. This vintage was one of extremes for us; the spring was cool and wet spring and lead to a summer with a record-breaking dry spell. The berries from this vintage were small and concentrated, producing wines of exceptional depth and intensity. The 2017 Quatrain is lush with an intense core of ripe blueberry. The 2017 Compendium is intense and bold with generous layers of berries and licorice. These wines may be consumed now, but are crafted for aging.

A Do you have a favourite? If so, why?

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The Entrance
Photo: Mission Hill Family Estate

It is incredibly difficult to chose just one wine that is my favourite. It depends on my mood, the season and what I am eating. In the summer months, I turn to bright and fruit forward wines such as the 2021 Reserve Rose or the 2021 Reserve Pinot Gris. I love fresh and textural Chardonnays, so Perpetua is always one of my favourite choices.

How to Manage the Climate Change

With the recent climate change issues (fire, less rain etc.) how are you managing this at the winery? How is it impacting the wine and the vintages? Have you had to adapt due to climate change? If so, how?

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The Barrel Cellar
Photo: Mission Hill Family Estate

Our climate change management begins in the vineyard where we alter our practices based on the season. If the season is cooler, we may remove more leaves and crop thin more aggressively than in hotter seasons where we may need additional leaves to protect the berries and less crop thinning. We adjust our practices to achieve balanced ripening to ensure that we maintain the beautiful fresh fruit characters that the Okanagan can achieve.

We have converted and certified all of our 47 family-owned estate vineyards to organic farming practices to support a sustainable future.

A visit at Mission Hill Family Estate

What can our reader expect to experience should they visit Mission Hill? I have heard the restaurant is amazing!

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The Terrace Restaurant and its view on the vines
Photo: Mission Hill Family Estate

The guests that visit Mission Hill should expect an intimate, ambassador led experience that focuses on our exquisitely crafted wines, thoughtful food pairings, and the architecture of the Estate.

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The Executive Chef, Patrick Gayler
Photo: Mission Hill Family Estate

In 2020, in response to Covid-19 restrictions, we converted our estate to visitation by reservation only, using all areas of our property for guest experiences. The response from our guests has been excellent and we will keep our reservation system going forward. We encourage you to book ahead on our website.

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A preview of the menu at Terrace Restaurant
Photo: Mission Hill Family Estat

The Terrace restaurant is open since May 9th. Our chefs focus on celebrating the Okanagan Valley, ensuring that their quality ingredients are sourced regionally and are seasonal, to ensure that the flavours are greatest at that moment. Each dish is considered carefully to ensure that it pairs seamlessly with the selected wine.

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View on Okanagan Lake at Terrace Restaurant
Photo: Mission Hill Family Estate

We look forward to welcoming your readers to Mission Hill Family Estate this season. Reserve your stay here.

Check out our tasting of four of their products right here.

President, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Gentologie.