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Wines of Canada

The Elite

British Columbia


Mission Hill Family Estate Winery
West Kelowna British Columbia

Situated high on the hill over looking the vineyards, the mountains and of course Lake Okanagan sits the magnificent Mission Hills Winery. Visitors enter through an imposing archway, arriving in a courtyard with a 12 story Bell tower as its centre piece. Mission Hills is a winery know for its architecture, its restaurant and its wine. None of which would be here today if it was not for the quality wines it began producing in the early 1980's after the winery was purchased by Anthony Von Mandl.

Mr Von Mandl hired winemaker Daniel Lagnaz who began producing award winning wines. In 1992 John Simes a well known New Zealand winemaker joined Mission Hill. In 1994 under winemaker John Simms won the very prestigious Avey's Trophy for their 1992 Grand Reserve Barrel select Chardonnay, bringing international attention to Mission Hill and BC wines

Success has followed the winery under the guidance of these two men. This year they were named Canadian Winery of the Year at the Winealign 2013 National Wine Awards. The 'Canadian Winery of the Year' award is the result of Mission Hill winning several individual medals, including Platinum Medals for the 2011 Reserve Riesling and 2009 Compendium , and Gold Medals for 2010 Perpetua , 2011 Reserve Chardonnay , and 2011 Reserve Riesling Icewine.

The winery won won ‘World's Best Pinot Noir' in the under £15 category at the Decanter World Wine Awards. More than 14,000 wines from 61 regions around the world entered this year's competition. Mission Hill 2011 Martin's Lane Pinot Noir won the International Trophy - the competition's top award - and the Regional Trophy for ‘Best Wine.' It's the first time a single wine variety (red or white) from any region in the world has won both competitions.

Mission Hill Estate offers an amazing cellar of fine wines making them one of Canada's, if not the world, Elite wineries.

JAnuary 24th 2014 CedarCreek Estate Winery is being purchased by von Mandl Family Estates, the new holding company of Anthony von Mandl, the owner of Mission Hill Family Estates.


Tinhorn Creek Estate Winery ~ Oliver British Columbia

On a hillside overlooking vineyards, sagebrush, and the old gold mining creek that is its namesake, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards has been owned and operated by the Shaunessy and Oldfield families since 1993. You could easy say that Tinhorn Creek is the winery that put the Golden Mile on the world map of wine regions. One of a few wineries open year round.

Tinhorn Creek sources fruit exclusively from its own vineyards: 150 acres of prime land on two very distinct benches. The 100-acre Diamondback Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench is planted with a mix of red and white varieties, primarily Pinot Gris, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The 50-acre Tinhorn Creek Vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench is also planted with a mix of red and white grapes, featuring Gewürztraminer.

Tinhorn Creek was the first winery in Canada to bottle its entire portfolio with Stelvin screw-cap
closures. Screw caps provide the best seal and eliminate cork and oxidation problems. Stelvin
closures also ensure consistent aging and a guarantee that the wine will be enjoyed as it was intended.

Tinhorn Creek is passionate about taking care of the environment. Environmental initiatives include native plant restoration, a beetle release program and the installation of a fence to separate snakes from field workers and equipment. Tinhorn Creek Vineyards adds to its sustainability practices by becoming the first Canadian winery to complete the Climate Smart program and offset their carbon footprint to become Canada’s first Carbon Neutral Winery.

Celebrating over 15 years in the South Okanagan, Tinhorn Creek remains the number one winery
destination where people throughout the west will continue to enjoy the wines for many occasions to come. During the summer, the winery offers concerts and theatre productions in an outdoor amphitheater set amid the vines. The Tinhorn Creek Canadian Concert Series provides one of
the best entertainment experiences in the south Okanagan. Locals and visitors to BC have made their Miradoro Restaurant ( a partnership between Tinhorn Creek and Manuel Ferreira, owner of Le Gavroche in Vancouver) a popular dinning spot

Evoking classic south Okanagan terroir, Tinhorn Creek offers wines that rank among the best in
the world. Sandra Oldfield has been the winemaker since day one. She has a highly regarded reputation for her knowledge of the entire industry.

Winemaking is not really a philosophy, it’s a beverage; but my thoughts toward winemaking are
1) Know your grapes because then you can know your wines.
2) Do your job right in the vineyard.
3) Pick’em ripe.
4) Don’t screw it up after they’re picked.
5) Lastly, have a good time doing what you do and the wines will respond. To summarize... “It’s the grapes, Stupid.”

There is no point in listing all the awards and accolades given to the winery Canadians know
Tinhorn Creek Wines are always better than GOOD!

Wines available in USA in 2014


Painted Rock Estate Winery ~ Penticton, BC

Painted Rock Estate Winery ~ Penticton, BC

Painted Rock is still a very young winery opening in 2009 yet its wines have captured the attention of the entire country and beyond. John Skinner found his vineyard site in 2004. It is on a bench on the east side of Skaha Lake south of Penticton, backing up against the famed climbing bluffs.

Painted Rock retained the services of French consultant Alain Sutre (who works with Osoyoos Larose and Burrowing Owl in the Okanagan, along with clients elsewhere in the world). Painted Rock 2007 Red Icon was their first release noted Author John Schreiner gave the wine a 94.

Among the many awards the winery quickly accumulated was the 2012 Lieutenant Governor's Awards for Excellence in British Columbia Wines. Two wines were honoured. They also won in 2010. They were also named Winery of the Year.

A new tasting room and events facility at Painted Rock Estate Winery was unveiled in September, 2013. The tasting room sits on a picturesque bluff overlooking our estate vineyards and Skaha Lake and offers a view and a line-up of premium wines that are not to be missed when visiting the Okanagan Valley.

Their Philosophy is rooted in the simple idea that wine should be made for friends and family to enjoy. With a dedication to quality and a respect for the terroir, Painted Rock ensures that each grape is of superior quality, proving that the best wines are made in the vineyard."

Painted Rock Winery's Red Icon listed at $900 per bottle in exclusive Shanghai eatery


Quails' Gate ~ West Kelowna BC

Quails' Gate ~ West Kelowna BC

One of the most prominent wineries in Canada. The winery is owned by Tony Steward and family. The Stewarts, pioneering horticulturists in the Okanagan valley since 1908, established the vineyards in 1956 and opened the winery in 1989.

The vineyard is situated on the favourable south facing slope above Lake Okanagan and below the extinct volcano Mount Boucherie. The vineyards are planted in a mixture of volcanic rock and clay (glacial/glaciolacustrine). Although difficult to farm, Quails’ Gate believes that this terroir contributes to wines that are rich, concentrated and interesting in character.

The winery is indeed a destination spot in the Okanagan from a beautiful location, to world famous restaurant to get wines. Quails Gate is one of the most popular and most visited winery in British Columbia.

They have an outstanding winemaking team headed by Nikki Calloway. Quails' Gate is internationally recognized as a top quality producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The winery has long had a cult following for its Old Vines Maréchal Foch. Six Quails' Gate wines were served at a dinner in the Northwest Territories for Prince William and his bride, Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They have also been served to served to such guests of Canada as Queen Elizabeth, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, the president of Ireland and President Barack Obama.


Summerhill Pyramid Winery ~ West Kelowna

When co-owner Stephen Cipes first visited the Okanagan in 1986, the New York developer believed he'd found unique conditions to produce "intensely flavoured small grapes"--the perfect base for sparkling wine. Cipes brought grape clones from France and "personally planted them on my hands and knees. Success followed Stephen and the winery He was Winner of the prestigious Ernest and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Summerhill Pyramid Winery became known as Canada's most visited winery.

The winery was founded in 1991 as Summerhill Estate Winery in partnership with winemaker Eric von Krosigk and Wendy Cipes. With a medal total surpassing 300, Eric is recognized as one of the most-awarded winemakers in the history of the British Columbia wine industry. In 2006 they began the successful transition of the cellar to achieve certified organic status.

Summerhill is committed to producing 100% organic wine, and has received Demeter Biodynamic certification for the vineyard in 2012. Certified organic status was achieved in the cellar in 2007, allowing the winery to display the Canadian certified organic logo on their bottles, ensuring that a level of quality and purity can be expected by the consumer.

One of the unique features of the winery is the Pyramid. Stephen Cipes believes in the power of the Pyramid enhancing the flavours of the wine. It was among the first wineries to add a restaurant The Sunset Organic Bristo.

The Cipes Rosé  sparkling wine from   Summerhill Pyramid Winery , Canada's acclaimed organic and biodynamic winery, has been given a gold medal and named one of the Top 10 Best Sparkling Wines in the World at the 2013  Effervescents du Monde  held on November 13-15 in Dijon, Burgundy, France.

They have received numerous awards for their wines, including the The Denbies Estate Trophy for Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine is awarded.

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The winery located in Canada's only desert. It sits on the hillside of the town of Osoyoos overlooking the Osoyoos Lake. Nk'Mip Cellars is North America's first Aboriginal owned and operated winery.

The winery is located in a very unique habitat A program to restore habitat and reintroduce species at risk on the land is now in place. Visitors can follow trails that wander the sage desert habitat to a forest grove where a traditional tule mat teepee, an underground pit house and a sweat lodge have been recreated. Along sections of the trail system are interpretive signs that point out plant life and describe both the terrain and the history of the Okanagan people

The varietals currently produced are Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Riesling Icewine and several red blends including the ultra premium Mer'r'iym Meritage blend. These grapes come from the Band's own Inkameep Vineyard as well as the vineyard that surrounds the winery.

The winery over the years has won its share of National and International awards under winemaker Randy Picton. Perhaps the biggest and unprecedented been a score of 100 given to it by author John Schreiner for their Nk"Mip Cellars 2012 Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine


Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Kelowna British Columbia

Cedar Creek is one of the pioneering wineries of the Okanagan. They were founded in 1986 and released their first wines in 1987. The winery is the vision of Senator Ross Fitzpatrick. He was born in the Okanagan and loved the beauty of the country and orchards. As hard times fell upon the Fruit industry Senator Fitzpatrick used his business success to fulfill his dream of purchasing land and starting a vineyard. His success may have succeeded his dream as CedarCreek has twice been named the Winery of the Year in Canada. and become one of the countries most Elite wineries.

The wineries philosophy is Respect the land, honour tradition, pursue perfection. Today the success of the winery is continued by the senators son Gordon.

They have expanded over the years to four distinct vineyards . The ordinal CedarCeek Vineyard located in Kelowna, were planted in the 1930s. Purchased by Senator Fitzpatrick in 1986, it is now home to the winery, wineshop, Terrace Restaurant and 50 acres of Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Ehrenfelser.  This northerly site, consisting of clay, loam and some sandy soil, is ideally suited for Pinot Noir and the white aromatics.

Greata Ranch is situated between Peachland and Summerland, Greata Ranch was established in 1895 by George Greata and was the most prolific peach orchard in the Okanagan due to its vigorous “ratnip” soil.  Since Senator Fitzpatrick purchased the property in 1994, it's been planted with 40 acres of Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc.

Desert Ridge near Osoyoos, Desert Ridge is adjacent to a property where the first table grapes were grown in the late 1930s.  Sixty years later, the same stony soil has given way to 25 acres of Bordeaux reds; specifically Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

Haynes Creek located in Osoyoos, Haynes Creek was once grazing land that was converted to soft fruit in the 1940s.  Senator Fitzpatrick's father worked with these growers who delivered extremely ripe fruit destined for the Zenith label at the "Mac & Fitz" packing house.  The sandy soils in this hot site are planted with 35 acres of the five Bordeaux reds plus Syrah and Viognier.

These four vineyards produce amazing award wining wines vintage after vintage making CredarCreek one of Canada's best know wineries. Their location provides a beautiful view of Okanagan Lake the gardens magnificent.

CedarCreek Estate Winery is being purchased by von Mandl Family Estates, the new holding company of Anthony von Mandl, the owner of Mission Hill Family Estates.

A Rising Star

Blackwood Lane ~ Langley

Blackwood Lane in the heart of the Fraser Valley. What does it take to be an Elite Winery. Prestigious wines, amazing hospitality, super events and intriguing faculties. Blackwood Lane has what it takes. The winery opened with a big bang in 2009 when noted author John Schreiner gave their Alliance 2006 a score of 94 and their now famous The Reference a 96. Winesofcanada.com has giving many of their wines scores in the high 90's.

Winemaker and Proprietor Carlos Lee is extremely passionate about his wines and his winery. His bubbling, charming personality makes for a wonderful tasting experience. Tasting room manager Kimberley Gislason also adds a sparkle to your visit. In recent years the winery has added a patio, wedding facilities and a restaurant Acacia Wine Room.

Along with its neighbour Domaine de Chaberton, Blackwood Lane has become the destination winery in the Fraser Valley.

Gray Monk Estate Winery

Located in the heart of British Columbia's Okanagan Gray Monk was founded in 1972. The name comes from one of the first grape varieties produced at the winery - Pinot Gris . In Austria and Hungary, this grape is called ‘Grauar Mönch' hence the translation to ‘ Gray Monk '.
The grape has a very distinctive blue-gray colored berry.

Gray Monk has been a leader in developing the grape in the Okanagan. Their trophy case shows how sucessful they have been.

The owners are George and Trudy Heiss. The Heiss family is the only remaining "family" winery of the original estate wineries licensed in the early ´80's. The winery was build in 1980 with a ver distictive red clay tiles. The winery is often refered to as the "castle in the vineyard"

The winery has a beautiful location on the slopes above the Okanagan Lake. In recent years they established the GrapeVine Restaurant.

George Heiss Jr is the winemaker.

Gray Monk consistant quality for over forty years makes it one of Canada's Elite Wineries

In 2014 the Canadian Vintners Association announced the results of the inaugural Canadian Wine Industry Awards and Lake Country's Gray Monk Estates is the recipient of the award of distinction for outstanding leadership, commitment and passion for the advancement of the Canadian wine industry.

Coming soon, Black Hills, Domaine de Chaberton, CedarCreek,Hester Creek and more


Main Page ~ Ontario ~ Canada ~ All BC Wineries

The Elite is a small list of wineries we feel produce outstanding wines year after year after year. They have a proven, well earned reputation. Their wines are made with a passion Their owners and winemaking team extremely dedicated. The wineries are listed in random order. We have decided to divide the section into three pages. British Columbia, Ontario and (the rest of) Canada. The Elite will be a progression series in which we will add additional wineries in the following weeks.

We welcome your thoughts and recommendations bobbell@winesofcanada.com

Cedar Creek Photo Credit: CedarCreek Estate Winery, cedarcreek.bc.ca