Tuesday, August 26, 2014

School strike? Sounds like a good excuse for a trip to Mission Hill

I had the chance to visit Mission Hill Winery a little while back, and... Wow. If you've never seen the jaw-droppingly beautiful estate , put it at the top of your list.

In fact, if you're looking for something to do if school doesn't resume in these parts soon, I'd recommend finding a way to get out of work and go on a road trip.

And if you're lamenting the lack of resources to visit the grapevines of Italy, take heart knowing that B.C.is home to wine-making spots that are just as spectacular as those in Europe.

You get the feeling you're somewhere else entirely other than B.C. in this peaceful place.

Situated on sloping hills with the vineyards themselves planted on benches above the floor of the Okanagan Valley, the winery has a 12-storey bell tower, an original Marc Chagall tapestry, underground barrel cellars, and an outdoor amphitheatre (where Lyle Lovett and the Gypsy Kings have performed).

Then there's the al fresco Terrace Restaurant, headed by executive chef Chris Stewart. Overlooking rows of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and Lake Okanagan, it offers a regularly changing menu of exquisite local and seasonal fare.

Now's an especially good time to visit, with Mission Hill presenting "Encounters with Iceland", a sculpture exhibition featuring 42 life size works by acclaimed Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir. Seeing these statues in this setting would be stellar.

Tours take place until the end of September, and last from one to two hours. The two-hour Vineyard Lunch & Tour would be my pick, with time left afterward to hit the onsite shop.

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