Mission Hill Winery visit engages Prince William and Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge given the royal treatment during their one hour visit to West Kelowna winery.

Okanagan chef Bernard Casavant prepares his special menu item for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Mission Hill Winery on Tuesday afternoon.

Interested and engaging.

That was the common sentiment from those who had the opportunity to share a few words with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Mission Hill winery in West Kelowna on Tuesday afternoon.

The royal couple arrived on a beautiful sunny day to an invited group of more than 200 people gathered in the winery courtyard, with the Mission Hill winery bells greeting their arrival.

Prince William and Kate had a chance to pick grapes off a vine branch, sample some items from some of the best chefs in B.C., oversee some youngsters involved in a cooking class and take a tour inside the winery before being whisked off to the airport and a flight to Whitehourse.

The whole visit to about an hour, and for many a chance to speak with the couple was often mere seconds, but their visit still left an impact.

Okanagan chef Bernard Casavant said the couple were very engaging when they stopped to sample what he prepared at his food booth, taking an apparent interest in what he had to say.

“They were very engaging. And they sampled what we had prepared which is very unusual for royals because with the cameras shooting hundreds of frames a second around them, you can end up with some awkward images when trying to eat something,” he said.

Jeremy Luypen, executive chef at Predator Ridge and president of the Okanagan Chefs Association, said the opportunity to showcase a variety of agricultural products in B.C., from beer to cheese to salmon and halibut to sushi, was fantastic.

“A lot of people worked very hard with the chefs to make this happen and they all deserve a lot of credit,” said Luypen.

Michael Ballingall, vice-president of Big White Ski Resort and chair of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, said the royal visit brings tourism promotion and marketing to our region that money otherwise can’t buy.

“Everything they do here is big news back in the UK, and that is one of the biggest markets we are going after for tourism,” said Ballingall.

“This is a five-start story on a five-star day and nobody in the tourism industry is having an unhappy day today with the exposure this is getting for our entire province.”

Ballingall cited one example of a story in The Daily Mail newspaper back in England about the royal visit. “The UK is one of the markets we want to go after at Big White and we normally have about 20 to 30 visits a week on our website. On the day that story came out, we had 300 hits in one day.”

Anthony Von Mandl, proprietor of Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, called playing host to the royal visitors a “surreal experience.”

“I never believed something like this could every happen at our winery,” said Von Mandl, who noted that Kate actually pick a grape off a vine to get a sense of what that is all about during a vineyard tour.

Von Mandl said Prince William and Kate seemed “very surprised”  that what he called “one of the most unique wineries” in North America was located in the Central Okanagan.

“I think there were surprised by the beautiful setting here, the winery itself and even the bells ringing for their entrance to the courtyard,” Von Mandl said.

 

 

 

 

Kelowna Capital News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

149 cases of COVID-19 linked to Kelowna

Nine new cases were reported in the Interior Health region over the long weekend’s four reporting periods

Former Kelowna resident makes fundraising goal for cancer fertility treatments

Rebecca Hamilton recieved a boost in a battle against cancer - $25,000 for post chemo treatments

No appointment needed: COVID-19 testing access expanded in Kelowna

First-come, first-serve testing centre opens in downtown Kelowna

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Passengers escape unharmed from destructive houseboat fire in Shuswap

Cause of blaze on Mara Lake under investigation, flames erupt at 2 a.m. Aug. 4

Alberta vehicles allegedly damaged in Summerland

Lug nuts loosened, windows smashed in several instances in Okanagan community

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

UPDATE: Water bombers attack wildfire north of Sicamous above Shuswap Lake

Wildfire BC reports fire is still classified out of control, 25 personnel on ground

First degree murder charges for North Okanagan woman

59-year-old woman charged in Round Lake suspicious death incident

Splatsin Elder struggles to stop tubers from accessing his private property

Nathan Kinbasket has a certificate of possession on the area

Most Read