West Kelowna winery owner named to Order of Canada

Mission Hill Family Estate Winery owner Anthony von Mandl is cited for 'innovative grape growing in the Okanagan.'

Anthony von Mandle

The latest crop of Order of Canada recipients includes the owner of West Kelowna’s Mission Hill Family Estate Winery.

Anthony Von Mandl was among the 113 Canadians named to the order Thursday. He will go in as a member after being cited for what was called his “innovative contributions to grape-growing in the Okanagan” and for creating word-class, award-winning wines.

Those wines, said his recipient citation, have enhanced Canada’s international reputation in the industry.

Von Mandl, who owns VMF Estates, started Mission Hill in the early 1980s after buying a small winery on the side of Mount Boucherie in West Kelowna’s Lakeview Heights area and expanding it.

Following a successful career as a wine merchant in Vancouver, he renamed and rebuilt the winery, an operation now known internationally for its stunning architecture and its high-class wines.

A Mission Hill chardonnay stunned the wine world in 1993 when it was named the best Chardonnay on the planet at a prestigious wine festival in France, beating out wines from more established regions of the world.

The judges were so incredulous by their selection they retested the wine three times and every time it came up as the winner. That win is credited with helping put B.C. on the international wine map.

Earlier this year, Mission Hill Family Estate was named Canadian Winery of the Year for the sixth time.

Von Mandl, who already is a member of the Order of B.C., is among 113 other Canadians either named to, or moved up in, the Order of Canada, this year. The order has three levels, officers, members and companions.

Established in 1967, the order is one of the country’s highest civilian honours and recognizes Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to, or achievements on behalf of, their country or have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the community and service to Canada.

This year’s list includes people from many walks of life including editorial cartoonist Bruce McKinnon, the first aboriginal provincial court judge in New Brunswick an then its lieutenant governor Graydon Nicholas, former Canadian women’s hockey star Cassie Campbell, the two founders of the Canadian clothing company Roots, Michael Budman and Don Green, Truth and Reconciliation commissioner Marie Wilson and Olympic speed skater Nathalie Lambert.

The ful list of recipients can be found here.