Mission Hill Family Estate Wins IWC Trophy in UK for Best Icewine in the World

    Premium BC Winery Continues Success with International Wine and Culinary

    WESTBANK, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BC, Sept. 2 /CNW/ - Mission Hill Family
Estate, Canada's Winery of the Year has won the International Wine Challenge
(IWC) Trophy for the World's Top Icewine at Europe's major wine competition.
The Trophy will be presented to Mission Hill Proprietor Anthony von Mandl at a
Black Tie awards Banquet in London in front of 800 members of the UK and
international wine trade this Wednesday for the Mission Hill Family Estate
2006 Reserve Riesling Icewine. In the past eight years only three Icewines
have been successful in achieving this award. This will be the first category
Trophy awarded in the past four years with competing wines judged from five
countries. (www.internationalwinechallenge.com).
    "We were caught by total surprise, as our principle focus at Mission Hill
are complex red wines such as Oculus along with whites that express the unique
characteristics of the Okanagan," said von Mandl. "This is the biggest award
since winning the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 1994 for Best
Chardonnay World Wide. It's great to see our relentless obsession and
commitment to producing great wines paying off and the Okanagan Valley being
recognized internationally. I truly believe this is only the beginning of
where the valley and Mission Hill Family Estate is going."
    This has been an eventful year for Mission Hill Family Estate having won
Canadian Winery of the Year as well as being recognized by Travel & Leisure as
having one of the 'Top Five Winery Restaurants in the World'.
    Mr. von Mandl is receiving the Trophy along with the other eight awards
bestowed on Mission Hill Family Estate by the IWC this year including the:
2006 Select Lot Collection Riesling icewine, 2006 Reserve Vidal icewine, 2006
Five Vineyards icewine, 2006 Reserve Chardonnay, 2006 Reserve Riesling, 2006
Sauvignon Blanc, and 2006 Reserve Pinot Blanc. So far this year, Mission Hill
Family Estate has received more than 200 wine awards. The UK based
International Wine Challenge receives over 9,000 entries from 40 countries
which are tasted blind by a team of 400 judges.
    "The 2006 vintage was the best season we've had since I arrived in the
Valley in the early 1990s. We had an outstanding classic Okanagan summer with
low humidity and above average heat that enabled us to achieve perfect
ripeness levels for the grapes when an earlier than normal cold snap hit us in
late November. This early arctic outflow of -15 degrees C gave us a superior
combination of abundant fruit with extended hangtime, enabling us to craft an
elegant icewine that was over 40 Brix at harvest but yet with well-balanced
acidity," John Simes, Chief Winemaker, Mission Hill Family Estate.
    "Receiving an international trophy at the IWC speaks to the high quality
of wine being crafted at Mission Hill Family Estate. It also bodes well for
Canada, which is a small but serious wine region, and supports the
collaboration of the industry and government who are committed to having our
cool-climate wines recognized in the international wine market," Janet
Dorozynski, Trade Commissioner, Canadian Wine, Spirits and Beer, Foreign
Affairs and International Trade Canada.
    The Okanagan, with only about 7,500 total vineyard acres, is among the
smallest wine producing regions (by comparison California is approaching
500,000 acres and the EU is the world's largest producer with approximately
9.6 million acres). Mission Hill Family Estate is the vision of Proprietor
Anthony von Mandl who founded the winery in 1981 with the goal to make the
Okanagan Valley an internationally recognized premium wine appellation. At
that time there were only 5 wineries in the Valley, with the total today being
approximately 150 wineries. To achieve his vision, Anthony von Mandl seeks out
the international wine world for the top expert resources such as Bordeaux's
Michel Rolland and Pascal Chatonnet. Says von Mandl: "The transformation of
the Okanagan in the past 20 years is amazing and the sophistication and
elegance of the reds we are producing is astonishing sommeliers around the
    Icewine first originated in Roman times where grapes were not harvested
until after the frost, icewine or "eisenwin", now must meet highly exacting
criteria to be considered the precious liquid that is so widely sought after
across the globe. With the highest standards in the world, Canada requires
that the grapes be naturally frozen on the vine at a minimum of -8 degrees C
and at 35 Brix sweetness level or higher. The long hangtime combined with
gently pressing frozen grapes produces small quantities of juice with a rich
concentrated fruit flavour, high natural sweetness and well-balanced acidity.

    About Mission Hill Family Estate

    Mission Hill Family Estate, Canada's Winery of the Year, is
internationally recognized for its award-winning wines, architecture, Cuisine
de Terroir-based Terrace restaurant and championing the Okanagan as an
international sought after wine region. The von Mandl Family's 23 vineyard
Estates are located in five distinct growing regions of British Columbia's
Okanagan Valley. Reflective of the origin and unique character of the Valley
and of the careful 'pruning to bottle' program, Oculus, the signature
Bordeaux-inspired wine, represents the pinnacle in premium winemaking.
Proprietor Anthony von Mandl and winemaker John Simes produce elegant
internationally acclaimed wines with New World flavours and Old World
refinement from this incomparable lakeside mountaintop winery. Visit
www.missionhillwinery.com for more information.

    Note to editors: extensive variety of high resolution Mission Hill Family
Estate images available upon request.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Lori Pike, Director of Public
Relations, lpike@missionhillwinery.com, (604) 808-6655

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