KELOWNA, B.C. – Construction of a new Okanagan winery is at full tilt on Lakeshore Road, with an ambitious time-line of harvest 2014 in sight.
“It’s the most ludicrous, ridiculous thing,” says owner Anthony von Mandl, who also owns Mission Hill Family Estate, part of the Mark Anthony Group. “Following the conclusion of the purchase in early February (of Cedar Creek Winery), we decided we would build a winery in my late father’s honour. Because our Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir which had been produced at Mission Hill in the interim, won top Pinot Noir in the world in London.”
That award is one of the world’s most prestigious: the Decanter World Wine Awards. In 2013, the 2011 Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir won gold and the Best Canadian Red Wine for wines under 15£ (approx $25 Can.).
The new winery will sit behind Cedar Creek, and produce only the Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir and Riesling.
Cedar Creek, sold to von Mandl by former Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, will continue to produce their own award winning wines.
“Cedar Creek will in fact remain an estate winery in the tradition that the Fitzpatrick’s began,” says von Mandl. “We’re now going to take it to more and more different directions but be more focused on what we produce.”
von Mandl denies recent wineries purchases are a move to acquire more property.
“This isn’t about trying to assembling a group of wineries,” says von Mandl. “It’s trying to focus on specific grapes, specific varieties and do them at a world stage level and to do that you need focus.”
Martin’s Lane, Cedar Creek and Check Mate in Oliver, are owned by von Mandl Family Estates, which is a new holding company von Mandl says is about legacy.
“Wine is not something that is a place to get rich, or make money,” he says. “It’s about something that we’re looking at enduring over generations. And since our little one is 6-years-old, he has a long way to go. So we have a lot of work ahead of us.”