Photo: Peregrine Wines
Anthony von Mandl is the inventor of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, which has made him rich. But ask him why he created the company, and his answer is, “The winery.” More than 20 years ago, von Mandl, who grew up in Vancouver, decided to turn a hilltop in central British Columbia — part of a wine-growing region known as the Okanagan Valley — into a winery meant to last generations.
See the 7 best high-design wineries >
He named it the Mission Hill Family Estate and began looking for an architect to design buildings that would stand the test of time. Teaming up with Tom Kundig, von Mandl transformed a working winery inside a bland, factory-like structure into a destination for oenophiles and architecture-lovers alike. A massive bell tower in the centre of its six large buildings (pictured above) can be seen from much of the surrounding area.
Von Mandl isn’t the only winemaker to use architecture, as much as viticulture, to give his products an edge. All over the world — from Rioja in Spain to New Zealand’s Gibbston Valley — striking design is attracting visitors to wineries that would otherwise get lost amid gorgeous wine-country scenery.
The world’s most celebrated architects have gotten into the act. Norman Foster gave Bodegas Portia in Burgos, Spain, a futuristic look; Juan Carlos Fernandez designed Cade Winery in Angwin, California, to be grand and green; and Santiago Calatrava, known for bridges and train stations, gave Bodegas Ysios in Rioja, Spain, its animated exterior. These buildings are as distinguished as their wineries’ best vintages and all well worth a visit.
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This story was originally published by Departures.
Founder Anthony von Mandl says it took a lot of earth moving, but he got just the view he wanted from Mission Hill's Terrace restaurant. Rows of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines seem to extend to the shores of Lake Okanagan, and the view of the restaurant, with a colonnade by architect Tom Kundig, is almost as appealing. Kundig's buildings tend to be made of rough materials, including poured concrete, but they have the perfect proportions of Greek temples -- and have won his firm, Seattle-based Olsen Kundig, countless architectural awards.
1730 Mission Hill Rd.
The architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are known for the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, the condo building at 40 Bond Street in Manhattan and a half dozen of the world's most beautiful museums, including the de Young in San Francisco and the Tate Modern in London. Their Dominus Estate winery, located an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, is a much-admired, much-photographed structure made of gabion (chunks of local basalt in steel cages), which the architects employed to exploit the randomness of nature within a well-ordered environment. It also creates stunning effects when light shines through the gaps between the hunks of stone. Dominus isn't generally open to the public, but occasional architectural tours on weekday mornings offer hardcore buffs a chance to see the structure up close.
2570 Napa Nook Rd.
Anyone who has landed at Madrid's Barajas Airport knows what Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the architecture firm led by the maestro Richard Rogers, can do with vaulted ceilings. At Protos, the architects built a new winery beneath five parallel barrel vaults set into a sloping site below a fortress. The structure strikes a dramatic figure, thanks to its shape (the five vaults form a kind of triangle), yet its materials -- wood beams and terracotta tile -- echo wine barrels and caves, making it feel at home in the historic wine-producing region. Visits here require a reservation.
C/Bodegas Protos 24--28
34/659-843-463; [email protected]
Santiago Calatrava is renowned for designing bridges, train stations and airports, buildings that seem to be in motion even when standing still. The architect's winery in Rioja, a province of his native Spain, is equally kinetic. The building couldn't be simpler in plan -- a long rectangle -- but seen in three dimensions it seems to move like ocean waves or ripples of wine in a wineglass. The curves are an illusion (the roof beams are all rectangular), which, along with the dramatic interior spaces, prove Calatrava's knack for creating captivating forms with simple means.
Camino de la Hoya, s/n
Juan Carlos Fernandez is a disciple of the great Mexican architect Luis Barragán, who used concrete walls (often in bright colours) to create dramatic outdoor rooms. At Cade, Fernandez followed Barragán's lead, using walls set into the side of Howell Mountain to frame outdoor spaces, including a tasting area with a reflecting pool and a fountain. The building itself is a classy structure of dark steel and dark wood, with large windows capturing breathtaking views. Like many of the newest wineries, it is respectful of the environment: Green elements include concrete made with 30 per cent fly ash, steel made of 98 per cent recycled material and wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council -- all of which helped it obtain LEED gold status. The winery is open daily (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
360 Howell Mountain Rd. S.
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