Mission Hill Estate Winery Toasts To Terroir

Outstanding cuisine is a given at Terrace Restaurant, which has been named one of the top five winery restaurants in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. The culinary team of this West Kelowna, British Columbia, winemaking destination, led by executive winery chef Matthew Batey, is working toward, and very much succeeding at, putting together a complete, holistic wine-and-food experience, which includes everything from hosting culinary workshops to growing and preserving produce on-site.

While the concept of farm-to-table dining is a trend that is catching on worldwide, Terrace Restaurant exemplifies the farm-to-fork model. The kitchen staff's morning trip to nearby Stoney Paradise Farm yields armloads of golden beets, squash and blossoms, eggplant, and torpedo onions, all of which make their ways into a salad served at lunch. And this is only the starting point for a team that strives to embody the locavore concept of terroir as completely as possible. The ultimate goal is going even closer than farm-to-table; often, what's on a plate at Terrace Restaurant came from a garden in plain sight of the restaurant.

Produce from Stoney Paradise Farms: golden beets, squash and blossoms, eggplant and torpedo onions Photo credit: Danguole Lekaviciute

Overseen by horticulturist Monica Ede and chef Batey, Mission Hill Estate Winery's multifunctional landscaping includes carefully curated gardens, which produce ingredients for the Terrace Restaurant's kitchen such as edible nasturtium flowers, several varieties of basil for estate basil oil, and peaches for pastries.

Compromises are few and far between; chef Batey prefers to steer clear of exotic, non-native ingredients like pineapple, although citrus is sometimes unavoidable for great cuisine. But that doesn't mean Batey is content to import it; recently, potted citrus trees made an appearance at the varietal gardens. At Mission Hill, the quest to bring the food ever-closer to the kitchen is a tireless, wholehearted pursuit.

The winery's gardens, organized according to wine grape varietals, also serve a secondary purpose: to educate wine drinkers on the flavors one might expect from certain wines. Stone fruits, rhubarb, and lemon verbena populate the riesling varietal garden, while black currant, blackberries, and several varieties of basil and mint can be found in the merlot garden.

Lunchtime salad at Terrace Restaurant, made from ingredients harvested earlier at Stoney Paradise Farms Phoot credit: Danguole Lekaviciute

Not much goes to waste either. Mission Hill Estate Winery's flourishing preserve program provides additional variety to the kitchen, and preserved goods are available in the wine shop for visitors — quince and ginger marmalade, pears in vanilla syrup, and heirloom tomato jam ensure that the season's bounty is enjoyed as long as possible.

Those hungry for a hands-on immersion in this comprehensive epicurean experience have an opportunity for exactly that in the educational program at Mission Hill. The winery's state-of-the-art kitchen, complete with a theater, doubles as a classroom for private culinary classes, where novices and professionals alike can explore topics ranging from the dynamics of food and wine pairings to an entire workshop dedicated to bacon.

All of these efforts are part of a singular, straightforward goal at Mission Hill: bringing the food closer to the plate, and bringing the guests closer to their food. Mission Hill Estate Winery's foundation for curating an award-winning restaurant is more than having an exemplary kitchen and dining room; it is an all-inclusive experience celebrating the knowledge that what is here, wherever "here" is, is unlike anywhere else in the world.