Women are leading the way at one of the top wineries in Canada’s premier wine-making region.
West Kelowna’s Mission Hill Family Estate Winery is synonymous with great tasting wine, mouth-watering food and gorgeous Okanagan Lake views. Those who patronize the well-known winery have several women to thank for a couple of those attractive attributes.
The head winemaker, soil scientist and sous chef are all women, and they are being celebrated this month due to International Women’s Day that was observed last week.
From the cellars to the kitchen to the vineyards, women are more than leaving their marks at Mission Hill.
Corrie Krehbiel is the head winemaker who grew up in the Okanagan and comes from a fourth generation fruit farming family. It’s not surprising Krehbiel ended up in her current role when you consider her summer job in high school was working in the cellar at CedarCreek Estate Winery under another female winemaker, Ann Sperling.
On the other hand, Krehbiel took a completely different route once she graduated from high school. When she started university at UBC she studied medicine but eventually switched to agriculture and food science. She worked in New Zealand for a year after graduation and then returned to where her heart was.
“I always knew I’d come back home to the Okanagan, and I realized the vast potential of the Okanagan to grow great wine,” says Krehbiel, who joined the Mission Hill team in 2015. “I’ve had winemaker roles at wineries all across the Okanagan. I settled as winemaker at Mission Hill Family Estate, where I really got to see the potential of winemaking in the Okanagan.”
Krehbiel wouldn’t be able to produce the quality wine she does were it not for Stephanie Vickers, who is Mission Hill’s soil scientist. Vickers' job is to analyze the soil to ensure the overall health of the vineyard and to ensure Mission Hill can grow the best grapes required for each variety. Most of her day is spent in the vineyard, sending electromagnetic currents down into the soil to measure water retention, soil types and nutrients.
Meanwhile, everyone knows that wine and food go together like peanut butter and jelly, which means Heather Brumwell’s position as the sous chef at Mission Hill’s Terrace Restaurant is an important one.
Brumwell has been around the world on her culinary adventure, working in a Michelin star restaurant in Rome before returning to Canada and ending up in Kelowna after a stop in Toronto. She works closely with farmers, foragers and local artisans to discover the most scrumptious seasonal products.
So next time you are at Mission Hill soaking up the views, savouring that glass of wine and enjoying a delicious lunch, remember the women who made it all possible.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.