June 25, 2019
When he was born, Graham Nordin's father bought a case of port that bore the same name he'd just bestowed upon his son. For years, that liquid gold was stored in a special fridge that had its own lock that, despite his teenaged attempts, could not be picked.
Almost two decades later, when he reached legal drinking age, his father produced the key to the fridge.
"He pulled out a bottle of Graham’s Port from the year I was born that he had been saving, that was now nineteen years old," remembers Nordin, "We opened it and drank it together; just the two of us. That was my moment of connection; that wine brings family together. It's part of our history and it evokes emotion. That's the power of wine."
Nordin is Director of Wine Experience for Mission Hill Family Estate winery in British Columbia. He spent years in the hospitality industry, before transitioning to the wine business and coming to Mission Hill, a winery that's been around since 1981, and one that has a longstanding reputation for quality, and tasty, easy to drink wines.
Mission Hill has several vineyards today and has grown over the years to become one of B.C.'s larger producers, yet Nordin points out they still keep that small-town mentality; one where knowing your customers' names and doing things by hand are the order of the day.
"It's still a family-owned winery today and it truly is a family estate winery. We really are a top-quality wine producer in Canada's own backyard. We take things from the grape all the way to the glass," says Nordin.
Mission Hill aims to bring Canadians the story of the unique Okanagan land, culture and character—in a bottle. Nordin says that while they have a loyal customer base in Alberta already, they may gain some new fans with a significant change the winery is making to its farming.
"We're in the process right now of a really exciting transition to organics," shares Nordin, "In 2017, we began transitioning all of our estate-owned vineyards here in the Okanagan Valley to one hundred percent certified organic and organically farmed. It's a significant commitment."
Organic farming typically excludes the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, and the aim is to create a more natural product where the main ingredient, in this case the grapes, can take center stage.
"We have a philosophical belief that it's our responsibility to leave the land better than when we got it. Our commitment to organic viticulture and grape growing is just one of the things we're very passionate about. We believe that it’s the right thing to do for the land; and, that the quality of the grapes will ultimately translate into the bottle. Great wine starts in the vineyard."
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer stocks more than a dozen different Mission Hill wines, including the Mission Hill Five Vineyards line and the Mission Hill Reserve label.
Nordin says that the team at Mission Hill just wants Canadians to enjoy the fruits of Canada's wine industry.
"For our Alberta customers who may not yet have tried our wines, we encourage you to pick up a bottle of Mission Hill. There's incredible quality and authenticity from our entire range that whether a customer picks up a bottle of Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Noir, or they pick up a bottle of our Reserve Chardonnay, I think they can be assured of the quality that’s in that bottle."
Find Mission Hill wines at a Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer location near you.
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