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.
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 center 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.