It feels strange to say I had a ‘summer job’. At the time, I was 29 and well established in my career – to say that I had a ‘summer job’ feels akin to being back in university and working somewhere menial for a few months, in hopes of earning some dollars to bring back for the next semester. This past summer was nothing like that.
My summer employer was the most well established, most recognizable, and likely, the most familiar winery in British Columbia. Perhaps, even Canada? I spent the summer making delicious pastries and breads at Mission Hill Family Estate, located in West Kelowna. (Here is the link to the post where I was offered the chance to work there). The restaurant, aptly named The Terrace, is an alfresco pier of sandstone-coloured concrete, boasting the best vineyard and lake views in the area. Travel + Leisure Magazine rated the Terrace in their Top 5 Winery Restaurants in the World…. “one of the top five winery restaurants in the world…the centerpiece of the Canadian wine tourism industry…one of the most glorious dining experiences around.”
It’s a pretty phenomenal place. To be honest, I had only visited Mission Hill once before, on a wine touring getaway in summer 2010. But to spend some time here, to get to taste the incredible portfolio of wines, and to have the chance to work in such a stunning setting made for a pretty incredible summer. Every corner of the winery is thoughtfully designed, beautifully lit, and even at the end of the summer, the setting was still breathtaking. That’s not to say that it was all easy…because it wasn’t. It is challenging enough to prepare extremely high quality product on a regular day, but when combined with an epic number of guest visits (reservations for The Terrace would often be sold out far in advance), plus private catering events, plus 35 degree temperatures outside…. it was exhausting and we had trouble keeping up with the demand. But looking back, it was a pretty wonderful way to spend a summer. Part of me is yearning to go back….
These photos have been hanging out on my computer since the summer, but with the frigid temperatures outside on this chilly February evening, it makes my heart happy to relive the summer of 2011…without the heatstroke.