John Simes’ vision is clear: the best wine, and a commitment to protect and nurture the land.
Born and raised in New Zealand, his love affair with the wine business began during a three-year journey that took him around the world as he sought to discover all there is to know about making wine.
He returned home in 1978 and became the newest member of Montana Wines, New Zealand’s best known winery. In 1990, as the winemaker responsible for Montana’s benchmark Sauvignon Blanc, John received his first trophy from London’s influential International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC).
By 1991, he was promoted to Chief Winemaker of Montana’s four wineries, but he was getting restless and began searching for a new challenge. He met Anthony von Mandl during a visit to British Columbia and it was soon apparent that both men shared a philosophy based on quality. During that trip, he walked the vineyards and tasted the fruit and immediately understood the region’s potential. He joined Mission Hill in 1992 partway through harvest and went to work on the Grand Reserve Barrel Select Chardonnay.
As the leader of the viticulture and winemaking teams at Mission Hill Family Estate, John’s obsession with quality has resulted in a host of significant accomplishments and international recognition. The highlights of which include: winning the prestigious Avery Trophy in 1994 for ‘Best Chardonnay in the World’ at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in the United Kingdom, bringing home North America’s only Gold Medal from the 2001 Chardonnay du Monde Competition in France and earning the distinction of being named ‘Winery of the Year’ at the 2011 InterVin International Wine Awards and ‘Canadian Wine Producer of the Year’ at the 2011 International Wine & Spirit Competition in the United Kingdom.
John Simes is a true pioneer ideally suited to the emerging Canadian industry. He and his team believe the proof is in every bottle of Mission Hill Family Estate wine, a philosophy shared by Proprietor Anthony von Mandl.