10 Things You Didn’t Know About Anthony von Mandl

Recognized as a vital force in the transformation of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley into a world-class wine-producing region, Anthony von Mandl’s journey isn’t a story solely about fine wines. Here, we’re exploring lesser-known aspects of the life of this international business tycoon, philanthropist, Officer of the Order of Canada and entrepreneur par excellence.

1. Origin and Early Life

Despite being a heavyweight in the Canadian wine industry, Anthony von Mandl was not born in Canada. He is originally from the European country of Austria. Born in 1950, he moved to British Columbia, Canada with his parents when he was young. His career in the beverage industry began modestly when he started importing wine from Europe to Canada.

Von Mandl attended the University of British Columbia, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business. The foundation he set during these early days, the skills he acquired, and his unyielding perseverance paved the way for his future success as an entrepreneur.

2. Mission Hill Family Estates

In 1981, he purchased a floundering winery, which he transformed into the internationally recognized, award-winning Mission Hill Family Estate. Today, it is known for producing some of the best wines in the world, winning accolades such as the ‘Best Pinot Noir Worldwide’ and ‘Best Chardonnay Worldwide.’

The iconic bell tower of Mission Hill offers a panoramic view of the beautiful vineyards and the Okanagan Lake – a testament to Anthony’s vision to transform the Okanagan Valley into Canada’s Napa Valley. His ambitious endeavors have significantly influenced the wine tourism landscape of British Columbia.

3. Man Behind Mike’s Hard Lemonade

Many don’t know that the massively popular alcoholic beverage – Mike’s Hard Lemonade, is another creation of Anthony von Mandl. Marketed under the Mark Anthony Group, which he founded in 1972, this product skyrocketed the company’s revenue and profile.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade was introduced in the late ’90s and immediately became a favorite in Canada and the United States. It was a significant shift from the wine industry, but von Mandl’s strategic foresight into the potential of flavored malt beverages paid off.

4. Not Just Beverages

Although von Mandl has made a significant impact in the beverage industry, his business interests expand beyond it. He is constantly on the lookout for innovative opportunities and ways to diversify. For instance, he has investments in technologies related to environmental sustainability.

Moreover, he also invests in real estate and farming with a focus on sustainability. Von Mandl’s multi-faceted investments and business ventures demonstrate his clear understanding of the importance of a diverse portfolio and staying versatile in business.

5. Philanthropy

Anthony von Mandl isn’t just about business, wine, and profits. He has a philanthropic side that is equally prominent. He believes in giving back to the community and has backed it up with generous donations to various causes including education, health, and arts.

Von Mandl notably donated $3 million to the construction of the Arts Student Centre at his alma mater, University of British Columbia. He was also a major donor to the BC Cancer Foundation’s fundraising campaign. These philanthropic endeavors show a deeply humane and compassionate side to this successful tycoon.

6. Awards and Recognition

Over the years, von Mandl has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions to the Canadian wine industry and entrepreneurship. He was named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 1999.

In 2016, Anthony was honored with a rare appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada. This prestigious recognition was for his unparalleled role in transforming the Okanagan Valley into a world-renowned wine region and for his extensive philanthropy in Western Canada.

7. Love for Art

What people might not know is that von Mandl shares an immense love for art. This is evident in the architecture and design of his wineries, which go beyond simple wine production facilities and take the shape of true cultural landmarks. Some of these establishments even house extensive art collections.

At Mission Hill, for instant, Anthony has commissioned the creation of unique pieces of art. These, along with the stunning architecture of the winery, has created a unique sanctuary that blends wine, food, and art together.

8. Remarkable Partnership with Robert Mondavi

In another surprising connection, von Mandl’s venture with Robert Mondavi resulted in the establishment of the prestigious joint venture, Arrowleaf Cellars. The collaboration is designed to create luxury wines that will rival the best in the world. This partnership solidified the Okanagan Valley’s position as a budding wine region.

The collaboration is a blending of two visionary minds in the world of wine. It’s noteworthy to mention that Robert Mondavi, just like von Mandl, was instrumental in putting California’s Napa Valley on the global wine map.

9. He’s Extremely Private

Despite his extensive success and influence in multiple sectors, Anthony von Mandl leads a very private life. He gives limited interviews and prefers to keep his personal life under wraps. Most of the information that’s in the public domain is related to his professional life. It’s this unique combination of public enterprise and private living that adds more mystique to his persona.

However, snippets of his personal philosophy do emerge occasionally. Known to value quality over quantity, von Mandl believes in patience and making the right decisions, rather than rushing business ventures.

10. Keeps Company of Royals

After revamping Mission Hill Family Estate, it quickly became a popular spot attracting high profile guests. The winery had the honor of hosting a private dinner for Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their royal tour in 2016. It was a testament to the Estate’s top-notch reputation and a highlight in von Mandl’s professional endeavors.

The royals specifically requested a tour of the vineyard, expressing their admiration for the work done there. This royal recognition was not just a personal achievement for Anthony, but a significant recognition for the Okanagan wine industry as a whole.

In conclusion, Anthony von Mandl, while being a behemoth in the beverage industry, is a man of many layers and facets. His impact on the Okanagan Valley, philanthropy, interest in the arts and environment, and his private nature, make him an intriguing figure, unwrapping a story that goes far beyond fine wines and beverages.

For more details about Anthony von Mandl and the companies he has built, follow these links:

Mission Hill Family Estate Winery
Mark Anthony Group
UBC Donation article