Big news at Mission Hill, President Darryl Brooker is leaving the winery.
Brooker has worked some twenty-five years in the wine business and has made the personal decision to transition into another, agricultural-based industry. Brooker told me it wasn't an easy decision. Leaving was a hard and heartfelt choice as he not only loves the wine business but Mission Hill Family Estate and all the opportunities Anthony von Mandl had provided him since joining the company as a winemaker in 2014. In the end, he found himself at a stage in life where he felt like he had one opportunity to strike out on his own, to do something completely different outside of the wine industry, and an opportunity he couldn't refuse for himself and his family. He's not at liberty to say just yet where he is headed, but he told me it was all good, and his departure from the Mission Hill team is completely amicable.
Brooker leaves behind an amazing team, vineyards and wines that he could not be more proud of, and in the knowledge that Mission Hill Family Estate is even better-positioned to take its place on the international wine stage. Among his many accomplishments, all the von Mandl family's vineyards' complete transition to organic farming may be at the top. I would add on a personal note he was one of the easiest people in the wine business to talk to about any subject, anytime. He answered his phone as quickly as anyone in any business and always with a friendly greeting.
Darryl has earned both his colleagues' and his peers' admiration, and I'm guessing everyone wishes him the greatest success in the future. For his part, he is secure in knowing his team is in place to take the wines and vineyards to the next stage, and Mission Hill could not be more ready to embrace the future.