A new Kelowna winery could be twice as tall as normally permitted because it includes an Iranian-styled observation tower.

Buildings where alcohol is made are normally limited to 9.5 metres in height.

But the owners of Azhadi Vineyards on Shayler Road in the McKinley area of north Glenmore have plans for a 19.5 metre tower "designed to resemble a Persian wind catcher/passive cooling tower", municipal planners write in a report to city council.

They will recommend at a Sept. 21 meeting that city council approve the necessary height variance. The observation tower is a unique architectural feature, planners say, and it won't block anyone's view of Okanagan Lake.

A winery has been planned at the site since 2005. Grapes were planted three years ago, and the vineyard now covers 18 acres. The operation and proposed building design are compliant with all relevant city policies except for the height issue.

"There are significant architectural motifs from Iranian architecture that are cleverly combined with more modern western architectural features," states part of a letter to the city written on behalf of winery owner Mike Azhadi.

"The height variance permits the use of these architectural features to help create an intimate sanctuary based on ancient Persian teachings of Good thoughts, Good deeds, Good words," the letter states.
Last month, West Kelowna city council blocked plans for a 35-metre tall observation tower at a new winery because it would have required the city to spend $200,000 on new high-rise training and equipment for firefighters.