For the next few months, the Okanagan will be home to a temporary structure by an internationally-acclaimed architect—and oenophiles can bask in its glory with a glass or three of wine.
Tom Kundig, who has already built two iconic wineries for Anthony von Mandl (Mission Hill and Martin’s Lane), created a pop-up tasting room for von Mandl’s superb, small-production CheckMate Artisanal Winery. The edifice, really a work of art, was designed and built at Kundig’s studio in Seattle, then dismantled and shipped to the Okanagan, and put back together, with a splendid outcome.
Called The Installation, it is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until mid-October. It means that guests will be able to taste CheckMate wines onsite at the winery, near Oliver, for the first time. Four wines per day, perhaps more, will be poured, including selections from the current 2014 vintage chardonnays and the 2013 merlots. A library selection chardonnay from 2013 will also be available each day. “It will be interesting to hear what people think of the wines,” says winemaker Phil McGahan, who will be on hand many of the days to interact with guests. “It is an opportunity for us to see how the wines perform.” Opportunity, also, for people to taste wines that are not actually available at retail, but only through the winery’s website.
These exceptional, world-class, small-lot vintages are already making a name for themselves on the world stage. This is a great chance to try some of them, and even maybe a cellar-exclusive, only 25 cases made, of a Bear’s Move chardonnay fermented in a ceramic vessel. It might be best to get there early.