Daily bite: Checkmate Winery combines the art of wine making and architecture with new tasting room

CheckMate Winery, in Okanogan, B.C., opens an architecturally bold tasting room, created by the world-renowned architect, Tom Kundig. 

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Wine cellars are always cool (literally), but this summer, CheckMate Artisanal Winery has taken cool to a new level as they combine the art of winemaking and architecture to make for one cool tasting room called The Installation for guests to experience its globally celebrated wines. Located in Oliver, B.C., and designed by internationally renowned Seattle architect Tom Kundig, The Installation is an intriguing work of art that's bold and brilliant, and unlike anything else in the Okanogan. 

Tom Kundig is an owner and design principal of Seattle-based Olson Kundig. Kundig has received some of the world’s highest design honors, including a National Design Award in Architecture from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and an Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy as an Academician in Architecture. Kundig is known for his elemental approach to design, where rugged materials are left in raw or natural states to soften over time with exposure to the elements and to human touch.

Kundig’s The Installation is true to his approach: it is surrounded by perforated corrugated metal shutters, and a steel-and-glass space opens to showcase floor-to-ceiling windows, revealing a beautiful 360-degree view of the surrounding vineyards in the valley below.

Since the release of its first bottles in 2015, CheckMate has established a reputation as one of the most acclaimed new wineries in Canada. 

Four to six wines are featured at each tasting, including a selection of CheckMate’s 2014 chardonnays, the inaugural vintage of the 2013 merlots, and one library chardonnay from the 2013 vintage, along with the occasional surprise wine. There is also a cellar-exclusive wine available for tasting and purchase.

“See all the vineyard sites as you sample world-class chardonnay and merlot,” says Philip McGahan, CheckMate’s winemaker. “Let wine, stunning countryside and architectural brilliance fill your senses.”

As well, CheckMate recently launched its CheckMate Artisanal Winery Membership. Available as six- and 12-bottle programs, members receive priority access to the winery’s new offerings, including first access to its inaugural single-vineyard offerings.