|Since the release of its first bottles in 2015, CheckMate Artisanal Winery has established a reputation as the most acclaimed new winery in Canada. From its vineyards in the Okanagan Valley, CheckMate creates exceptionally limited, ultra-premium Chardonnays and Merlots that have captivated many of the world’s most discerning wine experts — more than ninety 90 plus point scores domestically and internationally, including 13 such scores from the authoritative Wine Spectator magazine.
This summer, CheckMate’s tasting room, “The Installation” is the perfect environment to experience its globally celebrated wines. Located in Oliver, BC, and designed by internationally renowned Seattle architect Tom Kundig, “The Installation” is an intriguing work of art. Encompassed in perforated corrugated metal shutters, a steel-and-glass space opens to reveal floor-to-ceiling windows. In turn, those windows reveal a breathtaking 360-degree view of the surrounding vineyards that step down into the valley below. While discovering and tasting CheckMate’s acclaimed $80-and-up wines, visitors to The Installation simultaneously enjoy a one-of-a-kind perspective of the terroir that has filled their glass.
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. Additionally, The Installation allows visitors a first-hand view of developments at Checkmate, including extensive new Chardonnay plantings on its home estate, and construction of winery improvements such as a stunning year-round tasting room and hospitality wing.
CheckMate’s winemaker, Philip McGahan, left his previous post in Sonoma County, California, after being seduced by the Okanagan on his first visit in 2013. He encourages all lovers of wine — whether beginner or expert, well-travelled or not — to take advantage of the unique experience that is The Installation. “See all the vineyard sites as you sample world-class Chardonnay and Merlot,” he says. “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 offering, 2015 Queen’s Advantage Chardonnay, from the Combret Vineyard — CheckMate’s home estate on the Golden Mile Bench, planted in 1973 to what are now some of the oldest Chardonnay vines in Canada. The offering also includes first access to the 2015 Capture Chardonnay, from the Border Vista Vineyard adjacent to the U.S.-Canadian border on Osoyoos Lake Bench.
The Installation is once again open for the summer season, 11am-6pm daily, for tutored tastings. An appointment is recommended, from checkmatewinery.com/visit or 250.707.2299.