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CheckMate Winery

A Story of Brand, Values and Terroir

Olson Kundig

CheckMate Winery
By Elisa Grossi -

Designed by the Seattle-based practice Olson Kundig, CheckMate Winery lies nestled among the vineyards of Okanagan Valley not far from the town of Oliver in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The geometrical forms of this 2,200 sq. m plus two-story production site and visitor area slice into the gently sloping hills typical of the region, an eloquent testimony of the company’s longstanding craft winemaking traditions, famous especially for its production of Chardonnay and Merlot.

The project sprung from the need to redesign and extend the existing facility, on the condition that any new construction work would not interrupt the winemaking business. In fact, the program allowed business as usual during the whole process. The visitor area was moved to a small temporary structure aptly named CheckMate Winery Pop-Up. Overlooking the rows of vines in the valley below, this 53 sq. m steel and glass tasting room with a timber-lined interior is surrounded on three sides by corrugated metal elements, which, when lifted, act as shading canopies.
A compact flexible structure, it was designed to allow relocation to any of CheckMate’s sister companies in the Von Mandl Family Estates group founded by Anthony von Mandl, who has made the Okanagan Valley an internationally renowned destination for wine experts and enthusiasts.

Olson Kundig also designed two other wineries in British Columbia for the group: the Mission Hill Family Estate Winery and the Martin’s Lane Winery, the latter receiving the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) National Architecture Honor Award in 2021.

A major challenge for the architects with the CheckMate Winery was to balance the need to blend the building into the landscape while at the same time not hiding it and so making it difficult for visitors to reach. In addition to this practical consideration, the new architecture had to reflect the company’s brand identity....

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