BC Wineries for Your Bucket List
April is a time full of cherry blossoms, fresh spring air, and budding vineyards! BC wine month is a time to recognize and celebrate the amazing wineries that we are fortunate to have here in our province. While there are too many to list, these are two that hold a special place in our hearts. Checkmate Artisanal Winery and Martin’s Lane Winery continue to impress and over deliver on quality each year and are two of the most highly regarded wineries in BC.
Checkmate Artisanal Winery
Founded in 2012 by Anthony von Mandl, Checkmate is a boutique winery located in the town of Oliver, at the southern tip of the Okanagan Valley. The winery is focused on producing ultra-premium wines from Chardonnay and Merlot grapes, with a commitment to quality and sustainability. Checkmate's winemaking philosophy is centered around the idea that great wine starts in the vineyard, and sources grapes from five different vineyard sites in five different locations, each an expression of their soil and mesoclimate They use a combination of modern and traditional viticultural practices to produce grapes that are of the highest quality. Once the grapes are harvested, they are sorted by hand to ensure only the best fruit makes it into the winemaking process.
Since opening, Checkmate has consistently received renowned accolades from wine critics around the world, and was the first BC winery to be awarded a perfect 100-point score, which was for their 2015 Little Pawn Chardonnay.
Martin’s Lane Winery
Located in the northern part of British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, Martin’s Lane Winery sits perched above the lake. Warm days, cool nights and low rainfall in this area are optimal for Pinot Noir and Riesling to grow. As Pinot Noir is such a delicate grape, the winery itself is carved into the steep hillside, using gravity alone to enable the most gentle winemaking techniques. Harvested grapes enter the winery from the vineyard on the top level, then flow down through fermentation, into barrel and finally into the bottle, each time moving down a level of the building.
Along with the winery's unique design, artist Douglas Coupland was tasked to create a sculptural project entitled 'Project Redhead', to celebrate the opening of Martin's Lane. The project involved a global search for the man who most resembles Vincent Van Gogh, and the giant head sculpture greets guests as they arrive at the winery.
Cascadia Staff’s Top Picks
Checkmate - ‘Attack’ Chardonnay
Aromas of Asian spice with wet stones and flint on the nose. The palate has a zesty entry, with a hint of richness and minerals followed by a lingering flavor of lychee, ginger, and spice. This is a unique, modern Chardonnay that also pays homage to the old world.
Martin's Lane Simes Vineyard Pinot Noir
Supple and bright with sweet cherry and plum fruit.
At Cascadia Liquor, we believe in supporting local and are proud to champion many truly exceptional producers from our own backyard. Checkmate and Martin's Lane are two of the most highly regarded wineries in British Columbia, making them a fantastic highlight for this month. Both wineries are committed to producing ultra-premium wines from high-quality ingredients, with a focus on sustainability and terroir expression.
If you're a wine lover visiting British Columbia, a visit to these wineries is highly recommended.