GREAT WINE STARTS IN THE VINEYARDS. Five different vineyard sites, five different locations, each an expression of their soil and mesoclimate. At CheckMate, everything is tended to by hand: all the canopy management, leaf-pulling and cluster-thinning is done manually to ensure precision and gentleness.
Southwest of the town of Oliver, this vineyard contains what may be the oldest Chardonnay plantings in Canada. Located beneath Mt. Kobau and the Thompson Plateau, these vines were planted 40+ years ago. An extraordinary distinctive Chardonnay clone, to this day of unknown origin, that we call Dekleva.
The predominantly gravelly and coarse Stemwinder, Ponderosa, and Ratnip soils that define this site originated from the fluvial fan deposits of the mountain above.
The neighbouring hills moderate the region’s typical extreme temperatures, allowing the mature vines to carry late-ripening fruit longer than vineyards on the opposite side of the Valley.
These factors impart added ripeness while preserving the grape’s natural acidity, delivering beautifully balanced wines.
Nestled in the Okanagan Highland foothills of the Black Sage Bench just southeast of the town of Oliver, these Chardonnay blocks were planted in 1999 on a west-facing plateau.
Our viticulturists describe the site as a near-perfect, self-contained micro-terroir with fine-grained and well-drained soil.
The porous nature of the soil produces low-yielding, small grape clusters concentrated in flavour.
This single block, planted in 1997 to the Dijon clonal material, is a mere thirty feet from the BC-Washington border on the east side of Osoyoos Lake.
The vineyard, with Anarchist Mountain towering above it to the east, has a slight undulation. The soil here is fine-textured sands deposited by glacial melt water at the end of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago. The vines here dig their roots deep into the nutrient-poor sandy loam for trace elements.
A longer growing season and a warmer mesoclimate allow this site to remain virtually frost free. The result is a very subtle malic acid effect, producing wines that are racier in style with a bit of a wild element.
Situated to the south of the Barn Vineyard, this vineyard was planted to clones Dijon 76 & 95 over 20 years ago. The vineyard’s unique row orientation combines with variations in elevation between the two micro-blocks and the porous soils of the Black Sage Bench to create distinctive fruit.
Checkmate’s estate vineyard, neighboring the Dekleva Vineyard, is perhaps the oldest Chardonnay planting in Canada. The gnarly vines, of unknown clonal origin, are deeply rooted in the Golden Mile Bench soils and utilize them to full potential.