'Visionary' to design new Canadian winery

  • Thursday 12 April 2001

Visionary architect Frank O Gehry has has been chosen to design a new winery in Canada's Niagara Peninsula.

The Le Clos Jordan vineyard is a joint venture between Vincor International, Canada's largest wine company and Boisset, France's biggest Burgundy producer. The winery should produce its first wines – premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – in 2005.

The 40-hectare vineyard lies on the rich clay loam soils of the Jordan Bench of the Niagara Escarpment and is surrounded by a natural woodland reserve. The project, scheduled to open in 2002, includes a tasting centre, a library and the winemaking facility itself. Gehry's designs are in their infancy but the architect has said he is likely to use steel and titanium in the construction.

Gehry, 71, is celebrated as one of the most daring and innovative architects working today. His Guggenheim Museum in the port of Bilbao in northern Spain, a vast, freeform, titanium-clad structure which opened in 1997, is regarded as a masterpiece of modern architecture. His best-known works include the Frederick R Weisman museum in Minneapolis, and the Ginger and Fred 'dancing building' in Prague.

The Niagara project is the second wine-related building Gehry – who was raised in Toronto - is designing. He is also working on a new winery for Marques de Riscal in Rioja's El Ciego in Spain. That too is due for completion in 2002 – models show it to be a freeform design echoing the radical lines the Guggenheim. It is said to be inspired by the graceful movement of the flamenco dancer.

'Frank Gehry is undoubtedly one of the great architects of the 20th century,' Vincor president Don Tiggs says. 'We are highly honoured to work with him on the design of our new winery. What is more, it is the first time he has had a chance to design something in his country of origin, Canada'.

Jean-Charles Boisset, vice-president of Boisset says, 'Having a great visionary participate in the planning of our domaine is an extraordinary opportunity. We look forward to his interpretation of a new age winery inspired by the winemaking traditions of many centuries'.

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