Le Clos Jordan Winery
Last week, at a special presentation, the principals of Canadian-based, Vincor International and Boisset, La Famille des Grands Vins, of Nuits-St-Georges, France, revealed the design for Le Clos Jordan Winery in Canada’s Niagara Peninsula.
Frank Gehry’s presence was on a large screen via a satellite link from California where he is recuperating from back surgery. The winery is Toronto-born Frank Gehry’s very first Canadian commission.
The project was announced in June 2000, the year the principal vineyard was planted with vines shipped from a nursery in Burgundy, France. The hope is that the winery will be completed in time for the vineyard’s first release in 2006.
The winery will be sited at the center of Le Clos Jordan’s principal 35-acre vineyard, on the gently sloping Jordan Bench of the Niagara Escarpment. Surrounded by environmentally protected forest and woodlands, the winery will be hidden from view, some 1,500 feet from the nearest road.
As visitors drive around the edge of the vineyard, the winery will slowly reveal itself, complementing the landscape as a gently flowing structure with softly curving white stucco walls and an undulating metal roof, reflecting the natural landscape and the sky. It is yet to be determined whether the roof will be titanium or stainless steel.
Gehry sees the roof as “a silver cloud floating over the vineyard with the winery spreading out beneath it.”
The winery will operate on multiple levels both above and below grade to take advantage of the natural gravity flow within the winemaking process. Sections for each of the key stages in wine making, including grape crushing, de-stemming, pressing, tank and barrel fermentation, together with a tasting lounge, a wine boutique, and a glass-enclosed gathering area in the red wine cellar, would be organized around a central, great hall from which each area would be clearly visible.
The current design for the great hall calls for a series of floor-to-ceiling (possibly colored) glass columns soaring dramatically from their base in the underground cellar. Visitors will be guided through the winery via suspended catwalks and pathways at and below ground level.
Designed to both accommodate and inspire the process of making exceptional red and white wines, the building will offer an exciting and informative experience for visitors who would be guided through all areas of the winery unobtrusively via suspended catwalks and pathways at and below ground level.
Speaking on behalf of a team of 14 architects that have been working on the Le Clos Jordan winery project, Gehry was enthusiastic about the results:
|We’ve worked to create a precedent-setting facility in which they’ll produce wines that will be among the best in the world. Some aspects of the design have been a breakthrough for us.|
|/Edwin Chan, Project Designer, and part of the Project Team in the “Le Clos Jordan Winery” design area at the FOGA Santa Monica office.|
|Frank and his team have shown great sensitivity to the natural beauty of the vineyard by creating shapes that grow gently out of our unique terroir.|
|/Jean-Charles Boisset, Vice-President, Boisset.|
|Working with Frank Gehry has been a dream come true. The process took many twists and turns and is still evolving, However, what we see today is a very real expression of what we expect from our Le Clos Jordan wines ? it is a real feast for the senses. As our wines pleasure the palate, so the design of the winery, both inside and out, will be a beautiful experience for our eyes and our imagination.|
|/Don Triggs, President and CEO, Vincor International|