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Master architect Frank Gehry presents design plans for Le Clos Jordan winery in Canada's Niagara peninsula 

The long-awaited design for Vincor’s new winery, Le Clos Jordan, designed by the world-renowned architect, Frank Gehry, was finally unveiled today (July 9th).

During a special presentation held in the Town of Lincoln in the Niagara Peninsula, the principals of Canadian-based Vincor International and Boisset, La Famille des Grands Vins, of Nuits-St-Georges, France, provided updates on their new vineyard estate, Le Clos Jordan.

The winery will be sited at the centre of Le Clos Jordan’s principal 35-acre vineyard, on the gently sloping Jordan Bench of the Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, near the Town of Lincoln. Surrounded by environmentally protected forest and woodlands, the winery would be hidden from view, some 1,500 feet from the nearest road (Regional Road 81.) As visitors drive around the edge of the vineyard, the winery would slowly reveal itself, complementing the landscape as a gently flowing structure with softly curving white plaster walls and an undulating metal roof, reflecting the natural landscape and the sky.

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, and 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 columns soaring dramatically from their base in the underground cellar.

Labour of Love

Speaking on behalf of a team of 14 architects who have been working on the Le Clos Jordan winery project, Frank Gehry was enthusiastic about the results. "We have been guided by the passion that our clients at Vincor and Boisset have for wine and winemaking," he said. "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. And, on a personal note," he added, "I am very excited at the prospect of working in Canada."

His most noted buildings include the Nationale-Nederlanden ("Ginger and Fred") Building in Prague, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington.

"We are absolutely thrilled with Frank’s design plans for our winery," said Jean-Charles Boisset, Vice-President, Boisset. "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.' They have also embraced every stage of the winemaking process with an extraordinary understanding of the characteristics of both Burgundy and Canada."

The principal vineyard at Le Clos Jordan was planted in 2000, with vines shipped from a nursery in Burgundy. The planting material was carefully selected to match the clay loam soils of the Jordan Bench setting on the Niagara Escarpment. Adjacent to the principal Le Clos Jordan site, two more recently acquired vineyard properties are also under development. The first, comprising 27 acres, was planted in 2000 and the second, with approximately 75 acres, is just ready for planting. Together they bring the total size of Le Clos Jordan estate to 137 acres, 75% dedicated to Pinot Noir and 25% to Chardonnay.




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