Locally sourced materials reflect the local terroir.


The Fort Berens Winery in Lillooet is nestled in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Lillooet is a small town rich in culture and history and is set amid rugged, awe-inspiring geography.

The building and landscaping were carefully designed through a synergetic process between client and architect. The main design goals prescribed a modern, beautiful and functional building with a welcoming atmosphere, constructed using locally sourced and exposed materials such as Douglas fir, site poured concrete and native vegetation and plants.

The main public space is a 1300 s.f. tasting room which provides stunning views of the valley and surrounding vineyards. Guests observe the massive tanks in the fermentation room through strategically placed windows.

A commitment to sustainability resulted in a compact building footprint that is in part below grade to help control temperature and humidity and reduce energy consumption. The structure is oriented to take advantage of natural light and the west roof features a significant overhang to minimize solar gain.

The building reflects the philosophy of the Fort Berens brand and its connection to the land and provides a beautiful space for both user and guest.

Photography: Steven Evans   Designed In Collaboration with David Agro Architect


The building is oriented and also provides a west facing overhang to reduce heat gain and to take advantage of natural light inside, while at the same time providing the best views of the property around the building.

The ceilings of our tasting room are raised above typical room height to provide stunning views of the vineyard and Fraser Valley and also to make the room feel larger than it actually is. The “colder” modern materials (concrete, steel structure, and glass) are offset with “warm” materials like Douglas Fir wood beams, doors and trim.  The walls are painted white and the tops of the wine tasting bar are also white to emphasize the warmth of the wood and to provide a neutral background to display our wines.

Fermentation tanks housed in a milti leveled space. 

The two barrels rooms were designed to be able to cellar our white and red wines in different conditions. The barrel cellars are temperature and humidity controlled to ensure optimal aging conditions. Combined, the barrel cellars have the capacity to hold 300 barrels. The warehouse can store up to 7,000 cases.

A significant effort was made to place the 1,300 sf tasting room in the most optimal position for providing a simple ease of access for visitors, the best view of the valley and vineyards, as well as providing aesthetically controlled glimpses of the winemaking functions.

.  Fermentation tanks and piping can be seen behind the large glass doors on the north façade or bins of grapes waiting to be crushed might be seen on the crush platform.  This draws the visitors close to the building and then into the entry.  

 As visitors open the oversize wood doors to enter, they step into a welcoming tasting room with a stunning view overlooking the Fraser River Valley, the mountains beyond and the vineyard below.

A corridor provides aesthetically controlled glimpses of the winemaking functions.

The building is designed to reveal functional aspects of the winery (with windows from the tasting room) so that visitors can see the process of creating the wine from grape to bottle.

The approach to the building subtly heightens the visitors’ sense of arrival and interest by revealing functional aspects of the winemaking operation

We designed the building to provide a modern and welcoming atmosphere as well as hospitality functions that encourage our visitors to linger and savour their visit to Fort Berens.

 The building can be seen from most parts of Lillooet and from adjacent highways, attracting attention as a significant attraction.