A WINERY BY DESIGN
Some wineries are “barn conversions” that fortify and add onto the original structure, which makes for an interesting setting for a Napa Wine Country winery. There are other wineries that start from the ground up, with a unique design that seems almost to have always been there. . .
Topping the first hill inNapa wine countrya chorus of soft “Oh’s!” escapes from travelers taking in the panorama of graceful hills and valleys blanketed with neat rows of trellised grapes, running in uncooperative directions, that define one vineyard from another.
“So serene,” said one of the women, sighing, “I could die here.”
“But full of life,” said her friend, “I’d rather live here.”
“Let’s stop and take some pictures,” a pragmatic husband suggested.
Their guide (from A Taste of San Francisco and Beyond) was smiling when he said, “The best views are just ahead.”
The landscape was alive with vibrant color, light and textures. Ripe green grapes seemed to glow with an inner light of their own. Burgundy leaves are soft and velvety and with the sun coming from behind them and the lighting was perfect to capture the beautiful vistas. Back in the van, the group was busy comparing their images and asking each other for copies. Two guests were able to do so just by holding their phones together. Nice.
Resuming their wine country tour, they drove into the guest area of their first stop.
“Gorgeous!” and “Stunning!” were the comments upon seeing the compound that housed the winery.
These visitors, in their small group of eight, traveled in a boutique touring van and had all chosen their visit for September, when the vineyards are pressing their harvest. The weather is compatible and summer crowds have thinned, making the group feel more like guests than lined-up visitors.
In the same tradition of a fine hotel or restaurant, it is the trappings that lead to the enjoyment of an experience and this vintner has spared no effort to achieve the ultimate in ambiance for his tasting customers. Inside is a modern space that capture the attention with a study in contrast of gable wall, of dark and light wood shelving holding horizontal bottle storage, in dimensions that look very much like a brick pattern from a distance, with the contrasting lights and darks, at the end of the room. The dramatic effect of the intriguing design is seen again, reflected in a highly polished guest table.
At the top of the gable wall, filling the space up to the slopes of the ceiling, are half-casks, painted a light color and mounted in layers to produce a triangular geometry of round objects. More drama.
The lighting is soft, in delicate, warm colors, adding more charm to an already cordial atmosphere. Their use of this lighting is almost capricious in various sizes and colors of glass in globe shapes over each dark table surface. Giant Chess pieces sit around on the floor, just to be decorative, and the black leather sofa is as sleek as the rest of the room and generous with pillows for an invitation to relax and be comfortable.
A visit to an aging cave, quite often a reception area for public events, features rock-rough walls and up-lighting to emphasize its arced shape and texture. Glass globes hover over casks in neat arrangements on the floor and gleaming tables with crystal goblets and sparkling table ware, ready for tasting the contents–all together confirming the enviable reputation that this winery has achieved. The cave is the scene where our group is almost ready to sit for the tasting. The excitement builds.