As the Donum name means “Gift of the Land,” the 150 acre site serves as the generator of the program and building forms. Located in Sonoma County’s Carneros wine-growing region, Donum Estate’s primary design objective was to create an elegant set of dispersed winery buildings which frame an open-air sculpture garden featuring artists such as Ai Weiwei, Keith Haring and Fernando Botero.
Donum Estate produces only single-vineyard, estate wines from vineyards in Carneros, Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley. The bayside site is surrounded by rolling hills with views of the coastal range in the distance. The winemaking program takes advantage of the site’s high exposure to humid marine air by focusing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals.
The new Production and Hospitality Buildings pay homage to a dairy previously located on the site by observing a pattern of relatively small, white structures with gable roofs. While both buildings nestle themselves amongst the world-class art in the landscape, the Hospitality Building carries the art theme within the gallery-like interior. A series of enormous skylites define the north side of the vaulted ceiling of the Great Room and generous floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors capitalize on the surrounding views. The exterior is characterized by board-and-batten siding that vary in width and spacing, lending an appearance of undulating topography upon otherwise flat walls.
Like the Hospitality Building, the Production Building was locating on the footprint of a previous building to minimize impact on the site. The hillside footprint encouraged a traditional gravity-assisted program for winemaking with the Fermentation Room and Crush Pad housed above and the Barrel Storage Rooms contained within an elongated underground concrete box below. As the Fermentation Room is not conditioned, the skin of the building is delineated by staggered courses of horizontal metal panels with different patterns of perforations. The ethereal nature of the building perimeter generates playful light patterns within the building and evokes a dematerialized surface on the exterior.
While both the Production Building and Hospitality Building have been designed to augment any visitor’s experience at the Donum Estate, the structures also strive to focus attention outward to the immediate landscape and surrounding horizon. As wine ultimately comes from the grapes grown on the land, the vineyards are celebrated through framed vignettes and backdrops to world-class art.
Due to proximity to the Napa River, the new Titus Vineyards Winery was raised to sit atop a 5- to 8-foot-tall earthen berm to mitigate flood risk. Effort was then made to reduce the vertical height and profile of the building. Most of the perimeter walls were constructed with tilt-up board-formed concrete. The formwork and rebar were laid out on boards to create a striated texture. After curing, each of the walls was “tilted up” into place by crane, and special care was taken to coordinate imbedded metal anchors to receive the ends of the metal trusses in order to structurally interlock the roof and walls together.
The horizontal lines that define the board-formed concrete walls repeat in the Hospitality Room suspended ceiling, comprised of varied width and depth wooden slats. Glass blade LED light fixtures set between the slats maintain the linear theme. Offsetting the hard concrete floors and walls, the slatted ceiling baffles sound gently and mitigates acoustical resonance allowing intelligible conversation when multiple groups of guests are present. MH Architects also designed linear pendant fixtures over the Tasting Counter and in the individual Tasting Rooms. Suspended by pairs of minimal aircraft cables, the fixtures are comprised of rectilinear wooden blocks of alder to match the ceiling with an LED light slot on the bottom.
The distinction between the winery interior and the natural setting was intentionally blurred. Sliding glass Nana bi-fold doors span a 24-foot-wide opening between the Tasting Room and the exterior covered porch overlooking the vineyards to the west. The concrete floor and wood slat ceiling finishes continue uninterrupted between the interior and exterior. The Tasting Room space expands toward the covered porch and the crisp lines in the ceiling mirror the cultivated vineyard rows beyond.
Contractor: Facility Development Company
The Laird Tasting Room Remodel consisted of a new pyramid roof built over a brand new expanded tasting room, a major facelift for the original tasting room & an outdoor lounge and patio.
Photographer: Cesar Rubio Photography
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The conversion of an open office into a double-height tasting room combined custom cabinetry and light fixtures with a high level of craftsmanship throughout. The improvements include a new tasting counter, event space, retail display, and stair.
Photographer: Cesar Rubio Photography
While preserving the rich history of the gravity flow winery originally built in the 1800’s, FDC carefully renovated Murrieta’s Well, to make it the perfect setting for a special event. By adding a new terrace, landscaping, patios, and parking lot, the first impression of Murrieta’s Well is quite inviting. The first floor of the event space was expanded to make room for a new lobby entrance, waiter station, prep area, and storage room. The old stairs were removed and replaced with new stairs and an elevator to help take guests to the second floor. The upstairs was completely repurposed. Once lending home to offices, this space now houses a hospitality room, two tasting bars, bathrooms, kitchen, and a bridal suite.
Contractor: Facility Development Company
Photographer: Tim Maloney, Technical Imagery Studios
The new home of Venge Vineyards was completed in 2010. With only 3 months of construction time, and the use of Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings, FDC was able to deliver Kirk Venge and his team their new production facility. The project, totaling more than 10,000 SF, includes offices, bathrooms, barrel storage, fermentation, crush pad, and complete site improvements. FDC worked closely with the consultant and owner throughout the design process to ensure the new facility was well planned and executed in record time.
A central Fermentation Room is flanked by two Barrel Storage rooms on either end of a gable structure. The office and laboratory occupy enclosed rooms within the common vaulted space. The north end extends the gable for the benefit of covered Crush area.
Contractors: Facility Development Company
Working closely with the winemaker and staff of Gamble Family Vineyards, MH Architects served as consulting architect to design architect/architect of record Morgan Conolly for a winery production and storage facility recently completed in Yountville, California. MH Architects specific contribution was the integration of winery equipment and the optimization of production flow. The Crush Pad and Fermentation area share an open, compact, and highly organized space on the north side of the building.
A three-story concrete and steel winery is terraced into the dramatic topography of the high desert outside Ojos Negros. A trellis of solar panels shades a covered Crush Pad on the top level. Below, Fermentation and Barrel Storage levels are stacked like a traditional gravity-assisted facility. Visiting guests enjoy tasting events atop a tension-cable structure with views of the valley and mountains in the distance.
The new metal building addition is clad with stained cedar board and batten siding to match the existing winery campus. 10,000 gallon fermentation tanks are housed in center of the north gable, Barrel Storage is located in the south gable, and Crush occurs in the covered area in between. The new building augments the white wine program for the Kenzo Estate by 18,750 cases.
The two-story wood frame structure is nestled between the edge of the vineyard and the toe of the adjacent hillside. Fermentation and offices occupy the first floor. Hospitality and tasting take advantage of the view of Mount St. Helena on the second floor. Three cave portals are evenly spaced at two levels to benefit both barrel storage and tours.
MH Architects collaborated with Karen Jensen Architect for the renovation of the existing Visitor Center. The hospitality space adjacent to the cave portal doubled in size and finishes were upgraded throughout. Pocketed sliding doors between the tasting counter and a private tasting room offer enhanced flexibility for combining and separating rooms.