Grand winery openings see Napa rise
The rise of premium wine sales in the US has prompted a number of new winery and hospitality centres to spring up at some of the best GPS coordinates in Napa Valley.
B Cellars, a premium winery and tasting salon on the Silverado Trail in Calistoga is relocating to an historic property in the Oakville AVA.
Its new neighbors will include Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon heavy hitters Silver Oak, Plumpjack, and Rudd.
The new address, 701 Oakville Cross Road, expands over 11.5 acres. The property was purchased by Bill Cameron, Chairman and CEO of Oklahoma-based American Fidelity Group, a longtime strategic investor in B Cellars, in partnership with the winery’s co-founders, Duffy Keys and Jim Borsack.
The property was previously owned by the Miller family who sought a winery permit in 2007 but remained devoted to raising champion horses, never building a winery. Prior to the Millers, the property had several other agricultural uses – the first recorded deed dates back to 1875.
B Cellars creates premium blends from Napa Valley’s best vineyard addresses including To Kalon, Dr. Crane, Georges III, Star and Stagecoach. The owners work closely with Napa Valley’s top grower, Andy Beckstoffer.
The project, by architectural firm Hart, Howerton, includes a 5,000-square-foot hospitality house overlooking the vineyards and an interactive demonstration kitchen to be co-led by Chef Christina Machamer, winner of Fox TV’s Hell’s Kitchen (Season 4), and culinary director Brian Green. There will be an herb garden, bocce court, and outdoor dining terraces, and the hillside property now has 15,000 feet of caves for barrel storage.
Co-owner, Jim Borsack, said of the new winery, “It will be the most beautiful girl at the ball, without showing off.”
The roofs and walls of the buildings are made of corrugated corten metal and the garden walls of rammed earth from the excavated caves.
B Cellars’ new home is set to open to the public later this Spring.
Visit B Cellars on the web at bcellars.com.
Odette Estate Winery
While B Cellars is making its move, Odette Estate is making its mark on the Silverado Trail. Formerly the Steltzner Winery, the new estate is located on more than 45 acres in the Stags’ Leap district. Odette is a sister winery to Plumpjack and CADE owned by John Conover, Gavin Newsom and Gordon Getty.
Being built with innovative green elements, the new structures are the talk of the town. The steel-framed, circular roof of the new winery will have ridges containing four inches of soil planted with living greenery. The roof plantings will provide natural insulating properties. The winery building itself can be fully opened from the front and back to provide for a natural cooling effect.
Also topping the winery are 2,500 square feet of solar panels which will provide 30,000 kilowatts of power. The use of polycarbonate paneling throughout the building creates light without the use of power. Instead of air-conditioning, there will be a large fan to circulate air through the space.
For the design, Juancarlos Fernandez of Signum in St. Helena, took a unique eye to the project. There are twelve 16-foot curvaceous aluminium screens that cover the entrance to the new building. The design concept was taken from the shape of a corseted evening gown. The large screens are moveable and let air and light into the entrance area while providing some protection from the region’s generous sun.
The winery structure is stage three of the four-stage project. Already completed is the modernisation of 15,000 square feet of caves and, in keeping with the stress on green construction, the remodelling of an existing building for the hospitality centre.
“It was a greener choice to remodel than to tear down and rebuild the hospitality building”, director of marketing for Odette, Plumpjack and CADE, Christian Oggenfuss, explains. The result is a California-style, modern ranch which will be further expanded in the final and fourth phase of the project. The new hospitality centre will officially open next year.
The 36 acres of estate vineyard are also getting a make-over; they are being converted to 100% organic farming. All of this work is just in time for the inaugural release of the winery’s Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon in February 2015.
You can visit Odette online at odetteestate.com.
HALL St. Helena
The HALL St. Helena construction has been in the works for several years and the opening has been one of the most anticipated in the valley. The project, at the St. Helena location on Highway 29, includes the restoration of the historic 1885 Bergfeld winery which has been used to produce wine for the last century in the valley.
The restored winery retains its solid stone first floor and includes the work of numerous artists such as hand-blown glass pendants created by Italian glasswork artist, Tristano di Robilant, for a grand room chandelier; a unique audio/visual presentation by Pakistani-American artist, Shahzia Sikander, which will be projected off of the side of the stone facade for evening events; and a 43 foot table designed to look like floating Redwood tree halves.
Not to be outdone, the new hospitality centre takes on a modern look and includes its own unique features. The centrer has floor to ceiling glass windows which act like a transparent glass curtain letting the space meld with its wine country surroundings. A second floor terrace brings guests outside to enjoy wine with a view. Entertaining educational activities and a new culinary centre that can accommodate 60 guests for dinner will add to the visitor experiences.
“The Visitor Center at HALL St. Helena has been a labor of love for many years now and it is such a dream come true for Craig and I to see it completed,” says Founder and Vintner Kathryn Walt Hall. “The Center brings together everything that HALL Wines celebrates – amazing wine, inspiring art, a commitment to the environment and a focus on state-of-the-art winemaking. We are so excited to share our passion with the Napa community and invite visitors to the region to see it firsthand.”
The architect, Jarrod Denton of St. Helena’s Signum, worked with colleague Alison Maloney on the visitor centre. Interior designer Nicole Hollis complemented their work and intertwined elements with the Halls’ extensive art collection.
HALL produces Bordeaux-style wines with a concentration on cabernet sauvignon. The St. Helena Visitor Center is now open for private tours (on the hour) and private events, featuring several new indoor/outdoor experiences accommodating groups of all sizes and limitless customisation options.
Drive around the valley and you’ll see plenty of other construction projects in the works. The outlook is sunny in the Napa Valley, no matter the weather forecast.
Visit hallwines.com for more information.