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Wineries, Design, and Architecture

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By Sophie Brochu
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From German-style stone barns to expansive châteaus, the following wineries are revered not only for excellent wine, but for beautiful design and architecture. Take your winery visit to the next level this summer by touring the grounds and learning about the winery’s unique history.

Tank Garage, for example, is built in a gas station that belonged to motorcycle mechanic/daredevil racer Eddie Bratton. The highlight at Faust Wines is a restored farmhouse and Prohibition-era cellar. At Mission Hill Family Estate, you can tour an outdoor amphitheater reminiscent of the Roman Arena di Verona.

Discover, explore, get inspired. Then, plan your next winery visit.

Ashes & Diamonds

Location: Napa, California

What to see:  The mid-century modern architecture has two standout features: a perforated zig-zag roof, which acts as a canopy, and an iconic trio of portholes that make up a state-of-the-art wine production facility.

What they say: “As you turn off Napa’s Highway 29 onto Howard Lane, you could easily mistake Ashes & Diamonds for a high-design college campus or perhaps the offices of Silicon Valley tech startup. But the mostly stark white buildings (designed by architect Barbara Bestor), one with a zigzag roof and the other with porthole windows, signal one of the most intriguing wineries to open in Napa Valley of late.” – Vogue

What to do: Enjoy a curated picnic on the rolling grass berms with charcuterie, crudités, and a bottle of terroir-driven wine.

Tank Garage Winery

Tank Garage Winery

Location: Calistoga, California

What to see:  Tank Garage is built out of a 1930-era gas station in the heart of Napa Valley.  The wine and design both celebrate the heart and soul of vintage California culture and creativity.

What they say: “The gas station was once owned by Eddie Bratton, a renowned Indian motorcycle mechanic and daredevil racer, and the tasting room’s design embodies a youthful, rebellious spirit….A 40-foot glass door rolls up to reveal the Lubrication Bar, where Bratton’s red 1947 Indian Chief is on display. There’s also a secret back room for members, with velvet walls and twinkling chandeliers reminiscent of a Prohibition-era speakeasy.” –Wine Enthusiast

What to do: Drink cool California wines in the tasting room. Chill outside under the shade of the umbrellas. Grab a seat at the lubrication bar. Don’t miss the vintage pinball machine.

Epoch Estate Wines

Epoch Estate Wines

Location: Templeton, California

What to see: The team behind Epoch inherited a historic winery that dates all the way back to 1882. They remodeled an abandoned farmhouse, stabilizing it with a new foundation. They also built a horse barn, which they say, “rivals the best in Texas.”

What they say: “The 17,000-square-foot steel-framed facility has an open-air fermentation space to take advantage of cool nighttime temperatures. The vaulted barrel room is constructed of board-formed concrete and is dramatically lit by two oculi. The tasting room is set in the former York Mountain Winery, which was condemned after an earthquake in 2003. Architect Brian Korte preserved the original redwood beams and utilized stones from the original cellar in the revitalized building.” –Architectural Digest

What to do: Visit the historically-storied tasting room to sip delicious 100% estate wines. The Tasting Room Educators will be there to walk you through the wines and the rich stories begging to be told about Epoch. You can also take in the breathtaking surroundings with a picnic in one of their outdoor seating areas. Go see it all for yourself atop York Mountain.

Domaine Carneros

Domaine Carneros

Location: Napa, California

What to see: The winery’s expansive château is a wine country landmark. Inspired by the classic 18th century Château de la Marquetterie in Champagne, France (home of Champagne Taittinger), the Domaine Carneros château was completed in 1989. It’s situated atop a knoll, surrounded by estate vineyards, and it features a grand staircase, formal gardens, expansive outdoor terraces, a marble-floored fireside salon, and breathtaking views.

What they say: “Designed by Napa’s Valley Architects, the luxe maison—with an opulent staircase, elegant salon, and impeccable gardens—is a grand place to take visiting out-of-towners for a fancy flight of sparklers. When you take a glass of the 2008 Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs out on the terrace, you’re guaranteed to feel like royalty.” –7×7

What to do: Book a daily tasting led by an experienced wine professional. You’ll be seated at a table on the outdoor terrace, overlooking the rolling hills of Carneros. Sip award-winning sparkling wine, enjoy artisanal cheese, caviar, and charcuterie. You may as well be in the French countryside.

Beringer Vineyards

Beringer Vineyards

Location: St. Helena, California

What to see: In 1883, Frederick Beringer began construction of the 17-room Rhine House mansion—a re-creation of the family home located on the Rhine River in Germany. The extraordinary edifice sparkles with original Belgian Art Nouveau stained glass and carved woodwork. Frederick’s Rhine House is the center of Beringer’s reserve and library tastings. The expansive property was designated a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

What they say: “The Rhine House stands as an exquisite example of Victorian architecture, a style characterized by Gothic features mixed with French, Italian and Egyptian influences. Completed in 1884 for just $28,000, the 17-room mansion was constructed to be the private residence of vineyard cofounder Frederick “Fritz” Beringer. (Comparatively, the building’s 2009 renovation cost an estimated $3,000,000.) Designed by famous architect Albert Schroepfer, the property boasts ornate elements like turrets, a gabled roof of Pennsylvania slate, carved woodwork and 41 intricate stained-glass windows that echo the trends of the Victorian era. Meanwhile, a dark lumber interior is meant to imitate the family’s home on Germany’s Rhine.” –Wine Enthusiast

What to do: Join Beringer for a veranda tasting, which takes place on the beautiful wrap-around porch of the Rhine House. Or, book the plaza experience to be seated beside the historic fountain, designed by Ruth Asawa.

Faust Wines

Faust Haus

Location: St. Helena, California

What to see: This former farmhouse and Prohibition-era cellar is an escape from the typical Napa Valley experience. Once rumored to have operated as a speakeasy in the 1920s, The Faust Haus was reimagined by a group of dedicated creative minds, who thoughtfully created a new home for Faust, full of craftsmanship, creativity, and above all, character.

What they say: “The winery and tasting room is located in a renovated Victorian home that was built in 1878. Aidlin Darling Design, the same architects that restored Scribe Winery’s hacienda, headed up the restoration project that converted the home into a winery and tasting room, which took four years. Aidlin Darling worked with the Faust team to consider the property’s previous history and character while creating modern touches for Faust. The house was structurally upgraded, while the exterior was preserved.” –KQED.org

What to do: Sip on limited-production Cabernet Sauvignons made from the Faust estate in Coombsville. This experience takes place outside on the verandah,  in the shade of the 19th century Victorian Faust Haus, with sweeping vistas of Howell Mountain and the greater Napa Valley.

Far Niente Winery

Far Niente Winery

Location: Napa, California

What to see: Far Niente dates back to 1885, when it was founded by forty-niner of the California gold rush, John Benson. Benson hired Hamden McIntyre, creator of the former Christian Brothers Winery—now the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone—to design the building. The building itself is a piece of art designed to both astound the eye, and the palate, since it functioned as a gravity flow winery, gently moving the grapes through each stage of production. In 1980, Alf Burtleson was hired to dig a 60-foot wine cave in the hill behind the winery. Over the next 21 years, the caves were expanded to 40,000 square feet. 

What they say: “Far Niente looks like a fairy cottage on a hill with its greenish oxidized copper accents, lushly planted window boxes and surrounding azalea gardens.” –San Francisco Chronicle

What to do: Book the estate tour & tasting. It provides an intimate glimpse into the winery and its lush gardens, with stories behind the wines, wine caves, and tri-level winery.

Becker Vineyards

Becker Vineyards

Location: Fredericksburg, TX 

What to see: The Becker family aspires to maintain the “Old World” feel at the winery. The winery itself is a reproduction of a late 19th century German stone barn. As you make your way down Becker Farms Road, cross the stone bridge and you’ll see the main tasting room entrance and winery. Adjacent to the winery is the Lavender Haus and a renovated 1890s-era homestead log cabin, alongside a scenic windmill and water tank.

What they say: “Forty-six acres of vineyards surround this winery near Stonewall, and the 10,000-square-foot building is a reproduction of a late 19th-century German stone barn. This style is common in Texas Hill Country, and since opening the popular winery has expanded twice to accommodate 74 tanks and over 2,000 barrels. Tin ceilings, wood accents, and a neutral palate keep the focus on the wine production, and large windows let visitors see into barrels aging in the surrounding caves.” –Curbed

What to do: Becker is currently offering reservations for the covered pavilion. Enjoy a tasting of five wines paired with small bites. Guided tours are conducted hourly on weekends. 

Mission Hill Family Estate

Mission Hill Family Estate

Location: West Kelowna, BC

What to see: Enter the main winery grounds through contemporary stone arches hand-chiseled by master stone masons. Carved from one five-ton block of Indiana Limestone, the archway is held together by a single keystone. The estate’s monastic-influence design includes Earth-toned buildings surrounding a courtyard and amphitheatre, curving into a loggia and garden. Halls, theatres, and tasting rooms wind through the estate while barrels of wine age underground.

What they say: “The dramatic buildings are clad in board-formed concrete and surround a central courtyard, which features an 85-foot-tall bell tower with bells by the foundry that cast the bells of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and the Sacré Coeur in Paris. The Wine Education Centre displays a Marc Chagall tapestry and houses a small theater.” –Architectural Digest

What to do: Book the Taste of the Estate experience, in which a master sommelier will guide you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the underground barrel cellar, blasted out of volcanic rock, where the wines gently rest and age. Enjoy mountain views from beneath the loggia (outdoor room) and tour the outdoor amphitheater, which is reminiscent of the Roman Arena di Verona.

Furioso Vineyards

Furioso Vineyards

Location: Dundee, OR

What to see: The tasting room is a truly unique space–seventy feet long, thirty feet deep, with fourteen-foot-high glass walls–offering unobstructed views on four sides. The distinctive design features a shared glass wall with the Crush Pad, allowing for an up-close harvest experience from the warmth and safety of the tasting room, while the outdoor Piazza offers a warm weather refuge with spectacular views.

What they say: “To create Furioso Vineyards, Portland–based Waechter Architecture renovated and expanded a pre-existing winery and added a new tasting room…Waechter expanded and re-clad the existing winery with a vertical 2″ x 2″ blackened cedar screen. During the day, the body of the building takes on a solid appearance. At night, the screen takes on an ethereal, translucent character as interior illumination backlights the vertical cedar ribs.” –Dwell

What to do: Lace up your hiking boots for a vineyard tour. It includes a guided hike through the historic Dundee Hills Furioso Vineyard, a flight of estate pinot noirs, and an exploration of the terroir that makes the red hills of Dundee so renowned.

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