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Editor’s note: The Business Journal features profiles of North Bay construction projects that are complete or nearly so. Send details to jquackenbush@busjrnl.com or fax to 707-521-5292.

Williams Selyem Estate Winery

7227 Westside Road, Healdsburg, www.williamsselyem.com

Owners: Williams Selyem proprietors John and Kathe Dyson

Description: 30,000-square-foot winery with barrel storage, bottling line and hospitality venue

Completion: August 2010

Contractors: general -- Jim Murphy & Associates, Santa Rosa; electrical -- Summit Technology Group, Santa Rosa; plumbing -- Quantum Mechanical, Santa Rosa; heating, cooling and refrigeration -- IES, Santa Rosa; glazing -- B&L Glass, Santa Rosa; excavation -- Oak Grove Construction, Santa Rosa; zinc roofing and panels -- Architectural Metal, Hopland; landscaping -- Bowland Vineyard Management, Santa Rosa; structural steel -- Iron Dog Fabrication, Santa Rosa; tiltup walls -- Soave-Lehre Construction, Ukiah; stonework -- Berlin Masonry, Santa Rosa

Vendors: pavers -- Design Interlock; custom redwood-paneled metal doors - Hamilton Cabinets, Petaluma; furniture -- Trope Group, Santa Rosa

Design: structure -- D.arc Group, Pelham, N.Y., and Patrick Mervin Associates, Calistoga; landscape -- Wellborn Associates, Graton; interiors -- Lauren Brandwein Design, Santa Rosa

Engineering: mechanical -- Guttmann & Blaevoet, Santa Rosa; civil -- Atterbury & Associates, Healdsburg; structural -- Summit Engineering, Santa Rosa; electrical -- Suite 16, Santa Rosa; soils -- Bauer Associates, Forestville

Cost: $14.8 million

Construction on one of Sonoma County’s most exclusive wineries started in September 2007 and was completed in phases over the past three years.

The new winery provides more-efficient space for aging the wine and more scenic venues for hosting visits or events for mailing-list members, but some functions will continue to be handled off site.

John and Kathe Dyson acquired Williams Selyem in 1998, and the winery has since increased in production from 8,000 cases a year to 15,000.

Grapes from the two estate vineyards and a number of longtime suppliers still will be crushed and partly fermented in leased space at Allen Ranch a half-mile north of the new winery. Williams Selyem makes mainly pinot noir, chardonnay and zinfandel wines starting at about $35 a bottle for 2008 “unoaked” chardonnay and pinot noirs from the Dysons’ Central Coast property and various Sonoma County vineyards. Most other wines start at $50 a bottle.

Four years ago, the winery outsourced fulfillment of its wine, limiting the need for a lot of warehouse space. New Vine of Napa had handled fulfillment until its ownership transition in June 2009. Now handling that function is Winetasting.com also of Napa.

Various aspects of the winery project were designed to limit the impact on the environment. For example, the building was designed with a 15 degree right angle in the middle to fit between two oak trees with estimated ages of 150 and 300 years. And to protect the roots of one of them, the winery’s concrete loading dock “floats” on carefully positioned piers.

“It was really important to John that we were keeping the trees and rocks that were part of the property,” said Bob Cabral, winemaker and general manager.

The property and new winery have a number of recycled components, including glass, metal and wood. Stone tiles on the interior walls of the east entrance were fashioned from rock excavated since the first vines were planted on the property in 2001. The road connecting the new winery to Westside Road was covered several years ago with nearly 70,000 tons of gravel crushed from that rock.

Beside the zinc panels on the front arched roof, another prominent feature are the redwood boards under the roof on the eastern entrance along the sides of the building, on the ceilings of the public areas and custom cellar doors. Those were milled from 50-year-old tanks purchased from the Almaden winery and stored at the Dyson’s Central Coast facility for years. To continue with the wine barrel design motif, the boards were installed in a specific matching order to resemble barrel staves.

After walking past retired wine barrels stacked along the winery’s 45-foot-high eastern window wall, one sees another glass wall: gallon-sized olive oil bottles akin to those used in Tuscany, where the Dysons have a winery and olive press.

Energy-saving elements of the project include a rooftop garden to provide some insulation, foot-thick wall panels that sandwich insulation between concrete, solar thermal panels for heating water, photovoltaic panels estimated to provide a quarter to a third of facility needs and trees left to shade the sun-facing south side of the building. The 4,500 square feet of barrel cellar space in four individual rooms is set into the hillside on which the facility sits to provide more insulation.

One of the project features that also was a major cost item was the floor coating throughout the winery that cost $12 a square foot. It combines grit to protect workers from slipping on wet floors with a bactericide that also is used in a wall coating. Mr. Cabral had seen the floor coating at Ferrari-Carano’s facility and wanted it in the new winery.

“Sanitation is a big thing for me,” Mr. Cabral said.

Up to 2008 labels and capsules were applied by hand. The new facility has its own bottling line to give the winery control from grape to glass. Argon gas rather than pumps is intended to move wine gently from blending tanks to the adjacent bottling line.

Though a big expense for a 15,000-case winery, the bottling line will pay for itself in an estimated five years by reducing labor costs by about 60 percent, according to Mr. Cabral.

There will be one label change. Under a recent agreement with Ridge Vineyards, which produces Lytton Springs, Lytton Station and Lytton Estate labels, named after Sonoma County pioneer William Litton (sic), Williams Selyem’s $100-a-bottle 2008 Litton Estate pinot noir will be the last to carry that name, Mr. Cabral said.