Editor’s note: The Business Journal features profiles of North Bay construction projects that are complete or nearly so. Send details to email@example.com or fax to 707-521-5292.
Somerston Vineyards & Winery
3450 Sage Canyon Road, St. Helena 94574; 707-944-5660; www.somerstonwineco.com
Owner: Somerston Wine Co., St. Helena
Description: First phase of a winery project with 12,000-square-foot fermentation facility, 1,000-square-foot tasting room, commercial kitchen and two-mile access road with gate on the 1,628-acre property plus a tasting room and grocery in Yountville
Completion: October 2010
Contractors: project management -- Pius Kamber Construction, Rancho Murieta; framing -- Striplin Walker Contractor, El Dorado Hills; plumbing -- Steve Silva Plumbing, Napa; concrete -- Harold Smith & Son, St. Helena
Key vendors: kitchen design -- Gary Jenanyan, Napa Valley; signage -- Robert Sanders & Co., Sonoma
Architecture: project and interiors -- William Bylund, AIA, LEED AP, Valley Architects, St. Helena; landscape -- CBH Inc., Napa
Engineering: mechanical and electrical -- Guttmann & Blaevoet, San Francisco; civil -- Bartelt Engineering, Napa; structural -- Structural Design Group, Santa Rosa
Cost: $8.5 million (first phase)
[caption id="attachment_25976" align="alignright" width="277" caption="Somerston Vineyards & Winery crushpad"][/caption]
In 2004 and 2006, real estate developer F. Allan Chapman purchased 1,628 acres straddling Highway 128. His family started in international shipping in the British Isles in 1854, transitioning to real estate in the 1970s. U.S. projects include Windemere in San Ramon and River Islands in Lathrop.
Mr. Chapman, who oversees the U.S. ventures of United Kingdom-based Somerston Group of Companies, and founding member and consulting winemaker Craig Becker forged a plan to merge their wine brands -- Priest Ranch, Somerston and Highflyer -- into a diversified-agriculture operation, according to Mr. Becker, general manager.
The operation is permitted to produce up to 65,000 cases a year. Annual production now ranges between 8,000 and 15,000 cases.
The first phase of the renovated winery will be able to produce up to 25,000 cases a year, allowing for custom winemaking for some of Mr. Becker's clients and neighboring growers.
The renovation converted a 12,000-square-foot barn into a high-tech winemaking facility. Key features are a closed-loop carbon dioxide heat pump for heating a 5,000-gallon hot water tank and acting as coolant for a 12-ton chiller. Set to come online shortly is a mostly gravity-fed anaerobic bacteria-powered process wastewater biofilter, rated to reduce environmentally troublesome biological oxygen demand by 90 percent.
A future building would accommodate photovoltaic panels that would charge a bank of batteries that would allow the facility to operate four chillers with 110 tons of rated capacity off the grid at night.
"We're not going to go after LEED titles so that we can invest in equipment," Mr. Becker said.
Work on the first phase of the project started in early 2007.
The property, located just east of the Chiles Valley winegrowing region, includes 210 acres of vines in 87 vineyard blocks ranging in elevation from 850 to 2,400 feet.