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.

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.

Buyers of 45 percent of the grapes from the Priest Ranch and Lynch Valley Ranch properties have included sought-after winemakers David Ramey, Heidi Barrett and David Phinny as well as wineries such as Balcom, Biale, Caymus, Duckhorn, Orin Swift, Pahlmeyer and Viader.

"We also have an entire mountain watershed experience," Mr. Becker said. "When you come to Somerston, you don't just come to a vineyard and tasting room. You come to a place."

The property currently has 100 lambs as part of its flock of 400 to 2,000 that mows the property. Other livestock being planned include cattle and chickens. Gardens on the property include fruit trees, flowers, vegetables, 39 mature olive trees and bee hives for pollination and honey production.

Currently, these farm products are being sold in the on-site and Yountville tasting rooms, the latter of which opened in July. When the commercial kitchen on the property is finished in December, it will start producing products planned for sale along with other Napa Valley products at an 800-square-foot grocery to open in spring next to the Yountville tasting room.