[caption id="attachment_66473" align="alignnone" width="595"] Belmontes at VJB Cellars and Kenwood Marketplace[/caption]
Location: 9077 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood
Design: structure -- The Fifth Resource Group; landscape -- MacNair Landscape; lighting -- Lighting Innovations
Engineering: civil -- Dimension 4; structural -- Structural Design Group; mechanical -- Incom Mechanical
Contractors and suppliers: general -- Vittorio Belmonte; framing and building -- Marovich Homes; HVAC -- Simpson Sheet Metal; plumbing -- Steve Silva Plumbing; electrical -- J. Angelosanto; concrete and flooring -- Miller Concrete; windows -- CG Serramenti Certaldo, Italy; retail furnishings -- Dovetail, Cosco and Contract Furniture Company; kitchen equipment -- Castino
Artist: Fred Parker
KENWOOD -- After eight years of planning, Vittorio Belmonte’s vision to recreate a little bit of Italy in Kenwood, complete with a VJB barrel cellar, tasting room and village marketplace surrounding a piazza, was realized in a grand opening on July 20.
Growing up in Bonito, Italy, Mr. Belmonte’s early years picking grapes in the family vineyard formed the foundation for an authentic approach that became the Kenwood Marketplace and VJB Cellars located at 60 Shaw Avenue adjoining Highway 12.
After coming to America, his goal was to rekindle the one-of-kind feeling of a warm, rustic and relaxed old world crafted sense of space he remembered from his youth that would endure and pass the test of time.
“We wanted to craft an experience, not just a facility. Our family has been in the restaurant business for over 22 years and has operated a small winery for more than a decade,” said Henry Belmonte, Vittorio’s son.
“Our family legacy of hospitality, with a love of food and a keen appreciation for fine wine, led to a decision to combine these passions into something truly unique.”
The result: An old world Italian oasis with a town square entered through large wooden gates and encircled by numerous shops offering a variety of culinary delights. It is a special place where people can enjoy wine tasting, picnics, barbecues or just people watching the way Europeans do.
[caption id="attachment_66476" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Artist rendering of the front of the winery[/caption]
Taking the role of a master builder, Vittorio Belmonte conveyed his dream to Architect Ed Sohl and his partner Jim Ford of the Fifth Resource, Inc., who served as project manager.
This team was later expanded to include Architect Michael Palmer, Dan Wright of Dimensions 4 Civil Engineering and Landscape Architect Don MacNair and others, along with son Henry and wife Maria.
[caption id="attachment_66475" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Artist rendering of the winery and entry to the courtyard[/caption]
The main marketplace structure is a 3,611 square foot stone and wood building with a second floor office and an observation tower 33-feet high.
The VJB barrel cellar and case storage building comprises 1,800 square feet with a 23-foot ceiling featuring open trusses. A 602-square foot garage was converted and restrooms were added.
An existing 1,350-square-foot house on the property was renovated to become a mini-Tuscan Villa.
The tasting room is adjacent to the stone cellar and estate vineyards. It is a two-story structure built, in large part, from recycled materials including 100-year old, 15-inch thick, wood beams from Honduras and lumber salvaged from a barn. Stressed and weathered timbers were also used in the arcade adjoining the wine cellar.