Here are major ingredients for a successful winery
Winery design and planning must be more than flashy architecture and spiffy looks. The creed must be, “Form follows function,” as expressed by one of the greatest mid-century architects, Mies van der Rohe. That great thinker also said, “More is less, and less is more.“
Any winery must be laid out properly and efficiently to receive grapes, process and store the precious elixir. Stealing another architect’s catchphrase, “A winery is a machine for making wine.”
While design may be sensual for winery construction project today, the layout for producing the wine is essential, keeping in mind public appearance and attendance. For the winery itself to function, it has to have the following four major ingredients.
1. Quality layout
A winery must have a layout for smooth operations and ease of access everywhere to all parts.
Convenience and layout for the one making process, packaging and sales must all work together. Many old buildings and wineries were built for a different process but today, time is of the essence and a proper layout is essential for a winery’s success.
2. Adequate water supply
All parts of the wine industry requires a supply of clean water for cleaning and for fermenting. Even in drought plagued California, collecting keeping and storing sufficient water for daily use and cleaning is essential.
3. Proper drainage systems
Recycling used water and draining properly to recharge the aquifer is essential. Maintaining retention and detention systems is a significant function of every winery.
4. Superior energy conservation and insulation.
In order to maintain consistent temperatures in places like the North Bay where the daily temperature can change 40°, maintaining specific temperatures for the fermentation and maintaining of the wine cannot fluctuate.
It’s more than keeping temperatures consistent, it’s also monitoring cooling and heating expenses which should never be taken lightly in the operation of a winery. It takes energy and water.
Space for expansion
This is a fifth ingredient for a winery.
Whether the winery is successful or not, having the availability to supplement the industrial use with another is one failing of many businesses venture. As Walt Disney once said, his biggest regret was not having enough space for expansion at his lil’ spot called Disneyland.
As one professor of architectural history at University of Miami said, “It must emerge from the terroir around it where necessity and invention result in unprecedented works of down-to-earth beauty.”
When wineries were simple agricultural outbuildings, sometimes of stone or wood, they have grown exponentially and now high-end wineries and even table wines want to reflect prestige and of course the ego of the owner or investors.
But the best wineries are those that it that evolve from the landscape and vineyard itself. While big-name architects have been hired to make monuments to the owner, often to justify higher wine prices, I firmly believe wineries will start to exhibit less monumentality and more humble architecture.
The style of the structure should be secondary to the landscape and any building system must exhibit sustainability and high energy efficiency with minimal resource consumption.
Rather than continue the “big is better“ mentality, there should be more of a celebration of the place and wine, while less about the enterprise.