January 9th, 2023
Wineries for Architecture and Design Lovers
From left to right: Quixote Winery, Darioush
California wine country may be known for its so-called modern farmhouse design, popularized by American architect Howard Backen. But in Napa Valley, there’s everything from French-style chateaus, Cape Dutch-inspired estates, and even a whimsical winery designed by the eccentric Austrian artist and architect, Friedrich Stowasser. Here are 10 of the region’s most striking designs.
With over 35 works of contemporary art spread over 33 acres, HALL St. Helena practically doubles as an art gallery. The Wine and Art Exploration experience whisks visitors around the property, to works by artists such as John Baldessari, Jim Campbell, and Nick Cave.
Just as a good wine reflects its terroir, the design of the new Elusa Winery on the grounds of the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley is a testament to the beauty of its surroundings. Even its name, Elusa, is a tribute to the native language of the original inhabitants of Napa Valley. San Francisco studio Hirsch Bedner Associates drew from the region’s landscape when conceiving the winery’s tasting room, which features a palette of warm whites, natural oak and walnut paired with bronze medals and a stunning mixed media wall sculpture, titled “Viticultural,” by Bay Area artist Lisa Kokin.
Artesa Vineyards & Winery
In 1991, Spain’s oldest winemaking family debuted a sea-facing hillside winery in Napa Valley. Renowned Barcelona architect Domingo Triay designed the avant-garde winery, which appears to have grown out of its landscape: the 127,000-square-foot facility is covered with earth and blanketed with native grasses, giving the impression of a mound rather than a winery. Other unique architectural features include prismatic windows, cascading waterfalls, and the surrounding manmade lakes.
Del Dotto Vineyards
Marble floors, glittering mosaics, vivid frescoes, grand chandeliers. No, we’re not describing a Venetian palace but the Del Dotto Estate Winery & Caves in St. Helena. Owners Dave and Yolanda Del Dotto wanted to pay homage to their family’s Venetian history, so they built a cathedral-like structure surrounded by manicured gardens and 17th century fountains. Talk about a complete sensory experience!
Founded by the same family behind renowned Champagne Taittinger, Domaine Carneros offers a slice of French palatial architecture in the middle of Napa Valley. The 138-acre parcel is anchored by a stunning French-style chateau with a grand staircase leading to formal gardens. Enjoy a glass of sparkling on the terrace overlooking the hills and vineyard of Carneros, or take a seat inside the elegant Louis XV-style salon.
The only U.S.-based project of Austrian artist and architect Friedrich Hundsertwasser — known for his whimsical, larger-than-life designs — Quixote Winery is a popular pilgrimage destination among architecture lovers. As with the architect’s other buildings, the winery has no straight lines (Hundertwasser believed they didn’t “align” with human nature) and features signature features like curving walls and an undulating roofline — plus colorful ceramic tiles, a shimmering gold onion dome, and views across Napa Valley to Mount Veeder.
Chimney Rock Winery
With its distinctive gables and bright white stucco exteriors, Chimney Rock is evocative of the Cape-Dutch architectural style typical of South Africa’s iconic Stellenbosch region. On the north side of the building is a one massive allegorical frieze of Ganymede — cupbearer to the gods — inspired by the historic South African winery Groot Constantia and surrounded by miles of tidy vines.
Napa Valley’s “Persian Palace” was completed in 2004 and constructed with stones imported from quarries near Shiraz, Iran. Founders Darioush Khaledi and his wife, Shahpar, wanted to pay tribute to the winemaking legacy of Shiraz, formerly one of Iran’s most prominent wine-growing regions, and called on architects Ardeshir and Roshan Nozari to envision an homage to Persepolis, with imposing columns, trickling fountains, and a garden planted with pomegranate and pistachio trees.
Ashes & Diamonds
Inspired by influential mid-century modern architects Donald Wexler and Albert Frey, this striking, all-white winery looks like it belongs in Palm Springs. Note the structure’s folded plate canopy, geometric accents, portholes, and pops of Kelly green and bright yellow — all signatures of mid century-modern design.
This 45-acre estate vineyard embraces sustainability at all levels, including design. Nestled in the valley’s eastern hills, the LEED Gold-certified winery features a living roof and 2,500 square feet of solar panels, plus a trio of shipping containers repurposed as labs and office spaces. The winery’s sinuous curves are a nod to the pivotal female characters in the works of Shakespeare and Proust, and the swan princess in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Other notable mentions include Robert Mondavi Winery, designed by prominent Los Angeles-based architect Cliff May; Dominus Estate Winery, with it’s brutalist architecture; Inglenook, one of the first Bordeaux-styled wineries in the U.S.; and Quintessa, offering open-air minimalist wine-tasting pavilions.