Location: Oakville, California

Client: Opus One Winery

The Opus One Winery, a joint venture of the Robert Mondavi Winery and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, is a unique collaboration between a renowned California vintner and a celebrated European Winemaker. The winery is set in 100 acres of vineyards in the heart of the Napa Valley, California’s preëminent wine-growing region. The unique, 70,000 square foot, low profile structure is concealed from view by a crescent-shaped berm which is landscaped in native grasses, shrubs and wildflowers. This earthen form blends into the backdrop of the hills and neighboring vineyards as it changes colors with the passing of the seasons. A landscaped approach to the front of the winery bisects the berm and leads to a turfed courtyard shaded by olive trees. The semicircular courtyard is surrounded by perimeter arcades which link public functions including spaces for reception, wine tasting, administrative offices, public relations and kitchen facilities. The lower level is exclusively devoted to winemaking. The space beneath the berm shelters the Grand Chai where first year barrels are on display, overlooked by the main tasting room. Other functions on this level include fermentation, barrel cleaning, barrel storage, bottling and delivery.

The building plan and section is organized to encourage “gravity flow” of the winemaking process, wherein grapes are delivered to the winery high and fermented and barreled low, such that there is a minimum of mechanical movement and disturbance of the wine. The winery has a 20,000 case capacity, with a potential expansion to 30,000 cases. Barrel room cooling is provided through a radiant cooling system embedded within the primarily concrete building structure. The typical exterior cladding is domestic limestone in two finishes including a rusticated finish for large panels developed originally for this project. Other materials include clear weathered California redwood, natural oak and stainless steel hardware.

All interior design elements including selected furniture, carpets and lighting fixtures were designed to extend the architectural composition of the building and to reflect a unity of winemaking, food and artful living.