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Sometimes the projects with the strictest limitations can inspire the most unique design solutions. A young couple with a 20-acre vineyard site approached us about creating a space that would be representative of their personalities and product, while breaking from the typical faux-Tuscan winery aesthetic. Most importantly, they needed to accomplish this on a modest budget.

The final solution was a "non-winery"– a sheltered outdoor space for fermentation tanks, and a cave for aging wine barrels and tasting sessions. In order to allocate funds to the most important elements and to preserve plantable land, we built only the most necessary structures. Eliminating the winery building was most logical, since fermentation and blending take place in stainless steel tanks that regulate their own temperature.

To delineate the outdoor space, we dug a large right angle cut into the site's hillside. The retaining walls on either side house the entrances to the cave. The steel structure of the overhead canopy mimics the orientation of the vineyard rows, visually reinforcing the movement of the grapes from the vineyard to the winery. During visits, patrons transition from the outside into a textured underground world – an ideal environment for aging barrels and escaping the Napa summer heat for a dégustation.

Calistoga, CA | 2009


Jeff Smith + Carolyn Duyrea

LD Team

Jennifer Brodie
Ryan Hughes

Project Team

Centric General Contractors

Press and awards


Ryan Hughes, Douglas Sterling, Michelle Kriebel, Dominic Chappellet