Wineries in California play a dual role. Most wineries host guests who they hope to convert into raving fans of their wine. They also function as complex production facilities that produce consumable products. There are a lot of challenges that go along with designing the optimal facilities to accomplish both goals. That is why wineries rely on architecture firms with a proven track record of delivering on these dual mandates. BCV Architecture is one of those firms. We had a chance to ask them a few questions about what they are working on and the challenges associated with building out the perfect winery space.
California Winery Advisor - What are a few of BCV Architecture + Interiors’ recent notable winery/vineyard projects?
BCV Architecture + Interiors- We designed a new hospitality and visitor experience for the celebrated Napa winery, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, and is also currently working on a significant expansion and renovation project at Cakebread Cellars, which will be completed in 2019.
CWA - Could you delve deeper into one of BCV’s recent projects and describe the architectural design?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - For our project at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, BCV Architecture + Interiors worked within the two-story volume of the original winemaking facility, designed in 1973 by architect John Marsh Davis. Using Davis’ work as a springboard, BCV Architecture + Interiors celebrated the poetics of his wood construction by preserving the original building as much as possible and designed the new interior spaces with the goal of creating a cohesive, integrated whole.
A new guest path leads to the original entry trellis, allowing visitors to experience the full drama of this masterpiece, connecting the hillside site to views over the estate. Inside, BCV Architecture + Interiors created several different tasting experiences for guests that vary in scale and mood. Through the reception area, the Great Hall has been completely transformed from its former use as the winery’s fermentation cellar. Interior trusses integrated into the structural system of the building reference Davis’ exterior trellis and guide visitors toward the Barrel Room at the far end of the hall. Located on the vineyard side of the building, the Oval Room offers a relaxing environment with expansive windows that frame views of Spring Valley and the Mayacamas mountains. Outside, an expanded terrace and patio bring increased opportunities for guests to enjoy their visit overlooking the vineyard.
CWA - What are a few of BCV Architecture + Interiors’ signature design elements? What determines the design choices made for a project?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - At BCV Architecture + Interiors, design is “culture driven” and we work hard to understand the specific underlying context that each project embodies. In all our work – in wine country, restaurants and food halls, residences, and larger retail and mixed-use projects – BCV Architecture + Interiors work closely with our clients to create projects that celebrate a true sense of place and speak to an authentic identity. BCV Architecture + Interiors has completed modern as well as traditional projects, new structures like Oxbow Public Market, as well as sensitive renovations and additions.
A commonality in all of these is a focus on quality and authenticity of materials and finishes, in addition to thoughtfulness with regard to scale and proportion. BCV Architecture + Interiors celebrates the big and small of design – an example of this would be the grand entrance to the Great Hall at Joseph Phelps and its expansive truss structure, as well as the carefully-sourced artwork and artifacts from the family that adorns the walls.
CWA - How long has BCV Architecture + Interiors been designing winery and vineyard projects?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - Founded in 1997, BCV Architecture + Interiors has enjoyed working with clients in wine country and on wine-centric projects for much of our existence. BCV Architecture + Interiors’ principals have led the design of past projects such as Viansa Winery, the original visitor experience at Franciscan Estate, and a prior addition and expansion at Cakebread Cellars. BCV Architecture + Interiors has also worked to bring wine hospitality-focused projects to the urban environment, including a San Francisco wine bar and retail shop for Viansa, SF Uncork’d at San Francisco International Airport and the award-winning Press Club, the pioneering wine bar off Market Street in downtown San Francisco.
CWA - What are the biggest changes you've seen in the industry?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - The rapid growth of Napa as an international wine destination has meant that wineries have had to adapt to the challenges inherent in increased visitation to the valley. That means being strategic in terms of long-term success and attracting and retaining patrons through a variety of sales channels, from improvements to the onsite tasting experience to e-commerce opportunities. BCV Architecture + Interiors has also seen the scarcity of land become a factor in winery expansion, and the acquisition of brands as well as physical land by larger beverage brands and companies.
BCV Architecture + Interiors also has a New York office and has spent time researching and visiting Long Island wineries. BCV Architecture + Interiors is interested in seeing the continued growth of that region as well.
And though not a ‘new’ thing, BCV Architecture + Interiors is excited to see how the interest in natural wines (or those made with “minimal intervention”) continues to grow in the US and how wineries respond.
CWA - How does BCV Architecture + Interiors go about the interior design process for wineries?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - As architects and interior designers, BCV Architecture + Interiors works to tell one story from outside to inside. BCV Architecture + Interiors takes a holistic approach that integrates the two, both in the creation of new, ground-up projects and renovations and additions to existing properties. On the furniture and fixtures side, BCV Architecture + Interiors always appreciates the opportunity to design something custom that speaks to the character and identity of the winery, and we love working with talented local artisans and craftspeople in this process.
CWA - What are common concepts and design trends for wineries and vineyards that BCV Architecture + Interiors has seen in the past year?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - Wineries are interested in bringing the visitor closer to the winemaking process and providing variety in experience – not just a tasting bar, but lounges, terraces, spaces for food/wine, intimate rooms and that sort of thing. Creating a strong connection to the land and the terroir is visible in Napa – whether to sweeping vineyard views or offering guests access to a kitchen garden or landscaped area accessible from tasting rooms.
In Napa BCV Architecture + Interiors has seen both a continuing interest in riffing off of the agricultural heritage and related building typology, as well as the insertion of more modern designs. Branding and communication of brand story/identity continues to be important, especially in efforts to reach a wider audience.
CWA - How does California's geography affect the design of a project compared to other wine regions throughout the country?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - Certainly our projects work to take advantage of the stunning natural setting in wine country, as well as a climate that affords indoor/outdoor tasting experiences through much of the year. Despite the density of much of Napa and some of the project sites BCV Architecture + Interiors works on, we’re often able to be creative in designing views from the hospitality and tasting areas that feature rolling hillsides and sweeping vineyards.
CWA - How do your designs contribute to the patrons' experience at the wineries?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - From a tasting point of view, BCV Architecture + Interiors creates environments that are elegant, comfortable and ensure that the experience is enjoyed in a unique atmosphere. But more and more, BCV Architecture + Interiors is working with our clients to create immersive and multilayered experiences for our guests. Whether this is about learning how wine pairs with food grown onsite, or about the history of the winery or winemaking family, or even delving into production and processes of winemaking – our design communicates what is unique about the winery.
CWA - What’s next for BCV Architecture + Interiors’ winery and vineyard designs?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - BCV Architecture + Interiors is working on an expansion to Cakebread Cellars that will include the renovation of part of the existing property as well. In collaboration with consulting architect, Don Brandenburger, the expansion includes new hospitality and tasting areas, new outdoor spaces and improved onsite production facilities.
CWA - Anything notable about BCV Architecture + Interiors’ design elements that you would like to add?
BCV Architecture + Interiors - In designing projects for our winery clients, BCV Architecture + Interiors finds that the diversity of our project experience – from master planning to custom residential design – often becomes an asset. BCV Architecture + Interiors enjoys the ‘big picture’ long-term site planning as well as the details of how a tasting room comes together to create an elevated and unforgettable experience for the visitor