October 2, 2012

Wineries Taking the LEED

Four years after the debut of their LEED Gold-certified CADE Estate Winery, Napa Valley entrepreneurs and PlumpJack Winery co-founders Gavin Newsom and Gordon Getty are unveiling a new winery and hospitality center for their Odette Estate. The project, set for completion in late 2013, is commssioned from CADE’s architect, Juancarlos Fernandez of Signum Architecture. They are not the only U.S. wine-makers currently embracing sustainability across the board from viticulture to architecture. From Oregon’s Willamette Valley to rural Virginia, wineries are investing in sustainable design, both as a commitment to the environment and as an expression of creative vision.

Cade winery Fernandez’s design for the 2009 CADE, the first winery in Napa to be awarded LEED-Gold Certification, eschewed nonrenewable materials in favor of recycled steel, concrete mixed with fly ash, cork flooring, and hundreds of square feet of structural glass and solar panels. His plans for Odette Estate’s winery include an 8,500-square-foot green roof, natural lighting throughout the building, solar-water heating, a high-volume,low-speed fan to provide summer cooling and winter heat distribution. The winery will also feature a 30,000-watt photovoltaic solar array on part of the roof and recycled shipping containers used as office space.

Odette Estate

Odette Estate debuted this year on 36 acres that were formerly Steltzer Vineyards in Napa’s Stag’s Leap District. The property’s vineyards are being replanted for conversion to 100 percent organic farming and LEED certification. Its renovated tasting room, which opened in August, was designed by Kimberley Nunn and Dan Worden of Napa-based Shopworks and reflects an updated California ranch style.

“We believe that winemaking should honor the land, both aesthetically and ecologically,” says John Conover, general manager and partner in CADE Estate and Odette Estate. “Odette Estate’s dramatic, modern design will encourage visitors to explore both its natural and architectural spaces.”

In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Stoller Family Estate is also continuing its LEED-certified design efforts with recent opening of its new tasting room. Designed by Ernest R. Munch Architect Urban Planner of Portland, the same firm that designed its winery in 2006 (the first to be LEED Gold-Certified in the U.S.), the 4,000-square-foot building features 236 solar panels on its roof and support columns salvaged from an old Portland warehouse. The panels, manufactured in the U.S. by SunPower, generate 100 percent of the tasting room’s electricity.

Also of note is the undulating wood ceiling, which mimics the rolling hills of the vineyard and is accented by small pendulant lights meant to represent evening stars. It is reclaimed timber from the 2002 Biscuit Fire that scorched more than 500,000 acres in Southern Oregon. A wall of North-facing floor-to-ceiling windows provides natural light (artificial lighting is controlled by motion sensors) and vineyard views.

“We take the preservation of our agricultural land very seriously,” says Bill Stoller, who founded the winery in 1993. “Our new tasting room continues this tradition by integrating environmental conservation and sustainability with high-efficiency design.”

In Virginia, LEED Platinum certification – the first for a winery on the East Coast – was recently awarded to the one-year-old tasting room at Cooper Vineyards in Louisa, about 40 minutes from Charlottesville. Designed by Richmond-based Baskervill, the 3,500-square-foot tasting room features two-story North-facing walls of glass and ample deck space, creating an indoor/outdoor experience for visitors.

coopers “I think the most impressive aspect of the building is the sophistication that it brings to a rural area,” says Jeff Cooper, co-owner of the winery with Jacques Hogue. “We are approaching agriculture with thought and planning, and a beautiful and technologically sophisticated building expresses our approach.”

Architect Michael Pellis notes that the building’s most effective green feature is its envelope of structurally insulated panels (SIPs). “In one year, the building is using 67 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a similar, standard-code-minimum building,” he says.

Other sustainable elements include a rainwater harvesting system that filters water for irrigation and the tasting room’s toilets; solar panels that generate 15 percent of the building’s electrical needs; a geothermal HVAC system; and energy efficient lighting and solar tubes. Materials are natural stone and native cypress as well as other reclaimed, recycled and locally sourced materials, and the tasting bar’s counter tops are concrete.

While the Virginia humidity makes it impossible for Cooper Vineyards to grow grapes organically, the winery does approach viticulture sustainably, says Cooper. “Our winery building has no graywater to be ponded or run off into streams,” he notes. “We took a more expensive approach in design to create subterranean holding tank and drain field to minimize any environmental effects.”

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