The Alexander Valley, shaped by gentle rolling hills and dotted with trees, has its own unique spirit, tied to the intimate wineries that find their home here. Among these is the newest addition to the family-owned label Silver Oak, with tasting rooms, a wine cellar, and production facilities designed by Piechota Architecture.
Silver Oak is seated gently in its site; from a distance, all but its metal, gabled roofs are hidden by the tall rows of vines. The shape references the dominant barn form of the area, here reduced to its simplest clarity. With no overhangs, the metal roof almost disappears as you face the buildings directly, and instead the architecture is dominated by the deep tones of the exterior walls.
Materially, the project weaves in the unique character of its site and history into this pure form. These exterior walls are made from 100-year-old wine tanks from Mondavi, one of the valley’s pioneers in winemaking, and inside, the entry stair in the production department is built from the wood of oak wine barrels, the red stains purposefully left. The scent of wine permeates the space, until you step outside, when the scent of herbs from the raised gardens fills the breeze. Thinking of the central role water plays in the region, the near-net-zero-water facility is cut through by a reflective pool running alongside the tasting room; on sunny days, the pool reflects the landscape and architecture, bringing the project’s many layers of articulation – gravel, concrete, tree, siding, grass, glass, wood – together on a single plane.