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Wine Scenes: Vineyard shop houses and maintains farm equipment

A joint venture of Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Opus One is America’s first ultra-premium winery and a worldwide icon. Mondavi was America’s pre-eminent vintner and founder of the Robert Mondavi Winery, while Baron Philippe was the most influential French vintner of the 20th century and owner of Chateau Mouton Rothschild, one of five first growth wineries in Bordeaux, France.

Opus One owns and farms more than 200 acres (80 hectares) of vineyards with the most sophisticated equipment developed for grape growing. The vineyard shop was built to house and maintain all the farm equipment needed to produce the best wine grapes possible. Four over-the-row tractors, built by the French company Bobard, are key to the vineyard’s operation. The maintenance of the Bobard tractors is what the vineyard shop is designed around.

In Bordeaux, the courtyard typography is part of all first growth chateaux, a concept that dates back to Roman architecture. At Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Pauillac, France, the vineyard shop is a converted stable built back in the 18th century. The Opus One shop is a modern version of the courtyard stable, according to Wayne Leong, Leong Architects, St. Helena, Calif. All of the farm equipment maintenance takes place within the courtyard area, away from public view.

Metallic Building Co., Houston, manufactured the frame for the 14,324-square-foot (1,331-m2) facility. Additionally, under the canopies, Metallic also provided its Artisan Series soffit panels. Umicore Building Products USA Inc., Raleigh, N.C., supplied its VM Zinc standing-seam roof for the project. Perforated stainless steel was used for the rain screens around the washing/fueling area, clerestory windows and exhaust fans. Schweiss Doors, Fairfax, Minn., supplied the bi-fold doors, and Dallas-based Overhead Door Corp. manufactured the overhead roll-up doors for the shop.

According to Leong, the project features a variety of sustainable features. Snoqualmie, Wash.-based Technical Glass Products supplied its Pilkington Profilit Channel Glass system that is located on the outer walls of the courtyard, along with the clerestory window system above the inner courtyard walls, allowing the shop to utilize natural light during working hours. The thermal mass of the exterior concrete walls is used to maintain a minimum temperature of 60 F (16 C), while the extended eaves and rainscreen functions as an effective shading system to minimize heat gain and provide a comfortable work environment. Additionally, all water in the wash area is treated, contained and recycled.

“The biggest challenge was to develop a design concept that would complement the architecture of the iconic winery, meet all functional requirements to maintain the very sophisticated equipment and conceal the complex operation from public view,” Leong said. “It was important that a structure of this size not detract from the winery.”

Since the vineyard shop has an elaborate mechanical system requiring numerous large exhaust fans and intake vents, it was also important to keep all the vents off the roof and concealed from public view. The mechanical ducting was routed to the inner courtyard and concealed by the stainless-steel rainscreen.

Opus One Winery Vineyard Shop, Oakville, Calif.

General contractor/builder/erector/roofing contractor: Striplin Walker Construction, El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Architect: Leong Architects, St. Helena, Calif.
Bi-fold doors: Schweiss Doors, Fairfax, Minn.,
Metal building and soffit panels: Metallic Building Co., Houston,
Metal roof panels: Umicore Building Products USA Inc., Raleigh, N.C.,
Overhead roll-up doors: Overhead Door Corp., Dallas,
Window system: Technical Glass Products, Snoqualmie, Wash.,