San Francisco: Vineyard culture - from Hundertwasser to Herzog & de Meuron
Locations that produce good wine often seem to attract exceptional architecture these days, too. The wine growers of Napa Valley, near San Francisco, are genuine trendsetters on this point. Not only are their wines famous the world over, but also the architects of their winery buildings. Join us on an enological and architectural tour of discovery
Clos Pegase Winery:
Art collector Jan Shrem was the first to bring top modern architecture to Napa Valley. That was back in the 1980s, when he decided he wanted a building in which he could display his large collection of artworks and also produce wine. He approached the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and together they announced an architecture competition, which the US architect Michael Graves ultimately won. Other wine growers soon followed Shrem’s example, including the Dominus Winery, which in the 1990s even signed up the Swiss star architect duo Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.
Clos Pegase Winery: 1060 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga, Tel. +1-707/942 49 81. Opening times: daily 10:30am-5pm, guided tours at 11:30am and 2pm. Admission: free. www.clospegase.com. Dominus Winery: 2570 Napanook Road, Yountville, +1-707/ 944 89 54. Dominus unfortunately does not receive visitors! www.dominusnapanook.com
The merriment of wine in stone: The Quixote Winery building was designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who began working on the project in 1988. As usual, the Austrian architect and artist included a minimum of right angles and straight lines, instead placing the emphasis on rooftop greenery (in the form of trees and grasses), domes and turrets. Work on the project took more than a decade, but sadly, the eccentric and contentious architect passed away shortly before its completion.
Quixote Winery: 6126 Silverado Trail, Napa, Tel. +1-707/944 26 59. Guided tour and/or wine tasting: only by appointment. www.quixotewinery.com
Retrospective: Napa Valley wines first gained worldwide appreciation in the late 19th century thanks to Gustave Niebaum. Even in those days, the wine growers liked to express their wealth in architecture. Niebaum was no exception and built himself an imposing Victorian-style chateau. Francis Ford Coppola bought part of the historical estate in 1975 - with his profits from his movie class, The Godfather. Today, the iconic director is also a very successful wine grower.
Rubicon Estate: 1991 St. Helena Highway, Rutherford, +1-707/968 11 00. Opening times: daily 10am-5pm. Tour, wine tasting and admission to the on-site museum: starting at $25 per person www.rubiconestate.com
Photos: Corbis, Mauritius, Peter Menzel, PR