Project DescriptionThough they’ve been creating wines off-site since 2006, Hamel Family Wines was looking to create a winery that would sustain multiple generations of this family-run label, as well as a destination that would appeal to true oenophiles. The family also wanted wine sales to be direct-to-consumer. This business model would require a built environment more memorable than your typical “bellying up to the bar” tasting experience of the past. To support the full cycle of winemaking and enjoyment, Gould Evans designed a wine production facility and gracious visitor center overlooking the family’s estate-grown, organically farmed vineyards and the Sonoma Mountains to the west. With its new facilities, Hamel Family Wines is poised to take its place among the top prestige wines of the region.
The new winery, located on the Hamel Family Ranch, sits at the base of the beautiful Mayacamus Mountains, an area that is quickly becoming synonymous with the finest Sonoma Valley blends. The vineyard showcases varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux inspired blends, Zinfandel and Grenache. The extraordinary, 124-acre property now features a 6,875 square-foot Estate House from which guests can savor panoramic views of the Sonoma Valley; 12,000 square feet of immaculate caves for barrel storage, tours, private dining, and events; and 7,500 square-foot winery designed to accommodate up to 15,000 cases of production per year.
Visitors to Hamel Family Wines are greeted by a stand of hundred-year old olive trees surrounded by gently rolling vineyards. Picturesquely nestled against a slope of oak woodland and manzanita chaparral, the architectural design of the winery takes its inspiration from the natural beauty of the site. The layout of the estate celebrates the expansive views of the Valley’s vineyards from its charming mountainside location, inviting guests to experience the array of indoor and outdoor spaces created for the enjoyment of the wines. The winery’s design showcases fundamental materials of black walnut, travertine, and basalt stone, combined with a pair of rammed-earth walls spanning the length of the Estate House and captures the natural beauty and texture of the surrounding land. Both the Tasting Room and the Library – a private tasting room – incorporate custom cabinetry to display the family’s wines. The ceiling of the Library floats above continuous clerestory windows, allowing the Venetian plaster finish to shimmer in the daylight. The earthen walls organize circulation through the Estate House, linking a series of pavilion-like spaces and providing views all the way through from the entry terrace to a secret “bosque” of white ash trees beyond. Throughout the building, opportunities to experience the inside out, and the outside in, are presented to visitors as they begin their journey from arrival to tasting.
The winery, a pre-engineered steel structure, reinforces the linear process of winemaking, from fruit-in to bottles-out. Tucked into the mountain and with a green roof above, the structure is clad in soil for natural thermal protection. The green roof is pulled back from the perimeter walls allowing natural light to filter in reducing the requirement of artificial lighting. The 25’ PISE wall facing the Estate House is made of the same soil from the site as the rammed-earth walls. The wall also provides a backdrop to the Vintner’s Wing housing the winemaking staff and their support functions.