Constructing wineries and tasting rooms is both an art and a science. It requires expertise, finesse and creativity to properly construct. These businesses tend to be very unique, with high-end finishes, specialty construction methods, and most distinctly, personal touches that bring every unique story and experience to life.
Commercial construction projects can be completed for a variety of client types, often developers or investment groups. In the case of wineries, however, clients are commonly privately held business owners who live their passion day in and day out. Their buildings may be the first business they have ever had constructed, or a renovation or expansion of a family business passed down from generation to generation.
Finding a great building partner for these spaces means looking for a team that knows how unique these buildings are, is familiar with the details that go into winery construction, is willing to listen to the wants and needs of the owner and is diligent in maintaining timelines and budgets.
Read on to learn more about what makes winery construction challenging and rewarding, including common systems, details and features.
The Foundations of Wineries
Wineries are built on the passion to perfect the craft of winemaking and provide a high quality finished product to be enjoyed. More literally, though, wineries are usually constructed in rural locations and on rough, hilly terrain, which requires unique foundation systems to create structurally sound buildings.
When structures are built onto or into a hillside, the excavation work can be extensive. Wineries may be multiple floors (gravity flow) that cascade over the side of a hill. Concrete foundations with continuous footings, stem walls, and retaining walls are all a regular occurrence but require extra coordination with the elevation steps and high-end finishes expected of exposed concrete.
Sloped concrete slabs containing drainage or process wastewater related systems often make up the floor surface in production areas. Special attention needs to be paid to floor finish to avoid slippery floors or floors too rough and therefore hard to clean. Tasting rooms or entertainment spaces may include stained or stamped concrete, in addition to other flooring types.
The Structure of Wineries
There are several building types used in winery construction, sometimes depending on the use of the building, and sometimes because of cost constraints. The building types include:
- Pre-engineered metal buildings
- Wood framed
- Poured-in-place concrete
- Heavy timber
- Tilt-up concrete
These buildings may be single story or multi-story and contain a variety of utility systems. The structure may be dependent on how the winery produces its wine and any other uses of the finished space (hosting events, barrel storage, etc.) Some locations use gravity flow systems that requires multiple levels of production space.
Winery facilities may include a single building or multiple buildings. For instance, Perlo has completed multiple buildings for Stoller Family Estate in Dundee, Oregon, and their campus program includes a winery production building, a warehouse with bottling lines, and an experience center tasting room for conferences and events, among others. The building use contributes to the type of structure that is utilized, with owner preferences, budget and time all considered in the building type equation.
Sophisticated Finishes in Wineries
The finishes utilized in winery and tasting room construction are highly dependent on the style of winemaking and the experience that the owners want guests to have. Some spaces are more modern and sophisticated, some more rustic, some more open to the outdoors or a view. Some unique finishes might include:
- Stained or stamped concrete
- Specialty lighting
- Tile floors
- Custom casework, including casework railings or window casings
- Glass overhead doors or walls
- Stainless steel
- Unique artwork and/or logos and signage
- Exposed wood trusses
- Custom fireplaces
- Kitchens & catering spaces
In addition to the craftsmanship for these types of finishes, it’s critical to consider the order of installation and protection of these finishes over the course of construction. Extensive planning, review of shop drawings, and caution while installing and completing work are all key components to successfully delivering projects with these types of unique details in them.
Specialty Utilities and Production Systems
The rural location of many wineries and tasting rooms poses unique challenges related to building utilities. As we have discussed previously related to rural construction challenges, rural properties may need to have a well for domestic water, propane tanks for gas appliances or equipment, septic systems, process waste water systems, fire water pump water supply ponds or tanks, and may need to pay additional fees to get power and internet to the property. These details and requirements must be determined before construction can begin.
In addition to basic utility systems, winery production processes can be extensive, with stainless steel tanks, grape crushing and sorting equipment, scales, and water treatment tanks. Storage areas may include climate-controlled night air cooling systems or refrigeration.
Sustainability is also a common practice in wineries. Solar power, water recycling, green roofs, and electric vehicle charging stations may all be found in winery projects.
The coordination of utilities, specialty systems and production equipment is a large component of winery construction projects. Involving a design and construction team early in the preconstruction process is key to ensuring these systems are installed correctly and without delay.
Making it Personal
Building a winery is a personal process for the owners, for the winemakers (who may be the same or different individuals), and eventually for the patrons of the wineries. Building teams work closely with these decision makers to determine the designs, finishes and experience in these locations.
Decision makers care deeply about not just the function of these winery spaces, but also the aesthetic. They are often intimately involved with every detail, much like a homeowner might be when building their own home. They are involved in every detail, from the finishes to the equipment layout, and often make changes to various features over the course of the building process. It takes a skilled contractor to listen critically, help them evaluate their options, and implement changes as they come up.
The relationships between the decision makers and the contractor must be one built on trust and teamwork. The builder must listen carefully to the wants and needs of the building owner and users, and guide the decisions made to best meet their needs.
The parts and pieces of a winery make them unique and fun to build. We enjoy working with individuals who are as passionate about the wine they produce and the experience they deliver as we are with the buildings we construct.
If you’re considering constructing or renovating a winery, contact our team today.