The Quintessa pavilions are designed to feel the connection with the vineyard and the impressive nature
Right in the heart of Napa Valley, the famous wine region north of San Francisco, Agustin, and Valeria Huneeus, discovered in 1989 a great property hidden in the heart of Napa Valley’s Rutherford appellation region. It was spread over 280 acres of rolling hills and small valleys and had never been planted. Here the Quintessa winery was born. It is now one of the jewels in the crown of wineries of the Huneeus family. To make wine tasting a special event, Walker Warner Architects created the Quintessa wine experience pavilions.
“I believe that we are stewards of the land.” This is the quietly stated philosophy of Valeria Huneeus, Ph.D., microbiologist, viticulturist, and architect of the Quintessa vineyard. Valeria stumbled on the Rutherford property during a time when she was searching for a new vineyard management project, one that would allow her to work closer to her husband than had her previous commitments. Her vision and perseverance made it possible to buy the property.
Today, around 160 acres are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Carménère on 26 vineyard blocks. Each block is farmed organically and bio-dynamically harvested, and viniﬁed individually to preserve and enhance the nuances of the land.
Inspired by the land’s natural grandeur, the Huneeus family asked Walker Warner Architects to create private pavilions on top of Dragon’s Hill as modest additions to the estate. Each pavilion had to reﬂect the founder’s desire for architecture that harmonizes with the natural surroundings. Accordingly, each pavilion was carefully sited to protect visitors from the elements while also preserving the existing mature oak trees. This resulted in pavilions for a unique wine-tasting experience that can be utilized year-round during weather extremes.
The pavilions that Walker Warner Architects designed are a series of independent 250-square-foot structures, each destined to provide an immersive, privately hosted wine-tasting experience in the landscape.
Upon arrival, guests are guided via a forested pedestrian pathway, to a private tasting pavilion nestled into the land. Here they can enjoy the serene setting and expansive views of the vineyards and lake below. Each pavilion is elegantly unobtrusive and offers an immersive wine tasting experience that celebrates the land.
The design of the pavilions reﬂects the existing winery in its environmental sensitivity and material palette of durable, sustainable materials that age and weather well.
Running parallel to the ridgeline, a bold blade-like concrete wall, made with ﬂy ash, forms the entrance of the pavilion. A doorway is carved out to reveal the panoramic view from the terrace to the vineyards beyond. The prefabricated steel structure creates long roof overhangs that protect visitors from the elements while expansive walls of operable doors help to maximize the openness for light, views, and cross ventilation.
The low retaining walls are made of Napa Syar stone and the terrace surfaces are made of locally prefabricated concrete pavers.
Casework and ceilings are made of reclaimed Sinker cypress chosen for its durability and warmth.
Custom furnishings made from FSC Certiﬁed Afromosia are designed to accommodate a range of group sizes. The surrounding plantings are drought resistant native grasses intended to soften the transition from the pavilions to the vineyards.
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