2022 Winery Design Award: Clos du Val by MG+Co and Erin Martin Design


Driving towards Clos du Val, longtime visitors to the half-century-old winery may not immediately detect that something is a little different now. And according to architect Michael Guthrie, that’s the point. “The new structure is almost imperceptible from the Silverado Trail and comes into focus only as you approach,” says the founder of MG+CO Architects of his firm’s recently completed 3,000-square-foot modern pavilion on the Napa Valley estate. “This was an intentional use of architectural hierarchy with the new building to not be in conflict with the historic taller structures.”

The new structure’s steel-and- glass arched doors—which are within “steel portals,” as architect Michael Guthrie calls them—echo the shape of the doors of the estate’s older buildings, while 60-foot sliding pocketed glass doors open to alfresco seating.
Photos by Michael Hospelt.

Hirondelle House, whose 16-foot-tall flat roof accommodates solar panels, is tucked between existing gabled structures that stand 34 feet high. The former’s arched steel-and-glass entrances echo the shape of the latter’s arched wooden doors. As with MG+CO’s previous winery endeavors, the directive at Clos du Val from lead architect Ha Nguyen included indoor/outdoor rooms as well as expansive, shaded alfresco areas. Additionally, says Guthrie, “there was a general idea to have the new building embrace the vineyard.”

The exterior walls are composed of board-formed concrete that invite thin vines to grow on their surface. Inside, the walls and ceilings are clad in French oak boards reclaimed from wine fermenters, while the floors are natural polished concrete. “The materials—concrete, stone, glass, steel, rustic wood—were selected for their authenticity and as a reminder that the wines are crafted from natural, earthy, farmed grapes,” Guthrie explains.

The guest rooms at Hirondelle House—which derives its name from the French word for “swallows” (the birds nest at the vineyard every spring)—can accommodate private dinners. Photos by Michael Hospelt.

Among the focal points of Hirondelle House—which contains a tasting room as well as private rooms designed by Erin Martin Design for groups of varying size—are the 60-foot- wide, 12-foot-tall Fleetwood sliding pocketed glass doors that “allow the complete transformation of the main space to convert from interior to open-air exterior,” says Guthrie.

The interior walls and ceilings are sheathed in French oak boards, reclaimed from abandoned fermenters once used by Clos du Val in winemaking. Photos by Michael Hospelt.

Guthrie describes Hirondelle House as both an homage to and a departure from the original buildings—inviting “the next generations of winery visitors into a warm, modern, hospitality space.”