The Prisoner Wine Company’s Break-out StyleAuthor:Annette Hanami
Like The Prisoner wine that launched the phenomenon of bold, fruit-driven red blends, The Prisoner Wine Company’s new property in St. Helena breaks the mold with a most original look, experience and a range of fruity, style-driven wines unique in Napa Valley. Inspired by the iconic, edgy wine label based on Francisco de Goya’s work depicting the atrocities of war, SF architect Matt Hollis of MH Architects and Napa artist, designer and fabricator Richard Von Saal of Vonsaal Design Build chose the theme of ‘refurbished industrial’ for the indoor/outdoor tasting areas and The Makery, a wing that features exceptional food and wine pairings and studio spaces for local artisans.
Rather than re-create dark, captive spaces, Hollis made them captivating, drawing inspiration from the raking light in the original sketch to incorporate long, wide skylights in the tasting lounge that amplify the dramatic metal trusses and Von Saal’s acid-etched metal artwork above the fireplace.
In a modern way, Von Saal infuses The Prisoner iconography in the design, in the shackle walls, cage chairs and ball and chains in the focal fireplace.
In The Makery, Hollis vaulted the ceilings in white to “let the light do its thing with the patina of grays and red” in the décor. At the end of the wing is an open kitchen where Winery Chef Brett Young prepares elevated, ingredient-driven and filling dishes, a la minute, to pair with a surprising diversity of wines for its Makery Experience ($125 pp). Think a fruity white blend called Blindfold with persimmon and asian pear salad, The Prisoner Zinfandel-driven blend with a goat cheese agnolotti, Erased sparkling wine with day boat scallops and the bold Charbono-led Headlock with A5 Wagyu beef rib eye cooked on hot stones before your eyes.
To make an entrance as big as the wines, Hollis designed a steel structure in the front driveway that riffs on the steelwork in the interiors, covered by an equally dramatic tension fabric canopy.
The new property was designed with several lounge areas, outdoor spaces and private rooms, as well as The Makery, making each visit a new experience. Reserve in advance for tastings ($45 pp), tasting and tour ($65 pp) and The Makery Experience ($125 pp). Unshackled custom experiences are also available. Check The Prisoner Wine Company website for specific times and days for all these experiences. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1178 Galleron
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