Aperture Cellars Preview: Visual Perspectives On A Shared PassionAuthor:Annette Hanami
As an impressionable youth, rising star Sonoma winemaker Jesse Katz would accompany his father renowned photographer Andy Katz, to the great vineyards of the world, as he captured the intoxicating sights, flavors and cultures of wine through lush photography. It would inevitably inspire Jesse to work harvests at some of the greatest wineries in France, California and Argentina, and to craft award-winning wine as head winemaker for Lancaster Estate in Sonoma. After a lifetime of traveling together to over 70 countries with this shared passion, the father-son team joined forces on their own wine label, Aperture Cellars, with plans to build a new winery and hospitality center in Healdsburg that would capture their unique perspectives on wine through a global lens of art, travel and experiences.
In selecting Signum Architecture, Jesse said “we were looking for a partner that would collaborate with us to bring the literal image of an Aperture lens to life … showcasing our focus for the art of wine.” The project consists of two structures, a large 20,000 square-foot production winery which was recently completed, and an intimate, 4,000 square-foot hospitality building to be completed this spring. The two buildings are linked in design and dynamism, inspired by the aperture of a camera, but explored through different filters. “Our intent was to translate the global experience and vision of both Andy and Jesse into architecture” said Signum partner and Aperture lead designer Juancarlos Fernandez. Due to the large massing of the production winery, Signum de-constructed the ‘blades’ of the aperture into four long connected buildings to reduce its visual impact. At the same time, the design grounds the facility firmly it its valley floor terroir with the site’s orientation and views directed to the mountain range to the west. “There’s nothing cold about it,” said Fernandez. “Throughout the project, we used rustic materials that relate to the land, sheathing the buildings in vintage galvanized and perforated corten steel.”
Construction in progress, the smaller hospitality center is a different manipulation of the aperture creating spaces that transport guests to a place in time through the art of photography, winemaking and design, like the journeys taken by a father and son. The 42-acre estate in a Creekside and fog-cooled location just two miles from Downtown Healdsburg grows Bordeaux grape varieties and old-vine Zinfandel. Until the opening of the new hospitality center, wine lovers can taste the wines at their tasting room at Healdsburg Plaza.
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