Wine Country Agenda: Bouchaine, AVOW, Hess Collection, ArchitecTours SB

All Bouchaine Vineyards photos by Michael Hospelt Photography

The oldest continuously operating Carneros winery, Bouchaine Vineyards, is opening a striking new Visitor Center in October designed by Michael Cook and his consulting team including architect Kevin O’Malley of Santa Rosa studio O’Malley Wilson & Westphal. Bouchaine owners Gerret and Tatiana Copeland approach nearly four decades in the Napa Valley with a statement-making, 5,000 square-foot, hilltop space that embraces the vineyards, landscape and the bay with a curved design and floor to ceiling glass facade.

The sustainable design incorporates reclaimed redwood planks from 80-year-old wine tanks to form 12-inch wide, floor to ceiling vertical fins that help shade the interior. The cladding mirrors the historic redwood siding on existing buildings.

Inside, the new Visitor Center is designed for ultimate guest experiences beginning with the central tasting room anchored by a U-shape bar crafted from a single cypress slab.

The dramatic see-through fireplace connects to the Copeland Room and a 750-square-foot sleek, contemporary kitchen designed by Frank Müller of Müller Design, Inc. Look for new luxury food and wine pairings classes to take place here, like a new chocolate pairing and a guest chef series. The inaugural 2 1/2 hour chocolate class and wine pairing on October 13 ($175 pp) starts with the nuance of terroir on cacao and Pinot Noir, followed in November by holiday themed classes where students can take home chocolates for gifting, pairing and decorating the holiday tree. Bouchaine Vineyards is dog friendly. Open daily 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. 1075 Buchli Station Road, Napa

Bringing Luxury to Everyday Life at AVOW in Downtown Napa

Local winemaker Joe Wagner whose family legacy goes back to 1972 with Napa Valley icon Caymus Vineyards deepens those roots further in the revival of a ca. 1908 Renaissance Revival stone building for his new tri-level bar and restaurant called AVOW. A unique space with prime frontage on Main Street in historic Downtown Napa and a rooftop lounge with views of the mountain and Napa River, Wagner enlisted SF preservation architect Architectural Resources Group and BraytonHughes Design Studios to weave the history and spaces together in a fluid and welcoming gathering spot.

On the exterior, the existing 1940s Art Décor tile was removed, restoring the storefront to its original glass façade and dramatically illuminating the street level bar, a space expanded with a cozy lounge hidden to the rear. The dark oak back bar contrasts with the white marble countertop, creating a polished look against the warmth of the original wood floors and exposed masonry.

“We embraced the building and how its three levels lend themselves naturally to delicately layered interiors,” explains Towan Kim, principal at BraytonHughes Design Studios, creating “a downtown Napa destination that suits guests of all types, with a range of experience to choose from depending on occasion and mood.” In the second floor restaurant, elegant yet comfortable channel-tufted leather booths create intimacy under a crystal racetrack chandelier. The oyster bar at one end of the room offers glimpses of the action in the kitchen behind translucent glass, its arched opening speaking to the dramatic windows on the opposite side.

The inviting outdoor deck on the third floor invites with lounge seating and a firepit for the approaching cooler weather. Here and at the long bar inside, guests can sip on speciality cocktails or Joe Wagner’s favorite wines including his own Copper Cane portfolio. “With the interior remodel,” said Wagner “BraytonHughes opened up what was closed and created levels for memorable moments to unfold.” 813 Main Street, Downtown Napa

New Experiences at a Napa Valley Classic: Hess Collection

Artist A. Kiefer at the Hess Collection Art Museum

Established over four decades ago, Hess Collection is synonymous with the Mt. Veeder region, unique in its soils of ancient seabed, steep hillsides and long growing season owing to its cool, high elevation and southerly location close to the Pacific. An avid art collector, founder Donald Hess was one of the first in Napa Valley to showcase a personal collection of contemporary art with a 13,000 square foot, multi-level museum rotating works by such renowned artists as Robert Motherwell, Frank Stella and Francis Bacon.

Fifth generation Sabrina and husband Tim Persson continue the legacy with new Lions Head wines and new or expanded experiences such as an ATV tour of the vineyards offered Spring through Fall followed by a wine lunch in the arbor-covered courtyard garden, or the private dining room. Hess Collection is also a pioneer in ingredient and chef-driven food and wine programs and Executive Chef Chad Hendrickson had overseen the winery’s daily offerings of dinners, luncheons and pairings for nearly two decades.

In addition to their suite of ATV + culinary and tours + culinary, Hess offers a blending experience in modern new spaces upstairs from the recently renovated, turn-of -the-century stone winery. Hess Collection is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm (5:30 pm for the Art Museum). 4411 Redwood Road, Napa

AIA Santa Barbara Showcases “The Art of Architecture” This Weekend

The Santa Barbara AIA’s 11th annual ArchitecTours takes place this Saturday October 5 from 10 am to 4 pm. The self-guided tour is an exceptional behind-the-scenes look at the art of architecture whether through artistically designed homes or spaces that showcase art, at nine different locations from Montecito to Goleta. Frank Gehry recently said “The art of architecture is what humanizes it, brings it to people and relates it to our lives. It’s not just bricks and mortar; it is potentially uplifting, inviting and intellecturally stimulating.” For more information and to book, visit the AIA Santa Barbara website. Tickets are $80 pp, or $70 for AIA members.

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