Think winery, and chic Mediterranean-style architecture comes to mind - not reclaimed materials and salvaged boats. But that's exactly what you get at the Vena Cava Winery in Baja's Guadalupe Valley. Located about 12 miles east of Ensenada and designed by Architects Alejandro D'Acosta and Claudia Turrent, the winemaking facility looks a bit like a scene from Burning Man. But it's so much more than that - sustainable design matched with creative construction contribute to an ethos that will give conscious consumers confidence in this inspired organic vineyard.
Vena Cava Winery was started by Phil Gregory, who also owns and runs the nearby luxury hotel La Villa del Valle in Guadalupe Valley. The desert valley enjoys an interesting microclimate for growing grapes with excellent soil and mineral quality and nighttime sea breezes that keep the grapes cool. While only in production for four years, the organic vineyard produces New World wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Grenache blend and the Reserve, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes.
Husband and wife architecture team, Alejandro D’Acosta and Claudia Turrent made use of their impressive junk yard scouring skills to source materials for the eclectic new facility. Old boats from the nearby Ensenada port were used as cathedral style roofs for the underground buildings. Otherwise, reclaimed materials, salvaged wood and recycled glass all make their way into the building along with earthen walls. Dirt excavated for the buildings was used elsewhere on the property. Construction was completed in 2012 with the help of Architect Miguel Cuesta and Contextual Architecture Workshop. Overall, the eco winery was constructed in a radial pattern so wine making process is more efficient by minimizing the distance from the vines to the grapes.
Images ©Yoshihiro Koitani and Peter Stranger