Rejoice, vino drinkers, for harvest season is here! Late summer and early fall is one of the best times to take a trip to your local wineries and vineyards to sip wines and watch as the latest crop is processed. Learn what goes into growing grapes, how the climate and soil can affect flavor, and how harvesting, pressing and storing all result in the nuanced flavors. Even better, visit an eco winery that practices sustainable operations like water-wise irrigation, recycling, renewable energy use, and biodynamic production techniques. Inhabitat picked some of its favorite eco wineries to give you a taste of sustainable viticulture from around the world.
Designed by Foster + Partners, the Bodegas Portia Winery features a dramatic central hub that makes use of gravity rather than machines to move grapes and wine around the facility. Topped with solar panels, equipped with natural ventilation capabilities and passive solar strategies, and built slightly into the ground, the winery also reduces energy use both in both winter summer.
The Far Niente Estate in Napa Valley, California, looks like an idyllic Chateau straight out of the French countryside. It shouldn’t surprise you that the winery, along with its sister vineyards, practices sustainable wine growing, has strong recycling practices and is net-zero energy. Far Niente has its own giant Floatovoltaic system with a floating pontoon solar system on one of their ponds to conserve land for growing their grapes.
UC Davis has one of the most advanced research centers for viticulture and they are pushing the boundaries for sustainability. One of the latest additions to the LEED Platinum campus is the Jess Jackson Winery Building by Siegel & Strain Architects, which is completely powered by the sun. Visit the UC Davis Wine, Brewery and Food Science Facility during regular pouring events sponsored by the Robert Mondavi Institute.
The Shale Oak Winery was designed by Studio 2G Architects and looks like a glorious stained glass cathedral dedicated to the nectar of the gods. Built out of reclaimed and recycled materials, the LEED Gold facility makes use of passive strategies, photovoltaics, and rainwater harvesting to make an exceptional wine.
Wine enthusiasts may be surprised to hear about wines from Thailand, but the Sala Visitor Centre about 3 hours outside of Bangkok has us excited to try out their varietals. The wine visitor center introduces wine from the local region in a delightful building cooled with fresh passive breezes and built from local natural materials like bamboo, rattan, and wood. Designed by Sylvia Soh of Soh Design Studio, the centre is built using traditional strategies and features a beautiful view out over the local vineyards, and a sweeping roof.
The Vena Cava Winery in Baja’s Guadalupe Valley is more than just a delight for your taste buds; it’s also a delight to see. Built from old boats and reclaimed materials, the winery is built into the earth to take advantage of the constant moderate temperatures underground. Located about 12 miles east of Ensenada and designed by Architects Alejandro D’Acosta and Claudia Turrent, the organic vineyard produces New World wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Grenache blend ,and the Reserve—a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes.