If you're by chance thinking of a career change and "vintner" has always sounded like a fun job, check out this fantastic UC Davis wine making lab that not only teaches sustainable wine production, but is also a net-zero water and LEED Platinum certified facility. Practicing what it preaches, the WBF Lab, designed by Flad Architects, is as high tech as it gets when it comes to wine making and along the way students learn about sustainable production processes and operating procedures. The facility collects enough rainwater to irrigate all of the surrounding vineyards and earned High Honors for Lab of the Year from R&D Magazine.
Officially the lab is called The Teaching and Research Winery and the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory, or WBF for short and is part of the the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science (RMI). The 34,000-sq ft eco lab hosts advanced research and teaching programs and supports outreach into the wine industry. Students and researchers make, research and test wine inside the suburban facility and have a chance to directly test theories and validate new processes for cultivation and production in industrial conditions.
Certified LEED Platinum, the energy efficient facility features appropriate design for the climate, solar passive design, daylighting, and proper solar shading. Recycled glass was placed in the floor, repurposed wood from a 1928 aqueduct was used as paneling and all the lumber used in the facility was harvested from sustainably certified forest operations. Energy and systems monitoring at all times allow students and researchers a high level of control over their processes. There’s even a gorgeous wine tasting room that would have any serious collector jealous.
The facility is also completely net-zero in water usage and capable of capturing and storing 176,000 gallons of rainwater. This is enough to provide irrigation for the entire facility all year round. They also have a “clean-in-place” system that treats and re-uses all cleaning water, reducing demand by about 80%. Then the fermenters are piped for carbon dioxide capture allowing later conversion to solid state. All in all, the gorgeous facility has a full bouquet of sustainable features and is an amazing place to learn about the nuances of sustainable oenology.
Images Courtesy of Flad Architects