Settled into the rolling hills of California’s Alexander Valley, a new winery under the Silver Oak label cuts through the land with the low profile of dark, minimal, gabled forms. Designed by the San Francisco firm Piechota Architecture, the nearly-net-zero-water tasting room and production facility reference the dominant barn form in the area, here reduced to its simplest clarity. Driving up, the visitor sees the tasting room and production spaces emerge effortlessly from the hillside. Inside, every space has a view to the vineyard, and the local landscape becomes art. Looking through the sweeping open space of the tasting room, whose shape is reflective of the idealized and almost-Platonic barn, you see a gentle a gentle rolling landscape, dotted with trees. The Alexander Valley has its own spirit; long the little sibling to the more heavily-built-up Napa to the east, the Valley has been recognized for its small wineries; its more intimate orientation to the production of wine; its status as an almost-secret (that is just now beginning to be told).
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