Now complete, the fermentation facility (above) is both beautiful and highly functional, with equipment made to the specifications of winemaker Bill Nancarrow.
Last fall, Duckhorn Wine Company officially opened its new Paraduxx winery in the Napa Valley. The opening marked the conclusion of a three-year project to design and build a designated winery for Duckhorn's proprietary red wine.
Designed by Baum Thornley Architects, LLC of San Francisco, and built by Wright Contracting, Inc. of Santa Rosa, Calif., the 34,700-square-foot winery is located on a 45-acre estate in the Napa Valley's Yountville appellation. It was designed to reflect both the art and science of winemaking, according to principal architect Douglas Thornley, and ease of production was a major focus. "From the arrival of the harvest fruit to the departure of the trucks with full cases of wine, we strived to achieve seamless functionality," he said.
The centerpiece of the Paraduxx winery is a stunning 10-sided fermentation facility, inspired by traditional round barns. Designed in consultation with the Paraduxx winemaking team, this building is home to a highly efficient, state-of-the-art winemaking facility that includes custom-made fermentation tanks arranged in a circle around the surrounding walls. At the center of the winery is a traditional basket press for the extraction of free-run juice. This highly functional and visually appealing configuration allows direct access between the press and all of the tanks. The open interior blends concrete floors, stainless steel, metal siding and sealed wood to create a simple and clean environment.
"The winery layout is proving to be more efficient than we ever imagined, allowing us to take more time and care when performing functions," said Paraduxx winemaker Bill Nancarrow. "We made sure that the basic utilities are in easy access in a number of locations."
Nancarrow's equipment "wish list" included a Vaslin Bucher JLB20 basket press, Sutter membrane press and custom-made fermentation tanks. Manufactured by Paul Mueller Co., of Springfield, Mo., the tanks "have a 1 to 1 width-height ratio that helps create a thinner cap," Nancarrow said. "This makes pumpovers more effective and gives us a softer extraction than taller, skinny tanks. They were built in a configuration that we think is conducive to fermenting quality red wines with heating and cooling options on each.
"Also, the different capacities of those tanks allow us to harvest and vinify blocks of grapes separately. I think the key is that we have allowed ourselves plenty of flexibility."
After working in the new facility for nearly a year, is there anything about the layout and design that Nancarrow would change? "I think in hindsight we may have changed the finishes in some rooms, and we haven't bottled here yet, so hopefully that works out in the area we have allocated to do it in," he said. "It is tough to answer this one because we are still making small adjustments here and there, and also have two more small barrel cellars slated for construction in late summer. These will provide us with space and function that we are currently lacking."