Barrel Cellar

Accessed by descending a stairway housed in a traditional stone outbuilding, and walking through a pair of hand-oiled, rail-and-stile pocket doors, the 30,000 square-foot subterranean barrel cellar appears as a beautifully dramatic and unexpected room, located beneath the fermentation barn. The Napa Valley wine cellar excavation began in June 2001 and required digging 12 feet down, below the water table, and one acre in area. Highlights include:

  • 10-foot vaulted ceilings, groin arches and illuminated column capitals, inspired by old European wine cellars, provide aesthetic detail in the cellar, which is large enough to hold 3200 French oak barrels
  • 25 thirteen-ton cement beams and 330 four-ton planks, each measuring 26 feet long, were craned in to create the ceiling, which is at ground level; 36 four-ton cement columns support the ceiling; these modern, pre-cast concrete structural pieces are concealed by plaster architectural detailing
  • Custom-formed columns to conceal hose and electrical stations, combining wine lines from the fermentation tanks above, hot water, cold water, inert gas and compressed air; the stations ease the rigors of cellar work and minimize clutter
  • Radiant cooling in the floor and ceiling to maintain perfect temperature control in an area of warm underground temperatures
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