Solar Potential Uncorked At Winery Of The Future

Wine is embraced as the beverage of celebration and ritual all over the world. Yet growing the grapes that produce this most revered of drinks is a time and resource-intensive task. Producing a single bottle of wine consumes enormous amounts of paper, glass and water, not to mention the pesticides, fertilizers and fossil fuels needed to cultivate the grapes and the power used in the winemaking process.

Stopping this waste and pollution will require the wine industry to make some uncomfortable changes. But as one visionary designer has already discovered, the results could be just as beautiful as the wine.

Solar Vineyard

image via Michael Jantzen

Michael Jantzen’s Solar Vineyard Winery is the definition of a multi-purpose building that adapts to the natural shape of the surrounding terrain. It is intended to house a large winery while also functioning as a solar electric generation power plant and visitors center. Electricity is produced through a large bank of curved photovoltaic solar cells that also provide shade for the structure below, and act as a visual reproduction of the way one would see rows of grape vines planted on a hillside.

Solar Vineyard

image via Michael Jantzen

And, as Greenmuze pointed out in a recent review, these aren’t the only qualities of Jantzen’s design that encourage conservation. “Rainwater is also collected off of the curved roof and stored for use in and around the winery. Large glass windows are recessed into the south side of the structure to shade the interior in the summer, and provide passive solar space heating in the winter. Natural ventilation is used throughout the winery for cooling, along with an extensive system of earth pipes that cool the air as it is drawn into the structure.”

“My hope with this design is to demonstrate ways in which alternative energy gathering systems like solar cells, can be integrated into the built environment without appearing to be an afterthought,” writes Jantzen. “In this case, the solar cells become an integral part of the esthetics of the design in addition to having the potential of producing a large amount of solar electrical energy for many years.”

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog