“The winemakers bring their values to the land,” he said. “These people tend to think in terms of structures that are long-term and well-built…they want their families to take over the business. They’re building for the future.”
ERMA is the firm behind a number of green building projects for Oregon wineries in recent years, including Winderlea’s tasting room in Dundee, Scott Paul Wines winery and tasting room in Carlton, and the Yamhill estate of WillaKenzie. Both Winderlea and WillaKenzie draw a portion of their power from solar arrays (in the latter case, nearly 50 percent of the electricity the estate requires). The Scott Paul Wines project involved the renovation and reuse of two historic structures in downtown Carlton, a former creamery (now tasting room) and granary (now a winemaking facility).
But for an across-the-board showcase of what green means in the Oregon wine business, look no further than Stoller Family Estate. Their recently completed tasting room in Dayton was built mostly of reclaimed wood, and incorporates 236 solar panels that generate enough energy to power the entire building (and even send a little solar love next door to the Stoller winery). The sun even powers the winery’s electric forklift, as well as the electric vehicles of any wine connoisseurs who happen to stop by. Natural daylighting comes courtesy of the tasting room’s many windows, and soon, a green roof will help to insulate the building while helping to manage storm runoff on site.
Next door, the Stoller Family Estate winery (which was completed in 2005, and earned LEED Gold certification) makes use of a 46-kilowatt photovoltaic array, natural ventilation and daylighting, efficient HVAC and lighting systems, and passive heating and cooling strategies. It also utilizes a gravity-flow system, a feature of many finer wineries everywhere. Because raw ingredients must move through several steps before emerging as wine, electric pump systems have long been used in winemaking. By building in way that takes advantage of gravity, rather than relying on such pumps, wineries not only save energy, they treat their wines more gently — a key factor in producing that perfect Pinot.
Both Stoller’s tasting room and winery were designed by Munch Architects; since beginning with Domaine Drouhin, in 1988, the firm has been involved with nearly 20 wineries and tasting rooms in Yamhill County, and a few beyond. And yet both Munch and Omey resist the concept of specialization. “We try to design buildings that are owner occupied and have specialty programs — a winery fits that description,” Omey said. “Each winemaker has their own idea of how to make wine. Each label tries to project its own brand. Each site is different. That keeps the work interesting and yields a variety of results.”
Munch adds, “If you lined up all of our wineries, it would be difficult to ascribe them to a single author. They would, however, all be sensitive to the client’s site, functional needs, image and budget. We jumped at the chance to do our first winery because of the variety involved, but also because it was a vehicle to preserve the beauty of Oregon’s agricultural land by giving it value. This is our motivation.”