Wine Country filled with Designs, new and reborn
By Hilary Berg
Famous L.A. architect Frank Gehry once said, “Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.”
Although not mind-bending like Gehry’s most famous works, a handful of wine country’s tasting rooms represent some of the most contemporary designs found in Oregon today. Thse gems were created to coexisit with the outside world while achieving an enduring aesthetic.
Sokol Blosser’s 2013 rebuild of its Dundee Hills tasting room remains the poster child for contemporary architecture with sustainability at its core and hospitality at its heart. A portfolio standout for Portland’s Allied Works Architecture, the design unites interior and exterior with the use of striated wood cladding — a visual inspired by rows of vines — and angles that play with the changing sunlight. The low profile hugs the landscape with openings framing scenery from all sides. It is a site to see, in person.
Also in the Dundee Hills, you’ll find Furioso Vineyards, another design treasure meant to bring the outside in. Unveiled in 2018 and designed by Waechter Architecture, the new tasting room was built to feel as if it hovers above and within the vineyard. Open on all sides, the modern, minimalist space affords panoramic views of the surrounding hills and the perfect place to toast your wine country adventure.
Saffron Fields’ tasting room, located outside Yamhill, also honors nature with floor-to-ceiling, retractable windows meant to blur the lines of exterior and interior. The almost uninterrupted flow — designed by 2FORM Architecture — reflects the Zen-like water features surrounding the building, made even more stunning with exotic plants and conversation-sparking sculptures. If you enjoy all forms of art, Saffron is a must-stop.
While some wineries choose “new,” others have made remarkable spaces reviving the “old.” Flâneur Wines in Carlton owns such a landmark.
The old Madsen Grain elevator, originally built in 1890, is now the winery’s tasting room. The time, work and skill it took to make the transformation happen was no small feat.
The structure initially included three towers; workers took one down and saved every scrap of wood for floors, windows, doors and frames. The result is an inviting masterpiece that truly rises above the rest. Elizabeth Chambers also knows a thing or two about restoring an old gem. The McMinnville winery reinvigorated the 1926 power plant in 2016. With the help of Cellar Ridge Construction, who also worked on the Flâneur project, original brick walls were liberated from paint, the signature 15-foot arched windows came to light and a garden with mature trees, seating and installation of a water feature were added.
The final tasting room touches came in 2017. Like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, the inside renovation by Pedal Home Interiors came to life. Chic with an industrial vibe, Elizabeth Chambers is too cool to miss.
New or reborn, these tasting rooms represent only a few of the architectural jewels in Yamhill County. Seek and you shall find awe-inspiring places.