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Publication Date: 2011-10-01

Inspiration

​Visit a Stylish Sonoma Tasting Rooms Created by Will Wick

A visit to a Californian winery was once a pretty rudimentary affair, where the wine took center stage and aesthetics were very much an afterthought. But these days, with an abundance of award-winning wines competing for attention, it often takes more than a good Parker rating to draw a crowd.

While some wineries have resorted to stringing up chandeliers and displaying noteworthy art collections, we particularly like the approach Christopher Medlock James and Ames Morison of Medlock Ames took when they purchased a century-old, local general store and saloon in the heart of Alexander Valley in Sonoma, California, and turned it into a modern-day tasting room.

Morison, who also serves as Medlock Ames’ winemaker, was intent on preserving the rustic feel of the legendary bar and historic general store while taking it into the current age. With the help of Wade Design, he enlisted San Francisco-based interior designer Will Wick of Wick Design Group and asked him to create a place where locals and guests would feel equally at home.

Wick, who is accustomed to designing residential spaces, used the one-room schoolhouse as his template, keeping the elements simple and restrained “without adding too many notes in the aesthetic.” He chose a soft color palette with natural earth tones to provide a seamless transition for the indoor-outdoor spaces, which feature spacious breezeways. Floor-to-ceiling triple-hung windows (inspired by a visit to Jefferson’s Monticello) also take advantage of the light and open onto the deck.

An avid collector of European industrial found objects, which he sells at his San Francisco store Battersea, Wick brought in such vintage furniture as Parisian bistro tables with Bakelite tops and Walter Gropius chairs for “a worldly, layered feel.” He commissioned custom scissor lights for the walls using metal piping and used the pipe motif for other elements in the tasting room, such as the counter footrest and stool arm. Wick chose zinc for the countertops, as it allows the wood to stand out and also ties in with the grid of galvanized planters in the gardens. Designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the gardens are emblematic of the New York firm’s sustainable approach and their deftness in integrating the outdoors with architecture. Wick worked closelywith the firm and credits them with helping him think in what he describes as “a very simple way, without being one-dimensional.”

“The tasting room and bar,” explains Wick, “are just like the wine, they speak for themselves, and are straightforward and honest.” It would appear that the locals concur: Drop by the bar any night after the tasting room has closed and you will find winemakers and farm workers alike bellied up to the bar, drink in hand.

For more information on Napa Valley tasting rooms, check out this post on Remodelista.

Article by Sarah Lonsdale

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