We're thrilled that our months-long expansion is in its final stages. The building is done. The furniture in the new tasting room is complete, and that in our semi-private tasting rooms is nearly done. We've got most of our landscaping in the ground, with the last pieces coming in the next week. We even thought we'd be able to get into our tasting room this weekend before the accumulation of small things (permitting questions, contractor touch-ups, equipment testing) suggested that it might be better to be a little more conservative. We're planning on next Tuesday (March 15th) as our first official day in our new space.
Those of you who have been following the construction project on Facebook have gotten to see the building at many stages. And I've written recently on the blog about how we hope the experience of visiting the tasting room will communicate who we are. But as recently as last week I posted a photo looking into our tasting room that showed the floors and tasting bars all still covered with protective wrapping. But in the last week everything has come together. I'm excited to be able to present our new tasting room. First, the view from the front door, looking roughly north-west:
A few features worth noting: the floor is three different colors of cork, which should be soft underfoot and should absorb some sound. The sculptural centerpiece in the middle of the room will hold our merchandise, but will also break up the room so that when you're tasting at any bar you'll only see one other bar. This helps keep the experience intimate even as we've nearly doubled our square footage. And you can see that the cellar surrounds the tasting experience. It's hard to tell in this photo, but those barrels are huge... eight feet high on the bottom row, fifteen at the top. And they're really close.
Moving further into the room, you're looking now to the north, where the foudres are on full display. The bar on the right will hold our cash registers (we've doubled the installed space for these) so checking out will be easier. All the bars and the centerpiece are made principally of bamboo, which makes for a beautiful finish and is among the most environmentally friendly of building materials.
Continuing into the room, the camera is now on the back bar, looking back east toward the entrance. You can see the two big cuvinets that are behind the checkout bar, as well as the sculptural leaf logos that are on the front of each bar. The countertops are the same that we have used in our current tasting room, stained and sealed concrete, which gives a warm, natural feel to the bar tops.
Finally, a view of the back of the sculptural centerpiece that will be the home for our merchandise. This view is from the back corner of the room, looking south-east toward the front door. It will look different once it has books, art, clothing and jewelry displayed, but it should be both beautiful and functional.
It's incredibly exciting for us to be so close to moving into our new space. We hope that we've been able to improve upon what we appreciated about the space that we were in (the personal interaction, the proximity of the cellar, the natural look and feel of the materials) while allowing us to give better service to all the people who come to visit us each year. We also have two additional rooms (not visible from any of these photos) to the south of the main tasting room which we can either open up to give us additional tasting bar space, or close of either for a private group or just to keep the space more intimate. One of the rooms will even have the capability of pulling up chairs for seated tastings, which we're thinking we might use for special by-appointment library tastings. Those rooms aren't quite done yet; when they are I'll post another series of photos on the blog.
Meanwhile, everyone who will be in town for Zinfandel Festival will be in for a treat. Nothing like baptizing a new space with our second-busiest weekend of the year! Come on out and let us know what you think. After all, it's not about us... it's about you.