Winery under construction, Continuum Estate, Halloween 2012
Well, well well, it does not seem like it was that long ago when we were talking about architectural designs, use permits and building permits. Now, we are looking at walls going up, plumbing and electrical going in the ground and some strange notion expressed by Tim, Marcia and their families that we need to have harvest 2013 in the new winery. Something about commemorating what would be their father/grandfather Robert Mondavi’s 100 year birthday. That is a big deal but do you really think it warrants all of that stress? Well, the answer to that is “your damn right it does”. So let’s just say here comes harvest 2013; the first one in our new facility come hell or high water. So where do we stand now just 10 months, 8 hours and 46 seconds from the writing of this note; I will give you a quick peek.
The winery project has been split into two phases, the first is our functioning winery building and supporting infrastructure and the second, hopefully only a few years after completion of the winery is our caves used for our 1st year and 2nd year barrel storage. Until that time all barrels will be kept in the new winery.
We have completed all the earth work and grading at the winery site which entailed moving and crushing lots and lots of rock. Big rocks too! Since we are not able to take any rock off of our site once we have pulled it out of the ground, we have had to come up with some creative ways to use the rock. Some of the rocks are being placed around the property and maybe even a few will be reserved for our new aesthetically pleasing entrance area. Most of the rock is being crushed and screened onsite for use on new road ways, base rock and drainage rock for the winery construction and gravel for our vineyard roads. Ryan Gerhardt our Vineyard Manager loves that; more ways for us to get in his way.
Once the earthwork was completed we moved to all fun underground stuff that no one sees but definitely notices when it does not work. This is the drainage, process and domestic waste lines and some fun stuff that we are incorporating to help this be an environmentally sensitive operation. We started with something relatively new to the winery world, CO2 sequestration. While we might not have the exact method of sequestration defined, we are building in plumbing that will take the CO2 from each tank and evacuate it from the building. This way, we do not have to use the energy needed to restore the humidity and temperature to each room as would be the case if we released the CO2 in the rooms. This allows us to put in smaller more energy efficient equipment and still meet our winemaking requirements. In the future when the actual sequestration process is more defined we can fold in a system that captures the CO2 and converts it to something productive.
Water conservation is also very important to us, especially way up on top of this hill with only well water. As such we have put in a 154,000 gallon underground water tank that will store our rainwater that we capture from the roof of the winery. This water will then be put through a filtration process and used for our fire water and all the water needs of the winery. We will be 100% self sufficient in the winery as a result of this collection process. The entire infrastructure for this system is in place and ready for the roof system to follow.
Footing sand stem walls have been completed and we are currently working on the plumbing and electrical within the building footprint.
All of our new oak and concrete tanks, 16 oak and 4 concrete, have been ordered and are being built for delivery in June. These tanks were designed to align with what we are doing in the vineyard. We have 37 individual 1-2 acre blocks in the vineyard and we want the ability to keep them separate in the winery. We farm each one individually so we do not want to lose that focus once the grapes get to the winery. This will provide us with the flexibility and research capability to continually refine our knowledge of each aspect of this great vineyard estate.
Soon the walls will be going up, exciting… hold on!!….I am getting a little ahead of myself…Focus now!!
Anyway back to work and hopefully in just a few months we will be saying damn, what was the big deal?
Have a great next 10 months, 7 hours and 46 seconds and hope to see you soon!!!