We were commissioned a winery starting from scratch. The promoters did not have the plot yet, they just wanted the winery in the Yerri Valley (Valle de Yerri), an area with the perfect climate and soil conditions to grow vines that will allow to create high quality wines with outstanding personality. The assignment was completed with the logo and packaging of the new wines.
Jointly us and Promoter began searching for a plot in which all the requirements were satisfied: orientation and topography were a must in order to achieve the goals of this winemaker’s project. On one hand, avoiding the use of air conditioning in the production and in the ageing room, and on the other hand the winery design should allow a gravity fed process avoiding the use of pumps and as a consequence, the personnel requirements would be minimal.
We found the right plot with a natural decreasing slope to the North and a magnificent view to Yerri Valley vineyard's was found. A plot that becomes part of the “Camino de Santiago”, the oldest European Pilgrimage route. Dated from the XII century in which thousands of pilgrims walked until the end of the known world, nowadays thousands of pilgrims (more than 40.000 each year) follow the way their ancestors walked during centuries.
Given these premises we conceived a building that adapts to the natural plot conditions, avoiding non essential changes of the existing topography. The winery is set in two basic volumes, one below the land gradient and the other resting on top of the first. The building is created with a resounding categorical rotundity without giving up the will of becoming a landscape landmark. The external appearance of the winery is defined by the winemaking cellar parallelepiped, North facing through the skylight, becoming at night and at the same time a light reference in the pilgrimage way, as it happened in ancient times were churches lighted torches by night to attract pilgrims.
The program is organized as a two-story building plus a mezzanine. At the lower level story (-2 level) most of the winery work is performed: winemaking cellar, barrel cleaning, bottling, oak ageing cellar, bottle ageing cellar, raw material and final product warehouses besides the loading ramp and the aside access for heavy vehicles. The relation in between all these areas is a direct one, without obstacles in the ground level.
At the mezzanine (level -1) the staff area is located, rest rooms, changing rooms and the laboratory. Its location is indeed important. It has direct access to the winemaking cellar and a visual connection with the bottling cellar and the patio that splits ageing in oak and ageing in bottle cellars. To reinforce the lab’s epicentre location in the winery, the tasting rooms is incorporated at an area of the lab with a link to the winemaker’s working area.
The access story (level 0) nurtures the control, administration area, and a space for gastronomy events of the partners and clients, all in a long pavilion of a light aspect, fully closed in glass in a dialogue with the stony surface besides and the nearby landscape. Through one of its two ends one will find the entrance to the main volume of the building which at this story works as the reception hall where visitor may enjoy the view to the valley and commence the visit to the facilities not losing the inner perspective of the winemaking cellar and barrels patio. The rest of facilities are completed with the harvest reception area at the South end of the winemaking cellar with a direct outside entrance.
The building is comprised of a flat roof, since the activity requires a constant free height. The façade of the partially buried volume shows a view of its structural composition built of exponed concrete walls. Their location and width provides the ageing cellars of a great thermal inertia that guarantees an appropriate and constant temperature. The floor spans of up to 20 meters is solved with wide side alveolar slab. The vertical elements over the main volume are formed by a combination of concrete walls covered with simulated railway crossbeams of the outer side of the concrete wall in relation to the temperature that the volumen gets mainly during the summer months with the direct solar exposure.
Josecho Vélaz / Iván Fernández Architects