Theorem Winery, Calistoga, California, USA

Theorem Vineyards is one of many wineries located in Calistoga in the Diamond Mountain area of California’s Napa Valley. This region is known as a world-class winemaking region as its volcanic soil and mild climate are ideal for wine growing. With its lush mountain valleys, the area is also known for its breathtaking scenery and it is popular as a vacation destination.

One of the features we love about the recently completed Theorem winery building in Calistoga is the fact that architect Richard Beard has allowed the location, its historical buildings and the vines outside to become the main characters. Huge windows, a see-though passage and a trellised segment suggest an enclosed space but they do not lock the visitor in. The rows of vines, the mountains and the property’s other buildings are always visible. There is a sense of place and history, yet the new winery building is contemporary and sleek.

The almost 9,000 square-foot (836 sq.m) structure serves as the production facility of the Theorem wine label and also as the home for the winery’s small-group, by-invitation-only tour- and visit program. The exclusive visits include the recent, $750-US-per-person Theorem Vineyards Baccarat Tasting Experience offered in cooperation with the French glassware artisans at Baccarat.

The new facility is the latest piece of the 60-acre property that is home to several buildings from the late 1800s. Some of them were originally built as a country retreat for a San Francisco doctor, Beverly Cole. The buildings include a small schoolhouse and a distinguished Greek-revival cottage known as the Cole House restored and remodeled by Richard Beard in 2016 prior to master-planning the entire property for the new winery.

Beard’s clients, Texas-based Kisha and Jason Itkin, purchased the property after several years of vacationing in the area. The buildings were derelict at the time but Beard and the clients saw the potential. Beard was charged with developing the property to include a winery and a residence.

In charge of interior design for both the 2016 restoration and the new winery is Nicholas Proietti, principal of San Francisco-based Nicholas Vincent design.

And although winemaking itself is an indoor activity, Beard’s and Proietti’s work has connected wine growing and wine making in a seamless way. The landscaping and scenery take centre stage. We love the new structure, its simplicity and its minimalism. There is no attempt to resemble a retail or hospitality space which is a welcome change in the sea of sameness of the ubiquitous wine-tasting spaces that have popped up everywhere from shopping malls to upscale residential high-rises. Here at Theorem winery, the tasting experience is a full-body immersion in where and how the wine is made.

In addition to the tasting areas, the winery complex includes the crush pad, various storage rooms, a full restroom, and a laboratory-office. The production capacity is 8,412 cases of wine.

Richard Beard studio, established in 2015 by Richard Beard, is located in the Dogpatch neighbourhood of San Francisco. The firm’s clients include Polo Ralph Lauren, Mumm Napa Valley, Agassi-Graff LLC and the US National Park Service. Tuija Seipell

Images: Paul Dyer

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