The first photo shows the general shape and height of the winery against the backdrop of the hills and vineyards nearby. One of our design goals is to be as inconspicuous as possible, and a fringe benefit of having a gravity flow winery is that much of the building is underground. This helps make our impact on the beauty of the area as small as possible and keeps our footprint light. Another benefit of being partially underground is lower energy usage which will help us meet our goal of running the meter backwards via solar.
The winery is quite hidden from every other direction. The trees and the converted barn to the left of the winery block it from view from River and Laguna Roads, both of which are designated scenic byways.
Perhaps most importantly however, the view in the first picture is very close to the one our neighbor, whose home is shown in the second picture, will have of the winery. It is critical that we not negatively impact his views out onto the valley. You see, our neighbor Jim was once quite the mucky-muck in the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management department. He is simply not the man you want to have on your ass when it comes to building things in Sonoma County.
Being of moderate intelligence, we recognize this, and since Jim is now retired from county work and acting as a consultant, weâ€™re going to see if he would like to consult for us on the rest of the Use Permit process. He comes highly recommended from people whom I respect, and having him on board will assure that the permit process goes as smoothly as it possibly can.
The final photo shows a cad version of the winery sketch I posted earlier. Iâ€™m not sure if we will keep the forklift ramp as we can also simply lift our barrels up the 4 feet to the second level without having to leave the interior of the winery. Iâ€™ll have to mull it over.
Things are coming along nicely, and hopefully by this time next week weâ€™ll be full speed ahead and will be able begin the paperwork filing with the county.