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The Stealth Winery

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Thousands of oenophiles trek to California’s Napa Valley each year to indulge in its scenic vistas and celebrated wineries. While the Chandons and Mondavis of the Valley are open to the throngs of tourists who ogle at the modern-day spectacle that is wine tasting, one remains closed on most days. And on the rare occasions that the Dominus Estate opens its silver gates to the public, it does so for architectural tours—not tastings. When I took one look at the building’s modernist sensibilities, I instantly knew why.

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  Completed in 1997, the Dominus Estate was the first project built in the United States by Swiss architects Herzog + de Meuron.
    Completed in 1997, the Dominus Estate was the first project built in the United States by Swiss architects Herzog + de Meuron.
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  The exterior walls of the structure are industrial wire cages filled with locally sourced basalt.
    The exterior walls of the structure are industrial wire cages filled with locally sourced basalt.
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  A close-up view of the wire cages, which are called gabions.
    A close-up view of the wire cages, which are called gabions.
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  Upon entering the winery, visitors are met with a minimalist hall and an unobstructed route through the structure.
    Upon entering the winery, visitors are met with a minimalist hall and an unobstructed route through the structure.
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  Herzog + de Meuron used a variety of industrial materials throughout the structure. After ascending the stairwell to the second level, one is met by a Brutalist concrete floors, a wire-mesh ceiling, floor-to ceiling glass used for interior walls, and sunlight shining through the gabions. A varnished wood handrail contrasts the metals, stone, and glass, adding warmth to the otherwise cool setting.
    Herzog + de Meuron used a variety of industrial materials throughout the structure. After ascending the stairwell to the second level, one is met by a Brutalist concrete floors, a wire-mesh ceiling, floor-to ceiling glass used for interior walls, and sunlight shining through the gabions. A varnished wood handrail contrasts the metals, stone, and glass, adding warmth to the otherwise cool setting.
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  Sunlight shines through the gabions, peppering the interior with natural ornamentation.
    Sunlight shines through the gabions, peppering the interior with natural ornamentation.
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  Reflective floor-to-ceiling glass is used for the interior walls, allowing the vineyards to constantly be in view.
    Reflective floor-to-ceiling glass is used for the interior walls, allowing the vineyards to constantly be in view.
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  The rear facade of the winery.
    The rear facade of the winery.

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