One Family's Winery Aesthetic, From the Roots Up

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By Caroline Wallis / Published by Caroline Wallis
An Italian family's rich history permeates every detail of this stunning Napa Valley winery.

Uniquely situated in the bottleneck region of the hourglass-shaped Napa Valley, the Trinchero Napa Valley Winery and its adjacent vineyards enjoy a Goldilocks-esque balance of sunshine, coolth and humidity afforded by near-perfect geography. It's no wonder why Mario Trinchero, an Italian immigrant and former bartender, took over what is now well-known as the Sutter Home winery when he arrived from New York City almost 70 years ago. Sandwiched between Spring Mountain to the West and Howell Mountain to the East, the Sutter Home winery has evolved from a mom-and-pop business to one of the most productive family-owned wine companies in the country.

Originally constructed in 2007, Trinchero Napa Valley Winery's most recent addition to its group of facilities is the Trinchero Tasting Room, a 5000 sf space combining public and private tasting areas. The space is a collaboration between Bob Torres, third generation Trinchero family member, and Erin Martin of BAR Architects and Erin Martin Design. The Tasting Room represents the final phase of the winery's development - a final tying-together and expression of the Trinchero family history, core values and international influences. Consistent throughout the space, bird imagery and motifs symbolize the family's perseverance, resilience, and creativity. Carefully curated art pieces emphasize the uniqueness and eccentricity that is in large part the cause of the Trinchero family's success in the wine world.

The cathedral ceiling of the public tasting room - 22 ft high at its peak - packs both a public and private "VIP" tasting room. Best characterized as 1920s Californian, the public tasting room invents a modern spin on a classic bar aesthetic from tufted leather nooks to dark marble and wood surfaces. Even the partition between the two spaces is a sliding black aluminum door with speakeasy-styled peepholes. The drinking establishment feel of the two rooms is a nod to the winery's own history when the Trinchero's took over the Sutter Home winery after it was abandoned during Prohibition.

The project mastermind Erin Martin, internationally renowned interior designer and principal of her eponymous St. Helena-based firm, has quirky details down to a science. For the private tasting room, she balanced the quintessentially crisp Napa aesthetic with design elements all her own, including custom light fixtures and seating. Speaking to her fluid design approach, Erin remarks, "The project is alive, so it's constantly moving. Ideally, it's all mapped out on paper, but that's not how it works. We create."