Williams Selyem, known for three decades as a producer of iconic Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel, has announced the opening of a new winery, located at 7227 Westside Road in the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg.
The new facility gives the winemaking team more control over all aspects of production, and provides an unparalleled visitors’ experience for members of the Williams Selyem “List.”
The spectacular 28,000-square-foot winery will house barrel storage, a bottling line, hospitality spaces and wine-tasting areas, three outdoor picnic areas, a laboratory and administrative offices. Other winemaking functions will continue to be performed at the nearby original winery, also on Westside Road.
Created by the D’Arc Group, the new winery reflects Williams Selyem’s minimalist approach to winemaking and respect for the environment. The building is organic to the site, reflecting the natural resources of the area. It also is in sync with the style of the wines produced.
The overall design theme is based on the image of a barrel. The front exterior of the building showcases an arching barrel wall; large windows that provide dramatic, sweeping views of the Russian River Valley; and repurposed 50-year-old heartwood redwood for walls, ceilings and doors.
Once inside, visitors find themselves in a glass and metal atrium area that looks up into the barrel vault, giving the feeling of being truly inside the wine. Every element of the building design is meant to represent the vernacular of wine.
Owner John Dyson said, “More of the same, only better,” when asked what his intentions were in building the new winery. “I never worked so hard to keep things the same. Williams Selyem will continue to make incredible wine as in the past. We have always believed that Westside Road is one of the most prestigious addresses for Pinot Noir in America. Our new winery underlines our commitment to our region, our style and our customers.”
Noted Executive Winemaker Bob Cabral: “Every element of the production facility – including floor coverings, ceilings and water treatment systems – is of the highest scientific standard in the state. It is tailor-made for our unfiltered, non-interventionist wines.”
Highlights of the new winery include the preservation of a number of 200-year-old California oak trees, utilization of sustainable design elements such as a “green roof” of native grasses, the repurposing of 50-year-old heartwood redwood fermentation tanks purchased 18 years ago from the old Almaden winery in California’s Cienaga Valley, and the installation of solar panels on the roof of the parking structure and mechanical room, resulting in significant savings in electricity and hot water costs.
The entrance to the winery is planted to a native heritage fruit orchard, with most of the varietals originally developed by Luther Burbank. A colony of bees has been introduced to pollinate the trees. Many of the property’s stone walls, paths and roads were made from native rock that had been removed from the vineyard.
The atrium area where wine tasting and entertaining will occur features an enormous wall of glass bottles, sourced from Vetreria Etrusca in Italy and designed by Alessandro Belli, an Italian architect who graduated from Cal-Berkeley.
Each piece of glass is sealed by a stainless steel Champagne crown cap to reinforce the vernacular of wine-design philosophy. In the center of the glass walls are two large frames made of recycled redwood and displaying every Williams Selyem wine from every vintage for the past 28 years.