Olle Lundberg put his thumb over the only adornment in the picture, “now it’s perfect,” he laughed. The picture, of a clean-lined, simple Swedish barn, was provided by Carolyn Duryea Smith in the first interview with the architect. The image she presented, specifically chosen to convey a precise aesthetic, provoked the right response. Olle’s gesture was simple, but spoke volumes about his sensibilities. Take away the clutter and pretense, and simplify to the purest elements. An important sensibility the Smiths and Bob Foley have employed in crafting the Hourglass wines, and one they sought in an architect.
Hourglass wines represent a cutting-edge, modern Napa Valley winemaking style, and the Smiths believed the winery architecture should reflect this. The decidedly simple, elegant modern architectural influences are a nod to their wines, as much as they are a desire to see Napa Valley as its own place, independent of other wine cultures. A Napa Valley native, Jeff Smith has observed the introduction of a great deal of borrowed architecture (Tuscan, faux French, etc.) to the valley. “We love those styles in their place of origin, but have always believed Napa Valley should evolve its own wine and architectural culture,” comments Jeff. Olle’s eventual design situated the winery at the base of a dramatic hill that juts up into the Vaca Mountain Range. Following the hillside topography, the winery is cut directly into the mountain with winemaking functions outside under a cantilevered roof structure, and barrel aging caves bored underground through solid rock. The winery was completed in 2009, and all the Hourglass wines are now made there under the direction of winemaker Bob Foley.
The winery is not open to the public, but may be accessed by appointment to those on the Hourglass mailing list. Should you wish to visit the winery, please join our mailing list and contact us for an appointment.