About the project
Flowers’ latest guest experience breathes new life into a cherished local landmark, in order to make it into a resort-style, estate dedicated to the celebration of wine, food, and the natural landscape. Located minutes from downtown Healdsburg, in the heart of Russian River Valley, and originally built as a winery in the mid 1970s, the facilities on this 13.5 acre estate had deteriorated considerably. By coincidence, Flowers Vineyard & Winery was looking for a venue to showcase their sustainably produced wines within a setting that expressed their nature-based ethos. This became a perfect union of context and intent, and a home for Flowers’ hospitality house.
The challenge was to evolve the existing collection of facilities and preserve the natural legacy while ensuring that the venue could meet the expectations of today and become a destination in its own right. “Our approach was deceptively simple,” notes Brooks Walker, principal at Walker Warner Architects. “Let nature dominate and use architecture to frame the experience. Ultimately, it’s about the experience of this place.”
Remodeling the existing structures rather than building anew aligned with the Flowers’ commitment to sustainability. The approach, which enabled most of the original structure to be ‘recycled,’ gave focus to the design efforts, elevating what was already present. Passive energy strategies – low-cost, high-impact – were maximised and included taking advantage of daylight (skylight and large windows) and shade (exterior wood slats serve as a veil). Sustainability is reinforced through several large, monumental functional wood installations made of salvaged logs by artist Evan Shively.
Guests can experience a variety of intimate gatherings areas to savor Flowers’ Sonoma Coast wines both inside as well as outside. Upon entering, guests are led to the second floor which includes the sun room, the dining room and living areas as well as more private spaces for VIP guests. The gardens, framed by existing refurbished rammed-earth walls, bring the experience into sharper focus, unfolding as a series of quiet eddies intended for gathering, tasting wine, and celebrating nature. Together, landscape and architecture combine to provide a quiet refuge, a place to celebrate community and friends through the experience of wine.