Skip to content

Sonoma Wine Cave

Sonoma Valley, in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, is often cited as the birthplace of the California Wine Industry. The Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountain landforms define the valley itself, known to many as the Valley of the Moon, a name conferred upon it by the previous inhabitants, the coastal Miwok, Pomo and Wintun peoples.

The Valley of the Moon has a unique terroir, as the Sonoma Mountains protect the area from the wet and cool influence of the Pacific Ocean while limiting rainfall. Cool air flows north/south and the valley-floor offers fertile, loamy soil of high water-retention. Fog rolls in at night. Sonoma’s wine history kicked off in the early 1800s, when Russian colonists began to plant grapes along the Pacific Coast.

It is in this setting that our Valley of the Moon Wine Cave roots itself. The wine cave is dug into the heavily-oaked (Coastal Live Oaks/Black Oaks) western slope of the valley’s western terrain on a residential property below a house/pool complex. With a view out over the valley, the structure is designed to accommodate the owners’ wine selection in locked custom casework and seat a large dining party comfortably. Cave entrance portal schemes were developed using both stone and metal cladding. A circular section was chosen for its formal integrity and timeless appeal (Claude Ledoux approved).

Link to view steel cave portal design animation here.

“Climate here is driven by the Pacific Ocean.  Diurnal temperature variation—the difference between daytime high and nighttime low temperatures—plays a key role in sugar accumulation, color, flavor and aroma development, and in preserving balanced natural acidity.”   –  Craig McAllister, head winemaker at La Crema Winery

View From the Site
Project Site
Project Credit.

Architect/Landscape Architect:
Mary Barensfeld Architecture

Special thanks to Rick Shone of Nordby Caves.