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Wine and Learn


The addition to Sonoma Cutrer’s wine facility is extensive, both in terms of scale and scope. The new stainless steel fermenting tanks hold 100,000 gallons and weigh about a million pounds each when full. The tanks and the site is heavily engineered to withstand earthquakes. The tanks were all built on site and took about two weeks a piece to make. The tanks were then put on their pads and then the building was put up around the tanks. For the first time the county required a special inspection of the tanks and supporting structures.

LEED accreditation is a challenge in a rural setting, but Eric Glass thinks they will have enough points to gain a LEED Gold rating. The building has a 100KW photovoltaic system that counts for 9 credits. They lost 12 points because of the rural setting. There are no local businesses or housing near the winery. Those 12 points make the difference between Gold and Platinum, so it’s impressive that they will be certified Gold.

The other impressive part of this project was that over the years, the winery has been expanded and improved, but the drawings were suspect. Many changes were made along the way and not documented, so there was always a risk that underground utilities might not be where they were shown and could impact the schedule. With a bountiful harvest expected, it was imperative that the new storage facility be completed on time, so that there was a place to store all the wine. With that hard deadline always in mind, Wright Contracting and BKF Engineering were very diligent in checking the drawings and the site to make sure there were no problems with the schedule. There were some times when the plan had to change, but they kept to schedule and delivered a new facility that will serve Sonoma Cutrer for many decades.

Beyond the numbers and the engineering, the wine itself was reason enough to attend this event. Many thanks to Wright Contracting and BKF Engineering for sponsoring this event.  To see more photos from this event, visit our Facebook page.


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