“There is a Hobbit in all of us who loves to be Underground,” says Scott Chafen with a twinkle in his eyes when speaking of the winery’s decision to have a wine cave built.
Aside from that fundamental subterranean urge, the Chafen family is serious about their winemaking, energy use, and farming practices. “First and foremost was the quality of wine. Caves just can’t be beat for their consistency in temperature and humidity. We had already installed solar panels, and a cave was just another way to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint while providing a year round covered and temperature- controlled working environment.”
The winery worked closely with Vincent Georges, owner of the Cave Company, in designing and creating their 4,500 square foot cave. Functionality from a winemaking standpoint was critical, as was the creation of a larger room dedicated for tastings and small gatherings. The exterior was designed to have minimal impact on the surrounding environment. As a certified organic farm we planted olive trees on the hillside above the main portal.
Completed in the fall of 2008, the cave looks as if it has always been there. The stonework on both portals was sourced from the winery’s vineyard in St. Helena and a local mason did the rockwork.