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Author: Annette Hanami
AFTER DECADES of making coveted cabernet for other wineries, Philippe Melka enlisted Juancarlos Fernandez of Signum Architecture to design Melka Estates, a new winery in Saint Helena created for his own personal label. Having worked with Melka in the past, Fernandez knew how to reflect his client’s personality as well as the highly rated wines.
For his French-born client, Fernandez looked to Europe for inspiration, particularly the northern climes, where clean-lined barns are designed for snowfall, equipped with few protrusions and steeper pitches. At Melka, Fernandez concealed the gutters, raised the roof and lowered the walls to create a barn that’s more contemporary thanvernacular.
Blending the roof and walls, Fernandez minimized the language from peak to ground with a continuous standing seam. Spanning two storage rooms, the 2,000-square-foot vaulted cavern follows the contour of the valley.
The linearity is broken by a central breezeway that frames the view of the old oaks and mountains. On one end where grapes are received for crush, a veil of perforated steel allows for air circulation without losing the seamless look.
The all-black color appears organic against the dark powder-colored concrete floors and the native plantings in the landscape. Warm Brazilian hardwood doors and delicate bent plywood chandeliers were brought in to soften the entrance creating a warm energy.
To meet the client’s requirements, the winery is prefab, designed to Signum Architecture’s specifications. With each new project, Fernandez says, “We keep learning how to get the best use of prefabricated metal buildings as a tool for great design, instead of seeing them as a limitation.”
"The temperatures probably helped contribute to the Latin feel—on Friday, it was 99º on the grounds of Robert Mondavi Winery, where the barrel auction part of the event was held. That didn’t stop bidders from going long on special barrel lots from the acclaimed 2014 and 2015 vintages, with the top amount going to star winemaker Philippe Melka’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Metisse Montbleau vineyard ($62,100)."
Read more at: Food & Wine Auction Napa Valley: The Fanciest, Most Fabulous Wine Event in the World
Melka Wines will be participating this June in Auction Napa Valley. We will hosting a Thursday night Vintner Welcome Event and will be featuring a barrel from the Estate Montbleau Vineyard in the Friday barrel auction. To procure one case of the ten made available from this extremely limited and specially hand-crafted barrel, get your tickets (click here) early or apply to bid by proxy. Our Jumping Goat barrel lot was the top barrel in 2012, and our Atelier Melka barrel won top barrel last year. Benefitting local charities, this auction is one that we support and hope you will too!
As plans come together for this years Member’s event, it is imperative that you save the date of November 3-4, 2016. Make your travel arrangements now so as not to miss this over top celebration of our 20th year. Events include a retrospective tasting at the Culinary Institute of American in St. Helena and a party not to be missed at the new winery, and of course a few surprises during the weekend that we will not share in print.
The construction of the new production building is slowly making progress as we happily welcome the rains that have been inundating the Napa Valley. We have approved building plans from Napa County and ground work is being done to prepare for the pouring of the foundation. We anticipate that the building will be erected by August, and will be ready to welcome the 2016 harvest, which will commemorate our 20th harvest for Melka Wines!