C California Style

Patrick Dougherty's Deck the Halls. PHOTO: TUBAY YABUT.
Farm acreage on the property.
Inside the Nicole Hollis-designed Visitor Center. PHOTO: Mark Adams.
Tasting area in the center. PHOTO: Mark Adams.
The original building dates to 1885.

Hall of Fame

by C California Style

On Highway 29, a distinguished name in Cabernet gets a high-concept look.

Of Napa Valley’s world-class modern art and architecture, the Hess Collection, Herzog and de Meuron’s walled world that is Dominus, Quixote’s Friedensreich Hundertwasser mosaics and the Stonescape Turrell Skyspace immediately come to mind.

Then there are the beacons that never were, like Frank Gehry’s 2007 design for Hall Wines. They broke ground in 2007 for the architect’s undulating, floating waves of rattan-like matter and, sadly, abandoned plans in 2010, live-feed Gehry-cam and all.

CA native and former U.S. Ambassador to Austria Kathryn Walt Hall and Dallas real estate investor Craig Hall recommitted to the idea of a museum-worthy home for the c.1885 winery they purchased in 2003. To create a new Visitor Center and renovate the historic Peterson Bergfeld Building, they called upon a new dream team: Signum Architecture and interior designer Nicole Hollis.

This past winter, the St. Helena location unveiled a new culinary center, winemaking facility, events space and gleaming Visitor Center of glass, smooth woods and saturated reds. Elements and furnishings are site-specific, too; a 43-foot table resembling a log, designed by Hollis and manufactured by John Houshmand, is embedded into blackened steel with glass panels.

Hand in hand with Hall’s respected Cabernet Sauvignon (the most recent release was in February), the center highlights the couple’s bold art collection. Joining a John Baldessari camel are Jim Drain, aluminum mandalas over fermentation tanks on the east side of the building and Graham Caldwell raindrops on the west. Outside, Patrick Dougherty’s “Stickwork” installation is juxtaposed with the Bergfeld building. Putting a call out to the community to assist with their construction, the landscape sculptor’s windswept woven-willow series went up with the help of more than 60 volunteers over three weeks in September. Deck the Halls will stay, fittingly, for a lifespan of five years—until it fully biodegrades. Terroir to terroir, dust to dust. 401 St. Helena Hwy. South, St. Helena, 707-967-2626; hallwines.com.

Written and edited by Alison Clare Steingold.