Winery Construction!

After over a decade of making wine at other wineries, we're finally building our own. This is a big deal, because it will give us complete control over every aspect -- most notably, the ability to use the native yeasts present on the grapes, without fear of contamination from more aggressive commercial yeasts. From newest to oldest, here we go...

Wednesday Oct 16 -- Putting up a parking lot With the building (mostly) framed and being sheathed, there's not a lot to see from the outside. So we moved the camera to cover the building of the parking lot.

Mundane? Yes. But really cool to watch! Harold, who drives the main equipment, is a true master; it's like watching any great artist or craftsperson at work.

And from Thursday Oct 17...

Monday...Friday Oct 4-11 A week of framing.

Framing is fascinating; it involves a lot of careful planning for each stage, then a flurry of physical activity; lather, rince, repeat. Pedro Cortes and his crew (mostly family members) are real pros.

The net progress for the week is that we're about halfway through the process -- very exciting! But we're about at the end of what we can show without moving the camera, so next week there'll be a new vantage point.






Friday Oct 4 -- Framing starts It took a bit longer than we'd hoped for the concrete to fully cure and the framing materials to be delivered.

But now we're underway!

On this inaugural day of framing the team first had to do the layout very carefully; setting the two critical posts took several hours, as they had to be perfect -- and they are.

Next week will bring huge changes...

Saturday Sept 28 -- It becomes concrete The day started far earlier than anticipated, with the first concrete truck (of 12) showing up at 5:30am.

Hence the fact that the video doesn't start until we were part-way into our day.

But everything went like a well-oiled machine, with Sergio and his amazing team doing an exceptional job.

The video tells the story, but there are some still shots after that give more detail.

Now, it will sit quietly til Wednesday -- then Framing begins!

Friday Sept 27 -- Inspection! It was a flat-out day from before sunrise until after the inspector left, with more rebar, setting the floor drains, finishing the framing for the foundation, and digging the trench for the electric and the wastewater system.

Mark Walker from the Sonoma County PRMD kindly agreed to make ours his last visit of the ay, which gave us just enough time to finish. He made a few suggestions, which we hopped on, and his blessing to go forward with the pour tomorrow!

Watch this space for what's sure to be a fascinating day...

Thursday Sept 26 -- Rrrrrrebar Redux! A steady flurry of activity, setting and tying the rebar for the pour. Tomorrow we have our first inspection, so fingers crossed: if we pass, then we pour concrete on Saturday!

Wednesday Sept 25 -- Rrrrrrebar! Today involved a lot of people as the rebar for the foundation was laid out and tied together. (You can really tell when it's lunchtime -- nobody there!) Tomorrow, more prep work.

Tuesday Sept 24 -- Foundation work begins Lots of activity today as the foundation crew lays out the form boards, places a layer of gravel, then a moisture barrier, then sand. These steps are increasingly precise, because an inch here is hard to fix once it's concrete!

Monday, Sept 23 -- Footings A long, long day digging the footings for the foundation. This has to be exact, or else the building will be wrong. Watching Pablo from Cats4U cut the trenches was incredible; he moves the excavator with the grace of a ballet dancer and the precision of a surgeon. (The last frame of the clip is Assistant Wine(maker) Evan LaNouette.)

Forgot to mention that on Friday, as they refilled the hole, they used the gravel layer from the adjacent field, which had been put there to support the greenhouses, as the bottom layer of the fill. This was a double-win: it put good drainage at the bottom of the hole, and it uncovered the terrific native earth in the field!

Friday Sept 20 -- Refilling the hole The soils work wraps up, marking the end of pouring money _into_ the ground. Monday, we start on the actual foundation work -- pouring money _onto_ the ground!

Thursday Sept 19 -- Finally finish digging Excavation continues, and we start the process of refilling after testing for dryness and compaction.

Wednesday Sept 18 -- Deeper and deeper. We keep digging, only to discover we didn't dig deep enough. Sigh.

Tuesday Sept 17 -- We start the excavation for the foundation. The first step is to dig a hole, just because. Of course, that lets you break a waterline, which just enhances the experience!

Posted in Life on the Farm