Alexander Valley CA
(2009 - 2011)

The landscape master plan encompasses 375 acres in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County, California - 75 acres in vineyard and organic vegetable production and 300 acres of undeveloped open space comprised primarily of rolling oak and madrone woodland. The plan will map distinct ecological communities and provide management strategies to improve the health of those systems as well as provide trails to unique locations where discreet design interventions highlight the features of the native landscape.  On a more intimate scale, a landscape design frames the visitor experience at the Medlock Ames winery facility, organic market garden, and surrounding vineyard areas.  It reveals the client’s commitment to the organic and sustainable production of wine, market produce, and olive oil.

Medlock Ames Winery commissioned Nelson Byrd Woltz to design a tasting room and garden through the adaptive re-use of a 1920s-era gas station on a one acre site. The design of the landscape transforms the flat site, long used for ad hoc parking, and surrounded on two sides by vineyards, into a series of lush garden spaces that demonstrate the client’s commitment to organic, sustainable farming as well as conservation and practices that promote the health of local ecologies.  

The design offers the immersive experience of an olive grove, an organic vegetable and herb garden parterre, native meadow, and a site drainage strategy that locates vegetated swales and a rain garden at the center of the experience. Each planting is meant to provide the public with direct contact to organic farming practices in the context of regional native ecology. Visible, elegantly detailed stormwater management ties the garden rooms and gathering spaces of the site together in a narrative of conservation. Roof water is conveyed over the trellis at the deck to rain chains and into the rain garden. Flexible courtyards paved with gravel and decomposed granite create an additional opportunity for groundwater recharge. Re-purposed wood from demolition of existing site structures are put to use in the design of a fence, benches, and other site features. The site becomes an important cultural nexus at the center the Alexander Valley and connects site ecology to the larger Russian River watershed.

Collaborators: Tierney/Figueiredo Architects, Wade Design Architects, Wick Design Group, Alexis Woods Landscape Design, Greenlee and Associates, EarthTone Construction, Creative Environments