The New Tasting Room at Sokol Blosser Winery, Designed by Allied Works Architecture, Takes Shape in Oregon's Dundee Hills

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Oregon’s First Winery Building with International Design Pedigree Set to Elevate The Tasting Experience This Summer

Sokol Blosser, an Oregon wine pioneer and a leading producer of Oregon’s world class pinot noir, pinot gris and other fine wines, is preparing for a record number of visitors to its Willamette Valley estate this summer when wine and contemporary architecture take center stage. Following groundbreaking only last fall, the New Tasting Room, designed by Portland’s award-winning Allied Works Architecture, is taking shape and now visible from Oregon State Highway 99. “Foundations are set, primary walls are framed, the roof & weatherproofing are completed and the project is on schedule to meet its summer 2013 debut,” says Brad Cloepfil, Founder and Principal Architect of Allied Works Architecture.

In keeping with its long-term business and agricultural values, the Sokol Blosser Winery Tasting Room has been designed with environmental sustainability as a priority. Following the legacy begun with Susan Sokol Blosser, who founded the winery and built the first LEED certified winery building in the U.S., her children Alison and Alex Sokol Blosser, now co-Presidents, have aligned The New Tasting Room with Living Building Challenge, the new gold standard for building certification. This makes The New Tasting Room the first winery in the U.S. to support the values of, and, strive to fulfill, the most rigorous performance standard for the built environment. The Living Building Challenge is a program initially launched by the Cascadia Green Building Council (a chapter of both the US Green Building Council and Canada Green Building Council). The International Living Building Institute was created by Cascadia in May 2009 to oversee the Living Building Challenge and its auxiliary programs. In April 2011, the International Living Building Institute was renamed the International Living Future Institute, and became the umbrella organization for both the Living Building Challenge and the Cascadia Green Building Council.

Certain to appeal to wine lovers as well as followers of design, architecture and sustainable building, the tasting room promises a dynamic visitor experience. The design of the new Tasting Room pays homage to the source of its bounty, with details that invite guests to seamlessly experience the vineyards and landscape. The building’s low profile lends the appearance of being a single level when in fact the structure is built both above and below ground, emulating the character of the grapevines while allowing for wine storage in a naturally cool cellar. The exterior is united with the interior in part by the use of striated wood cladding, a motif derived from the vineyard rows and the region’s vernacular agricultural buildings. The wood will also surface all interior walls, floors and ceilings.

Sokol Blosser is one of Oregon’s most popular winery destinations. As a wine country pioneer, Sokol Blosser has been an integral part of the community effort that has placed the state’s and Willamette Valley’s wine industry squarely on the map. In the space of one generation and in its fourth decade, the modern Oregon wine industry is now a nearly $3 billion industry. A recent study by the Oregon Wine Board revealed that the economic impact of its wine industry has nearly doubled to $2.7 billion since 2005, despite the country’s economic hardships during this time. Oregon has garnered a worldwide reputation for top flight Pinot Noir, with its Willamette Valley considered the number one destination for Pinot Noir in America. Taking note of these oenophile credentials, the book sequel to the pinot noir-popularizing film “Sideways” chose to include and end its story in Willamette Valley.

The results of this increasing popularity are tangible. “We outgrew the capacity of our original tasting room and the conditions began to compromise the personal hospitality and engagement between our visitors and staff,” says Michael Brown, Sokol Blosser’s Director of Consumer Sales and Marketing. “It wasn’t long before, we realized it was time to plan a new visitor center and tasting room and begin our search for an architect who understood our priorities in sustainability, respect for the land, and our desire for the building to create an inspired experience.” Beyond The New Tasting Room with its planned personalized wine and food experiences, Sokol Blosser’s hospitality experience includes touring its vineyards by foot or custom built, environmentally sensitive ATV. All of these will be available this year at Sokol Blosser and its 87 acres of vineyards. When the building is complete, wine and design/architecture enthusiasts visiting Sokol Blosser Winery can expect an immersive experience that embodies and celebrates the artistry of its wines, the transformative power of design and the beauty of the Oregon landscape.

Wine Tourism and Architecture
Wine tourism, a relatively new sector of travel, began in the U.S. in the mid-60’s. Travel to wine country connects visitors with wine in all its facets – from the beautiful countryside at its source to the vintners and winemakers whose talents distinguish each vintage.

Architecture has become an important element in the development of wine tourism in the world’s top wine growing regions. Taking a cue from the museum playbook, emerging markets around the globe have invested in world-class architecture to showcase their world-class wines. In locations as diverse as Argentina, Austria and New Zealand , wineries have welcomed such design notables as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Santiago Calatrava, Richard Rogers, Norman Foster and Mario Botta.

The pairing of wine with stimulating architecture serves not only to enhance the sensory pleasures and depth of appreciation of wine tasting but also attract a wider, architecture-savvy audience. In the U.S., this phenomenon has its roots in Napa Valley when, in the late 1980’s, Michael Graves’ postmodern design for Clos Pegase Winery was described by media as a place of design pilgrimage and America’s first monument to wine as art. Following in its steps was the Scott Johnson design for Opus One; Herzog & De Meuron’s for Dominus; and Quixote Winery by Austrian architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Sokol Blosser Winery is pleased to join the ranks of this esteemed community.

About Sokol Blosser Winery
For more than 40 years, before there was an Oregon wine industry, the Sokol Blosser family has been growing grapes and creating exemplary wines. Located on a certified organic 120-acre property in Oregon’s Dundee Hills sub appellation, Sokol Blosser has consistently captured the terroir of the region as expressed through the brilliance of its estate fruit. This resolute quest for excellence is also inherent in its environmentally-sensitive winemaking techniques, a core value for Sokol Blosser since the planting of its very first vines 1971. The winery produces Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and small quantities of Single Block Pinot Noirs under its Sokol Blosser brand name. It also produces a white blend and red blend under the Evolution brand name.

“We feel a sense of social responsibility in conducting our business and our lives the way we do. This is the only way we could imagine doing it,” notes Susan Sokol Blosser, the winery’s founder. “Not only are our methods healthier for the soil, the vines, and those of us who work in the vineyard, they also lead to better wines.”

The winery is now under the care of sister and brother co-presidents, Alison Sokol Blosser and Alex Sokol Blosser. Sokol Blosser Winery is entering a new millennium of winemaking, tasting and sustainability in hiring Allied Works Architecture to design Sokol Blosser’s state of the art tasting room. The project is set for completion in July, 2013. Please visit to shop online, for tasting room hours and more information about this award-winning vineyard.

Additional images and renderings are available upon request.

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Paul Burditch
Burditch Marketing Communications
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Burditch Marketing Communications
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