When Denise and Stephen Adams--owners of the highly esteemed and historic Château Fonplégade in the legendary Saint-Émilion wine region of Bordeaux--decided to start a winery in Napa Valley, they sought to produce elegant, terroir-driven wine. While they certainly accomplished that with their 100 percent estate-grown wines, it's the vineyard's architecture that stands out.
San Francisco architect Kurt Melander designed the innovative Cypress House Tasting Room and Wine Library at ADAMVS winery with a keen eye from Denise, who utilized her background as a landscape artist. Their goal was to connect the wine, the land, and the design to help tell the story of the entire estate. The result was two incredible unique structures.
The Cypress House Tasting Room is an open glass room surrounded by a freestanding log wall sculpture that filters the light and frames the forested site's views. This creates a different experience for every guest depending on the season and time of day they visit because the light and all the natural elements change.
Meanwhile, the adjacent Wine Library is a 12-inch solid wall cast concrete structure that revived a historic agricultural building. Melander removed each piece of wood from the original structure, numbered them, cast them in concrete, and then reconstructed the layout. Space now contains a smaller tasting room for intimate dinner parties, a chef's kitchen, and the Adams' substantial wine collection.
Of course, the owners wanted to produce great wine to be enjoyed in the beautiful spaces. Originally purchased in 2008, Denise and Stephen replanted nearly a third of the vineyard and built the tasting room and wine library. They relied on the meticulous care of viticulturist Michael Wolf while consulting winemakers Philippe Melka and Sarah Donley to develop their blends.
"The positive and negative space allows one to feel like they're outdoors even though they're indoors," said Denise. "People talk a lot about how it feels like they're inside in a sculpture. You feel cocooned, but the negative space of the glass and cypress logs allow you to see everything around you. Guests are transported into a peaceful experience in nature. Overall, the unique, intimate space equals the wine."
With each vintage, ADAMVS ferments and ages as many as forty small lots to create three Cabernet Sauvignons: ADAMVS, QUINTVS, and TÉRES. There's also a French oak barrel fermented 100-percent Sauvignon Blanc to round out the portfolio.
ADAMVS offers private tastings and experiences by advance appointment.