Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
Architect: Jewell Associates Engineers, Inc.
Owner: Wollersheim Winery
Contractor: Lake Wisconsin Construction
This project is a part of a facility that is owned and operated as a family business, including agricultural operations, award winning winery, tourist and mercantile spaces, and now brandy and whiskey distillation. The project included in this submission includes a significant addition to the facility that provides new spaces for a distillery, grain fermentation, new bottling and shipping areas, spirit barrel aging room, new mercantile and tour spaces, and a consumption patio garden. The owner required that the project provide spaces for the anticipated expansion of operations which were to include new distillery operations. The new building addition also was required to respect the context of the existing buildings and the historic winery buildings. Minimal disturbance to the site vineyards, improvement to existing bottling and shipping spaces, and improvements to the site stormwater management system were also key elements of the site design program. The pragmatic nature of the project is expressed throughout the design. These spaces are multi-functional and expressive of the character of this family business. For many years to come they will use these spaces to create award winning wines and spirits. They will also share the experience of the building and art of their work with thousands of tourists every year.
The site is located on a sloping topography that is a part of an operational family owned vineyard and winery. The existing buildings on the site were designed to provide pragmatic and functional structures that complemented a historic three story stone winery building that commands the upper portion of the site. The existing operations were constrained by the location of shipping and receiving docks that required semi-trucks to back up a steep slope and impact the view of the site and buildings for visiting tourists. The bottling area located in the existing buildings was also developing to be a major constraint to operational expansion.
Master planning concepts were developed during a design process with the Owner that identified the flow of operations and areas of conflict or congestion. A plan was developed to facilitate operations by creating new shipping docks at a lower level and moving bottling operations down to this level. This move allows trucks to have easier access to the shipping docks and also allows the owner to use gravity to assist with moving aged wine and spirits toward the new bottling line. This relocation also reduces the potential conflict on site between visitors to the winery and operational vehicle maneuvering.
The massing and materials for the building addition were chosen to coordinate with the existing building structures. Split faced integrally colored concrete block was used for exterior walls. The color selected was a dark brown, complementing the existing light tan but creating a separate identity for the distillery spaces. Dark pre-finished metal siding was also used to further enhance the unique character of the building and new distillery operations. Daylighting is provided to the majority of the spaces in the building, enhancing spaces that are primarily used by the public as well as functional spaces such as the grain fermentation room and tank storage rooms. Even the interior distillery is provided with natural light borrowed thru and over the Tour/tasting room.
This project required a fire suppression system for life safety concerns. As the site is located outside of municipal water sources the design required a significant source of water to supply the new system. The design solution includes a subsurface reservoir that was placed in the hillside behind the building foundation. This solution provides significant safety features for the new distillery with minimal visual and operational impact on the site.
The addition is connected to the main visitor path via a winding landscaped trail. This trail leads to an exterior consumption patio and garden space sheltered by the masses of the addition, provided with a view of the historic winery building and shaded entry valley. This area provides a comfortable area for tourists to enjoy the setting after a tour and for celebrations for many years to come.
Photos: Abby Demorett and Nicole Thompson