Valdemonjas Winery

Quintanilla de Arriba / Spain / 2017

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From a technical point of view, the building of the Valdemonjas winery had to meet the following requirements: it had to present the technical features necessary to wine making processes themselves, while being sustainable and providing a strong branding image, as dictated by today´s rules.

SELF-SUSTAINING WINERY
The starting point was that the winery had to be designed so as to be self-sufficient. It is totally independent because one of the owners´ requests was that it could not be connected to the water and electricity networks. Since the beginning, we have aimed at a “sustainable water usage”. This is why, on the one hand, we added a sloping roof that allows for rainwater collection leading it to undergrown reservoirs; and on the other hand, we designed an efficient system that filters and treats rainwaters so as to be able to use them”, explains Silvia Paredes. 
The energy requirements of the winery are covered thanks to off-grid power generation systems. Photovoltaic panels have been integrated to the building roof in a way that they not only capture solar energy but also provide shade over the area where grapes arrive and enter the building. Moreover, the western façade has been equipped with passive solar control systems, and interior spaces enjoy natural ventilation, thus making highly energy-intensive air conditioning unnecessary. As Ana Agag explained: “the best wines are obtained from optimally-matured grapes. For this reason, elaboration processes need to make sure they don´t hinder these qualities”. This is achieved through the following basic principles: First, the grapes are hand-picked and manually selected, and not submitted to mechanical processes that would put the fruits under pressure; Secondly, the way between the picking and the elaboration area is as short as can be with the winery being located directly on the vineyard. Thirdly, the fruits are transported under gravity and not with a motorized pump that could spoil their qualities. It was therefore necessary to build the winery on two levels: the upper floors where grapes arrive and enter the premises and the lower floor with the press (“Lagar” in Spanish) for elaboration and fermentation.


THE BUILDING
As for the building itseld, the project had to consider that the winery´s daily work operates on one floor only with an East-West orientated central room intended for wine elaboration and fermentations and also used as a multipurpose area: cleaning of barrels, bottling or labeling. This central room is the heart of the winery where all wine movements happen. The grapes enter the winery from the East on the upper floor, which is directly connected to the elaboration room through a double-level construction. The final product exits through a thermal lobby located to the West that opens on the elaboration room itself, making sure that the exit of the final product happens near the vehicle access. The central area is bordered by the “sleeping” zones: to the West, the barrel-ageing area and to the North, the bottle-ageing area, both making the most of the local topography. The brick vault allows for natural obtention of optimal temperature and humidity conditions, indispensable for barrel ageing. The upper floor of the winery, smaller in size, was meant as Valdemonjas´ visit card and clearly expresses the core values of the project. It gathers two of the most important blocks in the eye of the owners: the first one is dedicated to the reception and arrival of the grapes and emerges from the ground to allow the grapes to descent to the lower floor; the second one is dedicated to the end of the process, i.e. wine tasting. Larger in presence, the latter is mainly dedicated to tasting and the pleasures related to it: it is bathed in natural light, boasts the best views and is directly connected to the ageing areas, the Enoteca (wine cellar) and the Lagar (press).
Both blocks are united under one roof, which is designed to provide shade over the area where the grape arrives and sloped so as to collect rainwaters and direct them to the reservoir located next to the winery, which was made big enough to cover the water requirements of the cellar. This area is also home to the photovoltaic panels, the core energetic source of the building.

PERSONAL CONTRIBUTION
“We wanted to give the image of a small winery, efficient and powerful as well as daring, in line with the principles that guide Valdemonjas; we thought that designing a half-buried, compact building that emerges from the land as if it were a sculpture would help reinforcing the image of this new Ribera del Duero brand, which has already received international recognition in several countries such as Switzerland, Denmark, Mexico, Belgium and Australia”, both architects conclude.

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    From a technical point of view, the building of the Valdemonjas winery had to meet the following requirements: it had to present the technical features necessary to wine making processes themselves, while being sustainable and providing a strong branding image, as dictated by today´s rules.SELF-SUSTAINING WINERYThe starting point was that the winery had to be designed so as to be self-sufficient. It is totally independent because one of the owners´ requests was...

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