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Walnut Creek Magazine

Louis M. Martini Winery Unveils a Spectacular Makeover

Mar 14, 2019 04:49PM ● By Fran Miller

Louis M. Martini Winery, a cornerstone of Napa Valley and one of its founding wineries at the end of Prohibition, has unveiled a sleek restoration of its historic property along Hwy 29 in St. Helena. Already one of Napa’s most iconic wineries, the Howard Backen-designed restoration will surely make it one of the most popular destinations in the Valley for wine enthusiasts. 

Backen, of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, was selected to carefully restore the original winery while maintaining classic elements and infusing it with a timeless design. “Howard Backen’s vision celebrates the historic 1933 winery building and seeks to preserve its unique structural elements,” said Matt Gallo, Vice President, Coastal Operations. 

The prolific Backen, who was named one of the top 100 architects and designers in the world by Architectural Digest, sought to remove the non-historic additions made throughout the 85-year-old building’s history and meticulously restore it to its original form.

An atrium draws guests into the building’s open floor plan, seamlessly integrating indoors and out. The building includes 30-foot-high glass walls with views into the barrel cellar, a demonstration dining room, an underground cellar with private wine libraries and a range of immersive Cabernet Sauvignon experiences. The design showcases reclaimed materials, including the original terra cotta wall tiles, juxtaposed against contemporary materials. 

The expansive Martini Park features a welcoming sycamore grove with sunlight dappled tables and private cabanas for al fresco wine service. The area is anchored by a culinary pavilion that creates a spectacular walled garden. All event spaces will be open to the public by the end of March; tasting experiences will include: Crown Bar (pictured above) walk-in tastings, Martini Park Patio tastings, Heritage Lounge tastings featuring renowned Monte Rosso Collection wines and Lot No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignons, The Underground Cellar Experience featuring food and wine pairings within the winery’s historic underground cellar adorned with 85-year-old barrels, curated Library Tastings, Outdoor Cabana Tastings with wood fired pizzas and spit roasted meets, and an Historic Tour & Tasting. Reservations are required for all but the Crown Bar Tastings.

Carolyn Martini, granddaughter of founder Louis M. Martini and daughter of Vintner’s Hall of Fame member Louis P. Martini, said she has been following the winery restoration with enthusiasm. “Both my father and grandfather would be extraordinarily proud of how the winery’s heritage is being carried forward. Their legacy of producing Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley will continue to be shared with generations to come.”

For 85 years, Louis M. Martini Winery has crafted world-class Cabernet Sauvignon from the exceptional vineyards of Napa and Sonoma counties. Pioneering founder Louis M. Martini played an integral role in establishing Napa Valley as one of the world’s premier winegrowing regions. He believed in a simple premise: The best grapes make the best wines. Today, his legacy is celebrated within the winery’s beautiful new home.

254 St. Helena Hwy, St. Helena, CA 

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