Categories: Custom Home Designs

A Tantalizing Tasting Room Designed by Hughes Umbanhowar Architects


Guests can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Northern Italy's countryside while they sample wines grown on the farm in this modern tasting room.

Nestled among the gorgeous backdrop of Northern Italy’s countryside is a tasting room designed by Hughes Umbanhowar Architects. The setting laid unused for 40 years before the owners acquired it in 2000. After deciding to breathe new life into the land, the American owners decided to build a self-sustaining business out of winemaking, and the design company certainly delivered.

The Purpose

The multipurpose structure is more than just a tasting room. It is also a place for the owners to store farm equipment and it has a small, one-bedroom apartment that houses seasonal workers. The designers seemingly carved the structure into the landscape, allowing it to blend naturally, which also provided it with the right temperatures for proper wine storage.

By storing the farm equipment within the same area as the wine tasting room, it adds an element of rustic earthiness. Despite the beneficial purpose of the structure, designing it so that it adhered to the strict local regulations. Regulations proved restricting regarding certain architectural characteristics, but the design company accepted the challenge and delivered a stunning, modern, yet rustic tasting room.

The design company used the following to adhere to local regulations:

  • Locally sourced stone
  • Local grasses and flowering plants
  • Partially exposed walls

The most important purpose the building serves is to offer visitors a place where they can relax and sample different wines.

The Design

The design of the tasting room is rather unique, namely because of the way it appears to fade into its surroundings. Local regulations dictated that only half of the walls could be above grade, which lead the design team to opt for partially exposed walls. Therefore, the tasting room appears to emerge from the rolling landscape.

Rather than supplying the structure with a tile roof, the designers opted for a planted roof full of local grasses and plants to further help it merge into the scenery. Furthermore, the planted roofs appealed to officials in charge of determining the outcome of the building regulations.

The oval space that houses the tasting room has a skylight at the juncture of the wall and the roof. As the sun moves through the sky, it creates shifting patterns of light and shadow throughout the room, thus adding to the rustic and natural appeal.

The one-bedroom apartment that provides housing for seasonal workers is the perfect addition to the structure. Situated atop and slightly back from the tasting room, the one-bedroom apartment also includes a full bathroom and an open living room and kitchen area. The front of the apartment features floor-to-ceiling glass panels that look out onto a patio. The panels let in plenty of natural sunlight.

Overall, the country side now has greater appeal and has come to great use, especially now that the tasting room has been added to the landscape. Guests can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery while they sample wines grown on the farm. The blend of modernity and rusticism add to the attraction and appeal of the setting, thus solidifying the creative and talented abilities of the design company.

Design by Hughes Umbanhowar Architects

Design by Hughes Umbanhowar Architects

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