The big takeaway from our latest trip to California wine country was not what I expected. My plan was to write about the winery estates that we visited and how the owners frame their views to enhance one’s enjoyment of the place and of the wine made there. I was going to tell you about the clever green strategies that so many vintners now employ. Instead, I kept thinking how similar the wine-making process is to what we strive to achieve in architecture. Like architects, a successful vintner must be both artist and technician. To produce great wine requires creative skill and a wealth of knowledge upon which to draw, some gained through sweat and hands-on work in the vineyard. Vintners know it’s not just the grapes. It’s using everything they have learned to produce a product that is worthy of their clients’ appreciation and to continue to improve on that base. Similarly, architects know it’s not just the building. It’s the people who will experience and appreciate that building. It’s being creative, not resting on past achievements, knowing what technically needs to be done and seeing it through the building process. Just as vineyards plant vines that thrive in a particular climate and soil, we never forget that every project needs to respond to a sense of place; every design must complement the site and the neighborhood. When we open a bottle of Los Olivos Pinot Noir it’s that sense of place we remember – conversations with the family of wine makers, exploring the farm and vineyard, and shared fun with friends. We strive to bring that to all our designs, to ensure that this is the place that was meant to be here, a place that will frame the view and create memories for our clients. Cheers!