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American Society of Landscape Architects


June 2008 Issue

A Winery Before Its Time
This landscape emphasizes winemakers’ ties with agriculture—and with the “other Washington.”

By Clair Enlow

A Winery Before Its Time

Biophilia” is the word of the moment in the ecocentric practice of Mithun, a multidisciplinary design firm in Seattle. It’s a holistic ideal: sensory richness, economy of means, and regeneration, and it’s also the theme of Mithun’s recent project, Novelty Hill
• Januik Winery, in nearby Woodinville, Washington.

The hardworking winery and visitor spaces do seem to function seamlessly, like a healthy organism. There’s a strong modernist honesty about the industrial nature of the place. From the rotating crusher to the steel fermentation tanks to the oak barrels, the entire process of wine making is visible and accessible behind glass walls.

It all flows together with the pleasures of the garden. Long, extended walls channel visitors outside, where they wander freely on scissoring terraces—pulling up chairs on the gravel under rows of ash trees, playing in the bocce court, and contemplating the not-so-distant wooded horizon.

Novelty Hill was founded by high-tech venture capital investor Tom Alberg and his wife, Judi Beck, in 2000. Mike Januik, who made wine for Chateau St. Michelle for a decade, crafts the wine for the Novelty Hill and Januik labels, both made on site.

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