The makings of a green cellar

by Jenny Cuddihy on November 7, 2012

When designing our new cellar, which experienced its first harvest this fall with the 2012 vintage, architect Marco Pignattai needed to take many things into consideration. First and foremost, of course, was how he could create the ideal environment to ferment, age and store our wine.  After that, he truly embraced Il Palazzone’s philosophy of agricoltura responsabile and set about to design a building that would have as little impact on the environment as possible. You may visit the cellar and still never know of the efforts undertaken to create a “green” cellar, as so many of them have been so seamlessly incorporated into the design.  Some techniques that were used in order to reduce our carbon footprint include:
*Thermal insulation of the entire building to maintain its interior temperature *Cisterns that collect both rainwater and water from cellar use, which will eliminate our need for fresh water for the gardens and other cellar related purposes *Thick, deep perimeter walls that prevent the cellar from getting warm in the summer *A high efficiency air exchanger/inverter that provides cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter *Wood frames and double glazed windows that reduce the heat loss and air permeability *External wooden doors that prevent direct solar heat *Stones that create the outer wall are sourced locally, from a quarry less than a kilometer from the cellar *90% of the bricks used in the roof and parts of the walls have been reused *Stones for the external square in front of the cellar and the retaining walls were from an on-site quarry *The marble sink that greets visitors as they enter the aging room is Carrara marble, local from Tuscany *The door, made of beautiful antique cherry wood, is an antique, and originally from a Piemontese convent in the 1700s
Soon, we hope to install an additional 100 square meters of photo voltaic panels, which should cover the annual electricity needs of the cellar, as well as 12 square meters of solar thermal panels, which will produce hot water for washing the cellar and the equipment. Within the cellar, cardboard has replaced foam and we’re gearing up to use recycled materials for packaging.  From the 2006 vintage onward, we switched to lighter weight bottles to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.  Our proud membership in 1% For the Planet also has us committed to donating 1% of our total revenue to non-profit organizations that promote sustainability.

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