Caymus-Suisun Winery: capturing the colors of the earth
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Caymus-Suisun Winery: capturing the colors of the earth

Cradled in the rolling hills of the Napa Valley, this huge glass pavilion offers a unique wine experience, including artworks, artisanry, and views of the surrounding landscape

The Bureau

Caymus-Suisun Winery: capturing the colors of the earth
By Editorial Staff -

Half a century ago, the Wagner family planted the first Caymus vines in the Napa Valley, a place caressed by Northern California’s Pacific breezes. This marked the beginning of the Caymus-Suisun Winery, which has recently opened a new winery with a 5500 sq.ft. (500 m2) tasting pavilion and retail outlet, and 30 acres of orchards, vegetable gardens, and a vineyard, all open to visitors. Inviting exploration, and set between nature and architecture, the interiors were designed by The Bureau, led by Sarah Giesenhagen, in collaboration with Thad Geldert, of Geldert Studios.


Caymus-Suisun: a glass pavilion with endless views

Caymus-Suisun Winery - The Bureau © Yoshihiro Makino, courtesy of The Bureau

The building is a glass pavilion with fully retractable glass walls on all four sides, opening the interiors to the surrounding rolling hills. The space features artworks and custom furniture by over 30 contemporary artists and designers, who drew their inspiration from the beauty of fire and the rich tones of autumn. The interiors use natural materials to create an earthy atmosphere.

The private tasting room, the smallest in the building, is set off by dark shades, including black, plum, burgundy, terracotta, dark chocolate, and burnt orange. This space is dominated by a 12-foot-long suspended inner-lit sculpture by artists Tanya Aguiniga and Nate Cotterman that represents burn piles of vines. Here the tables have a dark finish with orange undertones.

The main tasting room, however, has large openings on both sides that establish a dialogue with the landscape, which inspired its colors.

Caymus-Suisun Winery - The Bureau © Yoshihiro Makino, courtesy of The Bureau


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As Giesenhagen explains, in the tasting room on the west side, “daylight floods the area before sunset, and the furniture is designed to absorb its heat.” The choice of blue for the walls was chosen so as not to interfere with the color of the sky. Finally, the restrooms are finished with black terracotta tiles.

The building that houses the reception and shop also blends with the colors of the landscape. Concrete and timber fixturing avoids pronounced contrasts with the surrounding environment. The window at the southern entrance to the sales area lets in the colors of the sunset, while the greens bring to mind the vines themselves.


Celebrating the landscape

Caymus-Suisun Winery - The Bureau © Yoshihiro Makino, courtesy of The Bureau

“From the outset, our design aimed to celebrate the landscape,” says Greg Mottola, principal of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which designed the pavilion. “It was important for us to have a visual and physical connection with the vineyards and the hills from every point in the building.”

Visitors arrive in the tasting room via a large courtyard near the reception area, where an elm and concrete welcome bar creates a simple but elegant atmosphere. When visitors step inside, they’re greeted by a lounge area, where a large skylight brings sunlight into the heart of the building and captures the changing light throughout the day. At the western end of the pavilion is a covered terrace with a cantilevered roof that appears to float weightlessly. The tasting experience at Caymus-Suisun ends in a bright room, next to the sales area, where visitors can have a coffee while admiring the landscape and a mural dedicated to the five generations of Wagner winemakers.


>>> Also read about the Gurdau winery, designed by Aleš Fiala in the Czech Republic


Location: Fairfield, California, USA
Completion: 2023
Client: Wagner family
Interior design:The Bureau in collaboration with Thad Geldert
Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Photography by Yoshihiro Makino, courtesy of The Bureau


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