The Wither Hills mountain range provides a striking back-drop for this project. Located in the plains beneath the range, the winery is physically elevated on tussock clad ‘hills’, pushed up from the plains by the subterranean winemaking facilities. There is the capacity for 1,600 oak barrels under the earth, which conceptually and formally sculpts the winery’s place in the landscape.
The project required the design team to have an in-depth understanding of a winemaking production facility, including crushers, press layouts, fermentation tank set-outs and catwalk planning. This also included the barrel hall, administration facilities, front of house facilities (including tasting rooms), restaurant and customer areas, together with masterplanning for future development and landscaping.
The design draws on the transition from dark to light, from cellar to tower – formally and conceptually reflecting the winemaking process from grape to wine. Visitors are physically elevated from the Wairau Plains through landform and architecture, arriving to striking views that support the Wither Hills brand’s connection with the landscape.
The architecture clusters around a central courtyard, which provides flexible spaces for changing needs. Dramatic shifts are also worked into the landscape architecture, where traditional winery landscape plantings are offset by swathes of native planting that directly engage with the local context.
Architectural detailing of local stone and warm timber echoes the craft of winemaking and the textures of the Marlborough landscape. The layering of these materials and forms are empathetic to the dramatic layering of light and shade of the region.
- 2005 NZIA - Resene Local Award for Architecture – Hospitality