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John Conover recalls
John Conover recalls Gavin insisting they build for Gold LEED certification, and thinking he’d perhaps had a glass too many. “I thought he was crazy. But now, I think it would be crazy to do anything else. It’s just the right thing to do. And the demand is there. Our guests are welleducated, well-travelled, they demand high standards of sustainability. It’s about how we motivate the next generation of customers and wine-makers. We have to take risks, experiment, fail.” True to that directive, they hired architect Juan Carlos Fernandez to design Odette Winery, and sister facility CADE half an hour north on Howell Mountain. The Mexican had never designed a winery before, and brought an entirely new sensibility to the project, creating a discreet but distinctive oval structure notched into a hillside off the Silverado Trail. The grass roof and curvy perforated screens house reused shipping container offices, a wine lab, production facilities and naturally insulated caves. Fernandez sourced concrete mixed with fly ash, a coal by-product, and recycled steel for the structure. I consider Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s observation that “a rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral”, and marvel at the minds that can make architecture out of ashes. California is a leading force in its commitment to the circular economy, but the movement is gaining traction worldwide, from Indian entrepreneur Narayana Peesapati’s invention of edible cutlery as a replacement for plastic, to Australian company Close the Loop which turns used printer cartridges into asphalt. Danish textile expert Kvadrat has designed a bespoke material that provides a sustainable interior option for the Evoque using 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle. And I’m wearing jeans by US clothing firm Everlane, whose ReNew collection uses fibre made of plastic bottles. It’s an infectious concept and as I go to buy a bottle of water at my next stop it gives me pause; I decide to wait until I reach my hotel and can quench my thirst guilt-free. On my last day in Napa, I take the Evoque out early in the morning to avoid the harsh dry heat. I’m heading north out of Napa towards Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. Grand madrone trees cast a living Rorschach pattern on the road. Winding up Silver Oak (above) was WKHZRUOGōVƓUVWZLQHU\ WRHDUQ3ODWLQXP/((' VWDWXVZKLOH&$'(OHIW ULJKWLV*ROGFHUWLƓHG 64
PHIFER PAVITT CADE SILVER OAK SAN FRANCISCO ODETTE into the mountain on the mythical-sounding Petrified Forest Road I’m reminded of the vineyards’ vulnerability in the face of extreme natural events. The same seismic forces that warm Calistoga’s hot springs and geysers fossilised this entire forest over three million years ago. Deprived of oxygen and submerged in Mount St Helena’s volcanic ash, the trees were gradually replaced by silica, while retaining all their original knots and whorls. It’s a truly chastening sight: towering ancient redwoods – they’re thought to be some of the oldest of their kind on earth – turned to stone. More recently, drought and wildfires have imbued Californians with a deep awareness of the elements and the need to be more creative with resources. My final tour is of Silver Oak’s Alexander Valley outpost, the apogee of sustainable design. I arrive just as the winery is coming to life, distant sounds of bottles clinking and the odd golf cart humming by. I wander round the raised garden beds behind the tasting room, where butterflies tumble about the lavender stems and cobalt dragonflies the size of sparrows patrol the pristine rows of vines. Set in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains this Platinum LEED-status winery is the world’s first to achieve net positive energy and water thanks to discreet banks of solar panels and a real-time data monitoring system developed by viticultural innovators Fruition Sciences. My guide explains that the owners are not proprietary about their methods and see themselves as an open-source centre of excellence. “We’re willing to share. Part of the idea of sustainability is that you don’t just do it for getting the credentials – we’re actually making the industry collectively better. Not everyone has the resources to do what we’ve done here, but we’re hoping people can borrow and apply in different situations which will in turn demand that we keep improving,” he explains. It’s an impressive philosophy, writ large in the architecture. From every angle the tasting rooms appear to vanish into the landscape, an exercise in transparency designed to frame the vineyard. Long rectangular water features frame the sky and large glass panels reflect the acres of lush burgeoning vines. Large sections of the façade are clad in redwood boards salvaged from the Cherokee Winery, one of the valley’s earlier wine-making pioneers. The stairs are constructed from old wine barrels, red stains left intact. The insulation is made from – you guessed it – ground-up denim. And so, as my Napa journey reaches its end, we’ve returned to the beginning. From jeans to cars, and wine to art – in California, the circle of life is pleasingly, sustainably complete.
Land Rover Magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond.
In this issue, New Defender is put through its paces by two inspirational young adventurers as they prepare for an expedition to the South Pole. We also celebrate 50 years of Range Rover by taking a journey of discovery to Dubai. As well as looking back, we look to future as a group of visionaries explain the technologies that could change the future for all of us.