O’Shaughnessy Vineyard

O’Shaughnessy Vineyard, Wine Storage
Angwin, California

Contractor: Glen Ragsdale Underground Associates Inc., Angwin, CA
Shotcrete Supplier:  Harold Smith & Sons

Like many in the region, the O’Shaughnessy winery stores its aging barrels underground in its own custom wine cave.  The cave is 26 feet wide with a ceiling height of 20 feet, and the soft lighting and curved layout provide a feeling of infinity when standing in the main chamber.

Wine caves are ideal for storage of aging wine, as they provide near constant temperature between 55-60 deg F and relative humidity levels between 70-90%. Underground storage is more energy efficient and secure than surface warehousing, and limits evaporation loss.  Another benefit of underground wine storage is that it allows maximum production with minimal impact to the landscape.

Wine caves are tunnels lined with shotcrete, (concrete sprayed at high velocity).  Shotcrete eliminates formwork, can be placed with relative ease and makes storing wine underground an attractive and cost-effective option for vintners.  The use of white cement shotcrete as a finish coat on the cave’s interior yields a more reflective surface and allows for more diverse color choices.  Finishes range from rough, unaltered shotcrete to smooth, plaster-like textures.

The outlook for underground shotcrete applications is positive.  Vintners are demanding more complex underground structures with wider and taller spaces to accommodate intricate mechanical systems and large storage tanks.  Entire wineries have been constructed underground, while more traditional wineries are opting for spaces designed for entertainment in addition to storage.  No matter what the ultimate layout, white cement will play a significant role in constructing these modern-day wine caves.