Late last summer Makers & Allies, a California creative agency specializing in design for wine, craft, and spirits brands, was tapped to revive an abandoned vineyard in Paso Robles. The new tenant, Tooth & Nail Winery, would be occupying the 20,000-square-foot commercial castle in just six months from that date, and its “sleek, edgy, and a little bit raw” vibe could not endure the building’s Medieval Disney flair.
The original 2001 interiors were revamped with a fully functioning tasting room where mere mortals might actually want to hold their weddings and special events. The old ceilings were reminiscent of a Gothic church and left shorter visitors feeling claustrophobic, while taller ones were constantly on the lookout for pointy, hanging pendants. Their removal visually expanded the rooms’ height, making it more to scale with the rest of the castle, and removed any potential environmental hazards. The team introduced new materials that felt polished but also a little bit rugged. Three types of steel were used throughout the project: Cor-ten outside, blackened for vertical surfaces in the tasting room, and stainless on the horizontal surfaces. Earthy metal, wood, and leather finishes are interspersed with brighter velvet, brass, and mirrored touches.
In keeping with the real-life fairytale theme of previous inhabitants, a moat circles the structure, though all its armored alligators must have relocated as well. If the property was constructed to imply a sense of historical importance, its new purpose is allowing guests to create their own fond memories within the space, and of course, to enjoy some wine. —Annie