The Story Behind the Rock at Our Alexander Valley Winery

When it came to designing the wine library at our Alexander Valley winery, where we store our most precious older vintage and large format Silver Oak bottles, lead architect Daniel Piechota set out to simulate the interior of an American oak wine barrel. “We wanted to contrast the outward-looking tasting room with a more intimate wine cellar,” he says.

Installing the rock in Silver Oak's Alexander Valley winery tasting room
Clockwise from top left: The rock at the quarry, being lowered into the wine library framework and set in place

Anchoring the cylindrical room is our monolithic centerpiece of a wine bar—as functional as it is eye-catching. “It’s a piece of the earth that will be there forever,” Daniel says. “There’s a sense of permanence and elapsed time that reflects the older vintages in the cellar.” Already a favorite design element among visitors, here’s the inside scoop:

  • It’s made of basalt, a dense yet fine-grained volcanic rock used in everything from aggregate to floor tile in construction. This particular stone was sourced from Washington state.

  • While visiting a local quarry in the fall of 2016, Silver Oak Chairman David Duncan and lead architect Daniel Piechota chose the stone. “It was tucked in the back but by far the largest one there,” David says.

  • The stone weighed nearly eight tons (15,980 lbs. to be exact!) before parallel surfaces were cut to create a top and bottom. Now it’s approximately six tons. (Safe to say it won’t be going anywhere any time soon.)

  • It was the first installation at our Alexander Valley facility in December 2016 and was so massive, it had to be lowered into place with a large crane.

  • Its tabletop has a five-foot radius to comfortably fit 10 people around. (The Library is usually the last stop on our walking tours.)

  • It’s under four feet high (about bar height), so you can set your wine glass down while capturing awesome photos or video. (If you post to social media, please tag us @SilverOakCellars on Instagram—and use our #LifeIsACabernet hashtag!)

For all things Cabernet, subscribe to our Cabernet Life email.