Driving about here on the Central Coast in wine country, there’s plenty of new and old blended into the scenery along the rolling hills of Paso Robles. Yes, the booming vineyard business has greeted us with new modern and fancy buildings and tasting rooms. And yet there are unique and distinctive farms and barns that have given me new appreciation for the old history of the region.
Diamond in the rough
This brings me to an interesting story of a barn up in Napa Valley (near Yountville) that may be the only one of its kind. The historic building was built in the late 1800’s and could end up being the only bank barn as a winery.
Built into the side of a hill, bank barns are peculiar in that they have two levels reached from ground level, making it easily accessible. Construction of these unusual buildings is more expensive than a normal flat building, but they offer multi-level advantages including entry to an ‘upper’ floor from the ground. The descriptive word ‘bank’ stands for a slope.
What’s old is new
This particular barn will be restored by Napa Valley’s Sleeping Lady Winery, who is a successful vineyard in their own right. The 3651 square foot barn will be a winery and includes a tasting room, fermentation area and barrel storage. A covered outdoor crush pad will be added as well.
In helping to give significance and preserve this old barn, a local councilwoman, Juliana Inman, did some research that discovered this is one of only two bank barns listed with the state of California. They have to follow state guidelines for preservation and restoration of this historic site.
Napa certainly has a nugget to check out, when Sleeping Lady Winery is finished with their restoration here in the Golden State.
Daryle W. Hier
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