ARCHITECTURE

WHEN THE FOUNDERS OF CLOS PEGASE, Mr. and Mrs. Jan Shrem, decided to build a winery, they wanted it to be a world-class destination that would express their conviction that wine is an art form that should delight, illuminate, and surprise. After selecting a scenic site in the northern section of the Napa Valley, the Shrems sought out a visionary architect to design their dream winery. In association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, they came up with the concept for an architectural design competition with the project going to the winning design. This competition began in May 1984 with the participation of 96 design teams. The esteemed competition jury narrowed the field to five finalists, and then declared the winning design to be that of architect Michael Graves.

Construction was completed in 1987 and the Postmodern look of Clos Pegase that he designed merges modern and ancient architecture with a nod to ancient Mediterranean culture. Graves describes the character of his creation as tending "to evoke memories of a European ancestry" and having a "timeless sensibility." The selection jury explained, "it embodies a celebration of the lifestyle that is unique to the Napa Valley."

Clos Pegase consists of both the winery and a residence atop the volcanic knoll immediately behind the winery where the Shrems lived. The winery is divided into two sections: one for production and the other for the enjoyment of wine. The grand entrance portico supported by two massive pillars provides not only the entry point to the winery, but the separation of these two sides to the right and left respectively. Within the winery are 20,000 square feet of caves would be excavated, including the breathtaking Cave Theater, a dramatic setting for celebrations and special events. According to House and Garden Magazine, Clos Pegase "has raised two ancient arts - architecture and winemaking- to a height that resonates with echoes of the ages" and is a must-see destination by anyone visiting the wine country. The national press has been generous in its praise as well, describing Clos Pegase as "a place of pilgrimage" and "America's first monument to wine ..."

The success of Clos Pegase is legendary. According to the New York Times and the French government, Clos Pegase inspired the Chateau Bordeaux exhibit at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, where it was the only foreign winery featured as a point of comparison to Bordeaux Chateaux.