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Architecture | Residential & Houses

Hill Country Wine Cave

Clayton Korte

Short description

Located at the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country, this private wine cave serves as a destination along a secluded river bend. Excavated into the north face of a limestone hillside, this shotcrete lined tube is protected on its flanks by tall oak and elm trees, allowing it to nearly disappear within the native landscape. The unassuming exterior entry court reveals a bit of mystery as it provides just a glimpse of what lies within. Heavy boulders, collected from the excavation, and lush vegetation further camouflage the entry descending into the mouth of the cave.

A tasting lounge, bar, wine cellar, and restroom are all tucked into an 18’ tall x 70’ deep existing tunnel. The exterior opening of the cave is capped with a board-formed concrete portal that molds to the irregular surfaces of the limestone and structurally retains the mouth of the earth cut. The concrete is meant to patina with time as native vegetation clings to the face and climbs onto the flanking limestone walls to further blend the headwall into its surroundings.

Once inside, a study of White Oak, both raw and ebonized, mixes with vertical grain Douglas fir to panel the walls and dropped ceilings as a warm contrast to more rugged concrete and stone that surrounds. Custom thermally broken steel and wood windows provide separation between the interior and exterior, as well as the entertaining lounge and the chilled cellar. Reclaimed cedar was salvaged and milled for live-edged countertop surfaces for the tasting bar and the floating restroom vanity.

Sitting under the fully arched profile at the back of the cave, the private cellar casework provides storage for a collection of +/-4,000 bottles. This space is thermally controlled by the natural subterranean temperature with supplemental cooling to help maintain an optimal 55-60 degrees.

Entry details
LocationTexas Hill Country, USA
Studio Name Clayton Korte
Lead designerBrian Korte FAIA
Design teamCamden Greenlee AIA, Josh Nieves, Brandon Tharp, Nicole Corwin
Photography creditsCasey Dunn
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