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Modern Grapes

ddi – display & design ideas – Alison Embrey Medina –

Stratus Vineyards, a relative newcomer to the storied wine offering in the Niagara region, has brought about a barrel of firsts in the Canadian wine industry.  It is the first winery for owner David Feldberg, a wine-lover-turned-wine-maker who also happens to be President and CEO of office systems company Teknion.  It is the first winery (and first building) in Canada to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the Canada Green Building Council.  And its the first all-green design that Toronto-based firm Burdifilek has ever taken on.

Stratus Vineyards, located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, is a new take on the modern boutique winery.  Set among the many Old World-styled wineries of the Niagara region, Stratus is modern and clean with au naturale materials of oak, marble, glass and terrazzo,  set in an oyster, white, gray and black colour palatte.  “One of the wonderful things about this project is we really had a blank canvas to work with,” says Diego Burdi, creative partner at Burdifilek, on working with a first-time winery.  “Let’s just focus on the wine and the wine bottle.  How can we take something that’s been around for ages, and put a new skin on it?”

The vineyard’s LEED certification, which includes the building shell (designed by local architect Les Andrews), interior and entire property, was something Feldberg felt strongly about from the get go, Burdi says.  “We just had to be creative on how to achieve the end product,” Burdi explains.  “It forced us to investigate different building finishing techniques and products that were LEED viable.”  the wood beams and planks of the ceiling were finished with an environmentally friendly water-based product, rather than an oil-based product that would have a very large fume rating to it.  Paint companies were LEED accedited.  Focusable, narrow beam lighting is used to reduce energy consumption.

The retail space and tasting area again puts the emphasis back on the wine bottle, with the walls of glass and oak wooden shelves providing a suitable backdrop to the merchandise.  The central wine display is crafted of rift-cut oak, sandblasted and wire brushed to bring out the natural grain.  A stunning but subtle painting by a local Canadian artist dominates the tasting bar, which is covered in statuario marble (a beautiful white marble with black viens).  A graphite-coloured terrazzo floor tops off the clean, present-day appeal.

“We wanted to create a contemporary, classic-modern feel to an Old World industry without losing the established essence of what this product is all about,”  Burdi emphasizes.

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