Opening a winery during a pandemic is not an easy thing to do, but Faust Haus is doing just that in St. Helena.
The winery and tasting room is located in a renovated Victorian home that was built in 1878. Aidlin Darling Design, the same architects that restored Scribe Winery's hacienda, headed up the restoration project that converted the home into a winery and tasting room, which took four years.
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“Through craftsmanship, creativity and careful consideration of latent character, a historic relic has been transformed into a new home for Faust,” said winery general manager Jen Beloz. “With this transformation in mind, the process of breathing new life into the home and property began with David Darling and his team at Aidlin Darling Design.” The team wanted to rethink how the surrounding spaces could be “re-activated” to create a more relaxing, casual environment—counter to the stereotype of austere and stuffy tasting rooms in Napa Valley.
Aidlin Darling worked with the Faust team to consider the property’s previous history and character while creating modern touches for Faust. The house was structurally upgraded, while the exterior was preserved. “We connected with this notion of moving up from darkness to light—from a place of rich opulence to one of bright simplicity, as analogous to pursuing a state of enlightenment,” said Darling.
The home was built on top of a stone wine cellar, where the original owners, the Rosenbaums, made and stored Riesling and Zinfandel. For Faust, they decided to keep the original purpose of that cellar, which is an uncommon feature for many West Coast homes. One feature that has been restored to its original look is the central winding staircase, which connects the cellar to the top floor of the winery.
“It’s very different than other Napa Valley properties from the standpoint that most places are like a winery with some sort of hospitality venue tacked onto the front of it,” said Beloz.
The Faust Team hopes to eventually make the winery and tasting room a “cultural hub” for workshops and exhibitions when gatherings are safe again after the pandemic. “Most wineries along Highway 29 were built around the wineries themselves, whereas the Faust Haus is an actual home and feels like one when you walk through the doors,” said Beloz.
As a Cabernet producer, Faust planted its first vintage in 1998 with its first release in 2002. But with this new property, they’re able to offer public tastings and be more visible.
Napa County has gone through various phases of reopening and shutting down since shelter-in-place first went into effect. For Faust, that has meant being as flexible and adaptable as possible, Beloz said. They’ve used the outdoor spaces to create tasting spots for guests in accordance to state and county guidelines. They hope to offer indoor tastings when county and state guidelines deem it safe to do so for customers and staff.
The winery has an outdoor tasting deck and will be hosting guests there, along with their veranda and outdoor gardens. Tastings will start at $55, and the grand opening is set for September 4.