Collaboration Spotlight: Semmes & Co. Builders

Collaboration Spotlight: Semmes & Co. Builders

To wrap up this month, we at Madrone are celebrating our long-standing relationships. As we think back over our time in business, we are grateful for our many San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County business associations with whom we have created strong connections and shared common ideals, principals, and philosophies. One of these is Semmes & Co. Builders, a Central Coast contractor with whom we have had the honor of working with on several projects.

Just over four decades ago, Rick Mathews started hosting jazz programs at the local radio station KCBX; some of you might know him as the host of the weekly show Freedom Jazz Dance. At that time, Turko Semmes was the host of an evening blues program. In our small community, they quickly realized their shared interests extended beyond music, and included their day jobs: the design and build profession. Rick was starting Madrone Landscapes; Turko was founding Semmes & Co. Builders. “I found a kindred spirit in Turko,” says Rick, “With our similar values of quality, integrity, and sustainability, coupled with our similar experiences starting businesses, we became extended family to one another.”

Fast forward a couple of decades, and we have a generational transition taking place. Daniel Mazawa, Madrone’s General Manager, and Jessica Steely, Semmes’ General Manager, joined the companies at roughly the same time, and have formed a great working relationship. “The history is there,” states Rick, “Jessica and Daniel ‘grew up’ together, with many of the same core values.”

Madrone has worked on several projects with Semmes over the years, typically sustainable homes in San Luis Obispo county. The residences include rammed earth elements and zero net energy homes. “When we work with Semmes,” states Daniel, “we know the project will be highly customized; it won’t be like anything else.”

We look forward to our continued working relationship with Semmes & Co. Builders in the years to come!

5 Landscape Design Tips for California Central Coast Tasting Rooms – Blog Series Part 5

5 Landscape Design Tips for California Central Coast Tasting Rooms – Blog Series Part 5

We hope that these installments have inspired your landscape design ideas, and brought color and life to the spaces that needed it most! Here is the fifth and final tip to help build outdoor environments and experiences to positively impact your tasting room; thanks for looking!

 

#5 Design for Change

 

Flexible Space: Along with a variety of spaces, it is important to allow some spaces to be flexible to allow for several different types of entertainment. Damian Grindley (Brecon Estate) says their most useful space is the lawn area under a group of mature trees. He can change it to overflow seating or activities, but also downsize. June McIvor (Tolosa Winery) likes the flexibility of setting-up outdoor serving bars in different zones of the landscape. Kendall Carson (Halter Ranch) has planned countless events, and she believes electrical outlets are important to have all around the entertaining areas. Whether it is for lighting, a tasting bar, or a band stage, available electricity is very useful. It is impossible to anticipate exactly how a space will be used or changed over time. So, we recommend to build-in flexibility of use so you can make necessary changes both easily and cost effectively.

(Photo by Daniel Mazawa – Tolosa Winery, Tasting Patio)

 

Pleasant Surprises: People like to return to their special tasting rooms, but they enjoy the excitement of small surprising changes. This is especially true at Brecon Estate where the furniture, art and layout has changed over time as the winery evolves and gains notoriety. They have done it for expanding entertainment area, but also visitors enjoy discovering something new each time, further investing themselves as part of the exclusive club that notices the transitions. Even seasonal changes in the new or existing plants can draw visitors back. A visitor may come in summer and hear about the fall color or the spring wildflowers. Often art displays are paired with the tasting experience, offering another product for purchase while changing over time. These features get visitors to come back again and again, always looking for something new.

(Photo by Megan Savage – Brecon Estate Wines, Entryway Poppies)

Parts 1-4

Part 1: Be Unique & Memorable

Part 2: Make it Feel Special

Part 3: Take Advantage of your Site

Part 4: Create a Variety of Spaces

5 Landscape Design Tips for California Central Coast Tasting Rooms – Blog Series Part 4

5 Landscape Design Tips for California Central Coast Tasting Rooms – Blog Series Part 4

Landscape design plays an important role in the success of your winery. Here is the fourth of five tips to help build outdoor environments and experiences to positively impact your tasting room.

#4 Create a Variety of Spaces

 

Entertaining Spaces: Most tasting rooms operate best with a variety of different spaces to fit the different preferences of visitors and functions of the winery. If you desire to host large events, a central large patio can be quite useful. However, most tasting room landscapes are a connection of smaller nooks to provide multiple intimate experiences for a large number of visitors. Also, the space becomes a social environment, not feeling empty with small crowds, and feeling comfortable with large crowds. In tip #2 we spoke about visitors liking a special and exclusive experience. A visitor may achieve this by finding their favorite nook in the landscape and returning to that special spot over the years. Everyone is different, so a variety of spaces, furniture, paving patterns, and shrubbery can break a large area into a successful multi-user experience.

(Photo by Valerie Imhof – Halter Ranch, Tasting Room Seating Patio)

 

User Experience: Preferences of tasting room visitors have interesting trends. Folks that are new to the tasting room experience like to go up to a tasting bar and stand during the tasting. Research shows that experienced tasting room visitors often prefer to sit down in a lounge-type area. They come to relax and unwind, and they don’t feel they are imposing when asking for drinks to be brought to them. These experienced tasters often buy more wine and are more likely to join the wine club. Wineries know this, and design both indoor and outdoor elements to provide ample comfortable seating. Other wineries provide entertainment areas with games or picnicking room. The bottom line is that comfortable seating nooks sell wine.

(Photo by Daniel Mazawa – Brecon Estate Wines, ZinFest 2014)

 

 

Tasting Room Logistics: Tasting room landscapes also need to work for the people operating the business. Often the central hub is the main tasting bar, so it is helpful to have visibility of all tasting areas for the attendants to best serve everyone efficiently. Open connection between indoors and outdoors feels good for the visitor, but also makes it easier for servers to navigate while carrying glasses of wine. It is crucial to speak with the tasting room staff to know how to best orchestrate the activities of the business.

(Photo by Megan Savage – Chronic Cellars, Tasting Room Patio)

 

 

 

Miss a beat? We got you covered!

Part 1: Be Unique & Memorable

Part 2: Make it Feel Special

Part 3: Take Advantage of your Site

Giving Back: El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO)

Giving Back: El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO)

Who knew stewardship felt so good?

No matter where you live, you make an impact. For communities to function well over time, conscious efforts must be made by many to contribute to the positive impact toward the development of that community, or else who will?  That is stewardship. We recognize this at Madrone Landscapes, and try to do our part.  http://madronelandscapes.com/about-us/stewardship/.

One recent effort that Madrone participated in was the design and installation of a low-impact landscape at El Camino Homeless Organization(ECHO). ECHO is a non-profit organization with a 50-bed transitional shelter helping families and individuals find permanent housing within three months of entering the facility. The organization is located on the Central Coast of California serving North San Luis Obispo County, and you can read more about their efforts here.

Working with ECHO’s Board of Directors, Madrone came together with community volunteers and students from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. The Madrone team and volunteers installed shade trees, screening, and a drought tolerant, native plant pallet. A quarter acre of fruit trees including apples, peaches, plums and figs were planted and a raised vegetable garden was also installed to make the most of what the facility has to offer.

Over two weekends of fun and hard work, Madrone’s general manager, Daniel Mazawa, led the charge with the help of Cal Poly professor Christie O’Hara and Rainscape manager, Victor Rocha, as 60 volunteers transformed the space into an aesthetically pleasing and functional landscape. Prior to the planting and mulching, Madrone’s build team graded the area, installed the irrigation and assembled all the needed materials. Local businesses donated irrigation parts, soil amendments and mulches. A little bit of conscious stewardship can make a big difference, and the benefits  of this project will “ECHO” for years to come.  The smiles say it all!

5 Landscape Design Tips for California Central Coast Tasting Rooms – Blog Series Part 3

5 Landscape Design Tips for California Central Coast Tasting Rooms – Blog Series Part 3

Here is the third of five tips to help build outdoor environments and experiences to positively impact your tasting room!

#3: Take Advantage of Your Site

 

Views: Vineyard architecture and vineyard landscapes often take advantage of the natural and agricultural surroundings. Damian Grindley (Brecon Estate) believes there is an intriguing contrast between the native California landscape and the “engineered lines” created by the vines in a vineyard. This look is so iconic that most vineyards will highlight sweeping views of vines and rolling native hills at their tasting room. When you have stunning views on your site, you can “borrow” them by using minimal landscape elements in front of the best vistas, or use trees to “frame” the view. These are great ways to maximize your landscape budget, since views of vines and hills can do much more for you than almost any landscape element.

(Photo by Valerie Imhof – Brecon Estate Wines, Vineyard View)

 

Shade: Most visitors come to wineries in the summertime, and shade is very important here on the central coast of California. Trees, pergolas, and umbrellas provide cozy, snug areas for people to relax and enjoy the warm weather in a nature’s lounge room. If there are existing large trees, use them to create a natural comfortable area that people will gravitate towards.

(Photo by Megan Savage – Epoch Winery, Tasting Room)

 

 

 

 

Architecture: Often the vineyard architecture is already defined by the theme, so it is important to blend with the architecture of the building as much as the surroundings. Compliment the style with use of hardscape and planting to make the building more impressive. Some tasting room architecture will try and blend into the California landscape, and the landscape design should also focus on the surroundings. Some tasting rooms will be a monument standing out from nature, so the landscape design must emphasize the awe of the architectural form, while transitioning to the surroundings.

(Photo by Valerie Imhof – Law Estate Wines, Tasting Room)

 

 

Missed a section? Here are parts 1 and 2!

Part 1: Be Unique & Memorable

Part 2: Make it Feel Special

5 Landscape Design Tips for California Central Coast Tasting Rooms – Blog Series Part 2

5 Landscape Design Tips for California Central Coast Tasting Rooms – Blog Series Part 2

Landscape design plays an important role in the success of your winery. Here is the second of five tips to help build outdoor environments and experiences to positively impact your tasting room.

# 2   Make it Feel Special

A Special Treat: New and returning visitors to your winery need to feel that being at your tasting room is a treat. This can be described as a “wow factor”, or an unexpected glimpse into the mind of the winery. A variety of approaches can be used, but usually involves integration of unique features. Consider using outdoor art, paving patterns, colorful plantings, showcasing natural settings, or creating areas with a high-end luxury theme. Thoughtful selection of lounge-type furniture or intimate outdoor spaces can give customers a feeling of luxury not found at home. These elements lend well to developing a positive social environment created by your winery following. Kendall Carson (Halter Ranch) says that tasting rooms need to feel inviting, and be in tune with the property and surroundings, but also provide a “special feature” that makes guests want to plan another trip back.  In the end, this translates to more wine sales and more wine club members.

(Photo by Megan Savage: Tolosa – Kinetic Sculpture)

 

Exclusive: Many Central Coast wineries strive to give their customers a sense of being part of an exclusive club. Since our wine region is relatively new on the map, visitors realize they have found something special, by uncovering a gem in a beautiful pristine area. It will be interesting to watch the trends as the area is quickly gaining notoriety for exceptional wine and lifestyle.

(Photo by Valerie Imhof: Halter Ranch – Tasting Room View)

 

Missed last week’s post? We got you covered!

Part 1: Be Unique & Memorable

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