In 1975 when there seemed to be only a handful of prominent wineries in Sonoma County, Dan Dehlinger was busy building Dehlinger Winery, which he also designed. Owned and operated by his winemaker brother Tom, Dehlinger Winery soon made a name for itself with signature Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet from their estate grown Russian River Valley vineyards.
After twenty years in Georgia, Dan Dehlinger has returned again to Dehlinger Winery to design and build an expansion of the original facility making it almost three times bigger. When asked how the original winery measures up to today’s standards Dehlinger jokes, “It was right for 1975.” It was the first building he designed. The original building was 4,800 square feet. In 1987 Dehlinger Winery was remodeled to 8,000 square feet and remained that size until last year when this project began which will increase the size by an additional 15,000 square feet. Dan also worked on a building addition for Dry Creek Vineyards in 1977.
Dehlinger has spent the last 20 years as an architect for a firm in Georgia, where he also received his master’s degree in Architecture from Georgia Tech. The building he completed before moving to California was a 700,000 square foot office/distribution facility for Mikasa, the familiar dishware company. “It was a concrete tilt-up structure with a rack support roof system, very complex. It was my last hurrah in Georgia”, muses Dehlinger. On moving Back to California, he completed the California Architect’s Board supplemental exam that is required of all architects licensed to practice in California
When Dan Dehlinger assembled his design/build subcontractors for Dehlinger Winery, he chose LeDuc & Dexter and has worked closely with Bill Zeeb on the water, air and gas plumbing. About LeDuc & Dexter, Dehlinger has this to say, “They are very helpful and easy to work with. All of the LeDuc & Dexter people I have dealt with are team players, and this has been a big relief when the inevitable co-ordination problems with the other trades arise. I have found I can rely on them to deliver. I expect we’ll work on more projects together in the future.”
At times it would seem Dehlinger could use all the help he can get in dealing with regulatory environment that is now the norm in Sonoma County. For instance, the outside winemaking production areas of a winery must have a septic system to handle all of the water that drains from this area, whether the source of that water is from the tap or from rain clouds. The building addition that ties into the original structure has been designed to have a roof to drain rain water away from the exterior production area, otherwise all the water that falls from the sky would have to be processed by a septic system at a terrific expense due to that volume of water. LeDuc & Dexter designed and installed the waste and sanitary lines for the winery as well as the underground gas lines.
Aside from building regulations, Dan Dehlinger says the biggest change he sees upon his return to Sonoma County is the housing situation, “Houses are really expensive”, and he sighs. Fortunately, the Wine Country has a great antidote for this particular case of housing sticker shock – a glass of 2000 Dehlinger Estate Pinot Noir.