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4202 Douglas Boulevard, Ste 100
Granite Bay
CA, 95746
United States
Mark Davis

Sierra View Company - Building with a Difference

With decades of experience building commercial structures throughout the Western United States area, Sierra View is a trusted and respected general contractor. We specialize in the construction of wineries, office, industrial, healthcare, religious, recreation, restaurant, and retail facilities, and we assist our clients throughout the entire preconstruction and construction process.

Collaboration and strong communication with owners, architects, engineers, and other members of the team enables us to ensure each project is successfully completed within budget, on schedule, to our quality standards and to the client’s satisfaction. We pride ourselves in creating high-quality buildings for our clients, and we’re pleased to deliver it with the best possible service.

Seka Hills Olive Mill
Seka Hills Olive Mill
This ground up project consisted of site work, construction of a 13,775 square foot prefabricated metal building and interior finishes for an olive oil processing facility. By using a prefabricated metal building we were able to reduce construction time, allowing the owners to start processing olives sooner, as well as cut overall expenses during construction.
Seka Hills Olive Mill Tasting Room
Seka Hills Olive Mill Tasting Room
Seka Hills Olive Mill
Seka Hills Olive Mill
Clos De La Tech Winery
Clos De La Tech Winery
Complete construction of wine fermentation cave, barrel storage and bottling facility caves. Project included a residence, lab facilities and a wine tasting room. We also installed a 100,000 gallon underground fire-water storage tank.
Clos De La Tech Winery
Clos De La Tech Winery
Clos De La Tech Winery
Clos De La Tech Winery
Kendall Jackson/ Biagi Brothers Wine Distribution Center
Kendall Jackson/ Biagi Brothers Wine Distribution Center
This 650k sq. ft. state of the art facility is a design-build project for Scannell Properties of Indianapolis, IN. The project has recently been awarded LEED Gold Certification from the USGBC and innovative ideas are incorporated in the design, including the utilization of the thermal mass of the stored wine to allow for cooling at off-peak hours and a one megawatt solar system which will supply 70% of the power for what is essentially a 15 acre refrigerator.
Kendall Jackson/ Biagi Brothers Wine Distribution Center
Kendall Jackson/ Biagi Brothers Wine Distribution Center
The building is precast concrete with a wood and truss hybrid roof system, thermoplastic roofing membrane, significant architectural features and a cross dock truck and rail served facility.
Kendall Jackson/ Biagi Brothers Wine Distribution Center
Kendall Jackson/ Biagi Brothers Wine Distribution Center
Features include an 18k sq.ft Class A Tenant Improvement buildout, guard station, truck axle scale, fuel island, security systems. The 39 acre site has significant wetlands mitigation and preservation, with (3) onsite flood detention, water quality basins, and Bioswale construction. Provisions for 106 parking spaces, and 30 tractor trailer storage.
Sierra View - 40 Year Anniversary
Sierra View - 40 Year Anniversary
As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we want to thank all the clients and partners we've worked with — as well as all the people who use the buildings we've constructed. We couldn't have done it without you.
Sierra View - Aerial Portfolio
Sierra View - Aerial Portfolio
With quality design and engineering, and an eye on long-term efficiency, we create structures that are built to last.
Sierra View - Client Relationships
Sierra View - Client Relationships
When you choose Sierra View, you can expect honesty and integrity throughout the entire construction process.
Sierra View - Building With A Difference
Sierra View - Building With A Difference
Sierra View approaches each project from the client’s perspective by coming up with solutions that will benefit them in the long run. During the construction process, our project managers are present on the job site to make sure that quality control is maintained and the job is done on time.
Working at Sierra View
Working at Sierra View
Life at Sierra View.
Sierra View works with Owners, Architects, Engineers and Contractors to create the perfect plan for a successful build.

News Archive

Our Team is Still Working Hard!
23 April, 2020

We wanted to reach out to you all regarding the current situation with COVID-19 and to share with you what we are doing as a company to ensure that we are being responsible, both as individuals and as a company.

Effective immediately, all of our employees are working remotely from our respective homes so that we can keep our staff safe and healthy, while also continuing to operate and function according to our company standards that our clients know and depend on.

We are committed to ensure that all of our clients continue receiving the highest quality product and customer service that we have always provided.

We hope that you and yours are and will remain safe and healthy!

Please feel free to contact us via email or phone should you have any questions during this tumultuous time.

See the Progress on Delfino Farms Winery & Tasting Room
26 February, 2020

Sierra View will be providing Pre-Construction and Construction Services for Delfino Farms. Work to include providing site work, landscaping, access roads, and new construction of a beautiful single story, 3,078 square-foot Winery & Tasting Room facility and 3,658 square-foot covered crush pad, in Camino, California.

Full details: Delfino Farms Winery & Tasting Room

Sierra View General Contractor - Quality Design & Engineering
29 January, 2020

For several decades, we’ve had the honor of serving the Western United States, and have earned a reputation for quality construction, but that’s not enough. We understand that there are a number of good builders to choose from, which is why we've set ourselves apart by delivering better service, to make the process easier for our clients. Visit for more information on our past and our future!

Sierra View General Contractor - Warranty and Facility Maintenance
19 December, 2019

We provide our clients with industry standard warranties and maintenance. We have a team of carpenters and supervisors to assist you with any all all warranty and maintenance items our clients may need after the building is completed. 

Why You Should Hire Sierra View as Your Contracting Company
13 August, 2019

Hiring a contracting company can be a gamble, but not when you choose Sierra View. We make it our mission to have open communication and transparency throughout the whole process. Our excellent track record speaks for itself.

Learn more on our website 

Sierra View General Contractor Breaks Ground at Delfino Farms Winery & Tasting Room
25 June, 2019

We've officially broken ground on the Delfino Farms Winery & Tasting Room. Stay tuned for updates on our progress! The completed project will be a 3,078 square-foot Winery & Tasting Room facility and a 3,658 square-foot covered crush pad. 

Sierra View Seeks Support for Wildfire Relief
20 November, 2018


Less than a week after it began on November 8, the Campfire has become the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history, leaving more than 40 people dead and thousands without a home and belongings in Chico and Paradise.

Sierra View is contributing to the relief effort by sending a truck to deliver supplies and materials to the affected areas. If you would like to donate clothing, food, toiletries, baby formula, diapers or household items you can drop them off at our office at 4202 Douglas Boulevard in Granite Bay. Our initial shipment will take place this Friday morning, November 16. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact Andy Brophy at 916-407-0547 or

One thing to remember: new goods are almost always more valuable than used items, which have to be sorted before they are distributed. Five new blankets and five new flannel shirts can be more helpful than an entire trailer of used clothing. And donating with Sierra View is only one way to help in this ongoing emergency. You can learn more about other options and organizations at:

Important Considerations Before Building Your Winery
10 October, 2017

Choosing the right partners and vendors is one of the most important steps for any successful construction project. This is especially true for wineries. Whether you’re building your winery from the ground-up or renovating and expanding your existing facility to increase capacity, selecting a contractor and lender that specialize in working with wineries and vineyards can make a huge difference.

During this webinar, Jeff Clark from Live Oak Bank and Kristian Story from Sierra View General Contractor will explore the top considerations before you start your winery construction project. Understanding the value that each of these specialty partners brings to the relationship, particularly in the pre-construction stages, can help prevent major headaches and costly missteps.

Our goal for this presentation is to equip you with the knowledge and tools required for you to approach your winery construction with confidence. These considerations will help your project get completed on time and on budget while meeting your expectations. Cheers to the success of your construction project!

How to Recruit and Hire the Right Sommelier
18 September, 2017

If you didn’t love wine, you wouldn’t be reading this, but how much do you really know about it?

Sommeliers are often compared to tarot card readers, soothsayers, and other alternative sciences. After all, how can someone possibly catalog and inventory every wine from every vineyard all around the world every year - it seems impossible.

Add to that the sheer number of sommelier organizations that will certify you as a professional after taking a few courses. But are these degrees worth it?

The answer to this question largely depends on what specific sommelier skills you’re looking for, who you hire, and how well you’re able to work together. Sommeliers don’t just perform simple parlor tricks and guessing games - a seasoned wine expert can oversee all aspects of the wine business for any bar, restaurant, or wine retailer.

A Sommelier needs an understanding of optimal storage conditions, inventory, pricing/buying, glassware, pouring/drinking etiquette, and it all has to be specific to your business and brand. You may not be able to find someone who can accurately distinguish a Cheval Blanc 1947 from a bottle of Kirkland Signature, but she should understand which wines on the menu pair best with today’s special.

While organizations such as the Court of Master Sommeliers, Society of Wine Educators, and International Sommelier Guild aren’t accredited (so those credits won’t soon be transferring to Stanford), they do offer comprehensive training and can be considered a great supplement to your in-house training program. Obtaining and paying for these types of certifications is a great sign of the sommelier’s commitment to his craft, though it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

Look to spend around $35,000 to $45,000 per year on a sommelier’s starting salary. Some of these wine experts earn six-figure incomes, but it’s more the exception than the rule. They should be making a little more than your bartenders, as they’re an integral part of operations, although ideally, they’re also pulling double duty as either an operations manager or bartender.

During the interview process, test a sommelier’s knowledge with simple and direct questions like “What’s a good wine under $100?” “How do you store pinot grigio?” or “What pairs best with the chicken kiev?” A good sommelier should have a good enough grasp on the subject that they’re able to easily discuss a wide range of subjects in simplistic terms. That’s what it takes to remain affable and useful in a customer-driven service environment. It’s not enough for them to be an expert; they should make you feel like an expert.

If your potential sommelier needs a cheat sheet, isn’t familiar with any of the wines on your menu, can’t recommend a decent wine or even remember what wine it is you like, they’re unlikely to serve you well.

With a little due diligence, however, you can hire a sommelier that will transform your business from the bottle up. Cheers.


5 Considerations for Building Your Next Retail Location
24 July, 2017

Brick and mortar retail is tough, and American retailers are closing locations at a record pace. The shopping mall was once considered an American staple, but ecommerce giants like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba changed all that. Now long-standing retailers like JCPenney, Staples, Bebe, Rue21, RadioShack, and more are shutting their brick and mortar stores like there’s no tomorrow.

Still, it’s possible to create a successful brick and mortar brand today as it was before the Internet, if you understand the fundamentals. If you want to build a sustainable retail location, there are five key factors to consider.

1. Location, Location, Location

Where you build your retail location can have a tremendous impact on its success. A prime location with a lot of foot traffic can bring in more warm bodies, but this often comes with a premium price. In addition, with malls dying around the country, you’re not necessarily safer just because you’re surrounded by other businesses. To build a successful retail location, you need to consider the local demographics, competition, and history of a location.

Building a clothing or furniture store where another recently closed saves money on construction costs, but there’s a reason the prior tenant failed. Before choosing a location, be sure to research everything about it.

2. Floor Layout & Traffic Flow

When designing the inside of your store, floor layout is vital for steering foot traffic the way you want it to flow. A crowd of people is much less productive than a guided line, so set things up to guide customers counterclockwise around the store. Aisles should be placed in a way where it’s easy to navigate while positioning products in viewing range.

Check out this article for three winning store layouts and the best ways to use them.

3. Product Placement

Regardless of which grocery store you prefer, there’s a similar layout involved. Staples like milk, eggs, and meat are located in the back, forcing customers to walk through aisles past other merchandise in order to find them. While checking out, you’re presented with impulse items like gum, candy, and magazines that are hardly essentials.

While a window display filled with your most popular items can draw in foot traffic, customers should have to go deep into the store to actually browse those items, providing tons of opportunities to upsell. Also don’t forget the power of endcaps and freestanding displays.

4. Signage and Display

Even if you have the best products and the lowest prices, nobody will ever know without proper signage. From outdoor storefronts, menus, and window displays to information, ADA-compliance, and sales, proper signage can make or break your retail business.

Do you accept PayPal or mobile payments? Are you registered with ASCAP for the music playing?

What’s the price of your television sets? Where’s your bathroom? What do I do in case of an emergency?

These are all questions that can (and should) be answered with simple, direct, and easy-to-read signage.

5. Technology

Even though you’re running a brick-and-mortar location doesn’t mean you get to ignore technology. The new PIN-and-Chip payment card standard, along with mobile payments, require specific security standards in place. Analog cash registers have long been replaced by cloud-based POS platforms. Your store will also need security cameras and other anti-theft systems.

Constructing your retail building with these technology considerations in mind can save a ton of headaches and expenses down the road.

The retail landscape is forever changing. Malls and shopping centers that were once community hubs of consumerism are becoming ghost towns unless they successfully offer an experience. Don’t be left in the dust – build a sustainable retail business from the ground up.


Sierra View Is Proud to Announce Completion of The Falls Roseville Event Center
15 May, 2017

Sierra View recently completed construction of a 14,300 SF event center in Roseville, CA. The facility is between the Roseville Galleria and Hyatt hotel on conference center drive and has six rental spaces, the main hall, two conference rooms, wedding suites, a boardroom, theater and game room. The project started in March 2016 and is now available for weddings, conferences, and other corporate and social events.

The Falls Event Centers have locations across the Western Region, with more than 20 new centers currently in development.  Driven by the vision of Founder & CEO Steve Down, The Falls Event Centers are new, unique, state-of-the-art venues where the dreams of your perfect wedding day, corporate team building weekend, or daughter’s beautiful quinceanera can all come true.  Mr. Down’s goal is to open 100 Falls Event Centers in the next 8 years nationwide.

Located a few miles down the street from Sacramento, Roseville’s five-star Falls Event Center has state-of-the-art technology, including free WiFi, audio/video hookups, accommodations for both Windows and Mac, and all the bells and whistles with no additional service charges.

Walking into the 4,700 ft main hall with its 20’ ceilings, you’ll be instantly in awe of the architectural design of this building, created by Pontis Architectural Group of Springville, Utah.

Rooms can be rearranged and restyled to suit a variety of needs, with classic black or white round tables, chairs, and tablecloths. A professional staff and large serving kitchen make the Event Center the perfect place for any large gatherings in the area. Additional outdoor courtyards and patio connect both indoor and outdoor activities.

Aside from the Westfield Galleria at Roseville, nearby shopping and attractions include Whole Foods, Dave & Buster’s, Creekside Town Center, Costco, Sam’s Club, In-N-Out, Target, and Safeway. In addition, several hotels, condos, and golf courses are in the area, including Diamond Oaks and Sierra View Country Club.

Since 1979, Sierra View Construction has delivered high-quality, high-value general contractor services throughout the Western United States.  Their emphasis on collaboration and communication with owners, architects, engineers, and other members of the team throughout the construction process has made them an industry leader with a solid reputation for customer satisfaction.


Can Wine Save Bookstores?
30 January, 2017

Wine & Books

At Digital Book World, a panel on “Will Bars Save Bookstores?” considered the issue, and concluded that yes, it could.

The rise of digital books and reading devices has left many traditional brick & mortar booksellers looking for ways to keep patrons coming in and their doors open. Coffee shops in bookstores have gone from a “new thing” to being accepted, if not expected. However, as the pressure from online sales and digital publishing increases, bookstores are turning to other options to maintain patronage and sales. Bookstores are running summer camps, hosting travel events, offering dance classes, and doing “hundreds of innovative things that are helping stores thrive in a very competitive environment”.

American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher called the booze in bookstores theme, “a euphemism for all things smart entrepreneurial spaces are doing to attract consumers.”  These non-traditional initiatives are responsible for more new bookstores being opened than closed. The growth of independent booksellers is benefiting from the “shop local” movement, which supports all types of local businesses. Also discussed at the panel were Barnes & Noble’s new concept stores, which include full restaurants that serve beer and wine.

The panel’s conclusion was that “you can’t download a cocktail”. For wineries, this represents an opportunity to expand brand awareness into another market. With wine being served in bookstores, can wine tastings be far behind? Events showcasing wine and books about wine would be a natural, mutually beneficial pairing for both winery and bookseller. With everything else being offered in bookstores, why not have a few cases of wine on display?

Winery/bookstore pairings may or may not be in your future--only you can decide if such a partnership is right for your business. Regardless, Sierra View is there to help you meet the challenges you face day to day and in the future, with expert contracting services and a commitment to complete customer satisfaction.


Welcome to 2017!
04 January, 2017


Welcome to 2017! Now that the holiday season has come and gone, it’s time to look towards the challenges and successes that await you in the year to come.

Traditionally, January is a slow month for many people and businesses as they recover from the holidays. Winter firmly settles in and we begin the long, slow slog towards spring. Resolutions are made, and usually fall by the wayside. The days are short, the skies gray, and the weather dreadful. With Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 16 this year) being the only major holiday in the month, January can be rather quiet.

There are other important days in the first month of the year, but unless you celebrate Fruitcake Toss Day (Jan. 3), Peculiar People Day (Jan. 10) or National Kazoo Day (Jan. 28) there’s not a lot of festivity to be had in January.

With New Year’s Day falling on Sunday in 2017, most people had an extra day Monday to recuperate and recover from the midnight champagne toast. The memory of the “morning after” is still fresh in their minds, so now is a good time to remind your customers that wine makes an excellent “hair of the dog”. Both reds and whites can be used as the base for non-liquor Bloody Marys (thank you, Internet, for all those lovely recipes just a search away) and of course no brunch is ever complete without a mimosa or six.

Best of all, January isde facto National Detox Month, and the kind souls at Vinepair have already corrupted several detox recipes with liquors ( There’s no reason these mixtures can’t be tweaked with wine just as easily. The dirty little secret of detoxing is that it’s by-and-large junk science (, so why not enjoy yourself?  Moderate wine consumption has well-documented medical benefits--as you may need to remind those who give you a hard time for not observing #Drynuary.

Once you have your wine-detox drink firmly in hand, think about how your winery will grow and prosper in the coming year. If new construction or remodeling is part of that growth, Sierra View is there to help you from planning through ribbon-cutting. Unlike detox, Sierra View is effective, delivering quality design and construction on time and within budget. You won’t have any “morning after” regrets if you call Sierra View!

What Wine Do I Serve With...
07 December, 2016

With the holidays upon us, your customers will be turning to you for gifts for the season, as well as to advise them about “what wine do I serve with (fill in the blank)?”.  They respect your craft and your expertise, and as long as you offer them good advice and a good product, they’ll be more than happy.

There are numerous ways to help your patrons more fully enjoy their holiday wine experience, which encourages them to drink (and buy) more wine.  One of the best pieces of advice you can give is “Never cook with anything you wouldn’t drink”.  It’s not necessary to deglaze a pan with a $200 bottle (although you certainly can if you wish), but using good wine when cooking can only improve the results of your culinary labors.  A few minutes with a cookbook or online should yield several recipes that showcase a good wine. 

Another useful bit of wisdom is “one glass for the pot, one glass for the chef”.  Not only does this help with “quality control” over the wine you’re cooking with, but a glass or two during the preparation of a meal can make the process all the more enjoyable.  Naturally, this should be done in moderation.  While throwing the frozen turkey into the hot fryer will probably get you on the evening news, that’s not the kind of publicity you want.  Explosions and house fires do not a happy holiday make.

One word about cooking sherry:  NO.  Banning cooking sherry from your kitchen in favor of good wines will improve your food, and also keep Aunt Sybil from getting into it again this year and...well, you know.

Reassure your customers that pairings of wine and food aren’t set in stone, and encourage them to try new combinations.  Worst case scenario:  they learn what NOT to try in future!  Refer them to articles such asThere Are No Wrong Thanksgiving Wines, and point out that it applies to every holiday.  Pick several different bottles--perhaps have each guest bring a bottle or two--and see how they go with the various foods.  As Eric Asimov writes, “You cannot go wrong.  Whichever wines you serve, they will be well received. Your guests will be delighted. You will be pleased. Nobody but incorrigible grouches will complain or render their unsolicited critical judgments.” 

Wine is about the enjoyment of the experience, not about following someone’s unbreakable rules.  If you like a pairing, fine; if you don’t, don’t repeat it.  It really is that simple--just like choosing the right contractor.  Unlike trying different wine/food combinations, you don’t want to risk an unfortunate choice for your remodel or new construction.  That’s why Sierra View is your best choice, whatever project you have in mind.  Sierra View General Contractors has the experience to turn your ideas into reality, on time and under budget.  And Aunt Sybil?  Just keep her away from the good stuff….


When Wine Meets the Internet of Things
26 October, 2016

We’ve all heard “there’s an app for that”, and wine apps have been around for several years.  Take a picture of a bottle and your smartphone can tell you about the wine, whether or not you’ve got it in your collection, and make recommendations for wine/meal pairings.

Most of these apps are useful, but leave something to be desired.  If your wine collection is too big to keep in a rack on your countertop, then finding a particular bottle may be difficult--at least, until you integrate your collection into the Internet of Things.

Sommely CapsSommely smart caps ( from Uncorked Studios is one solution to managing your wine collection.  Sommely caps combine the ability to manage wine inventory with an aid to physically locating a particular bottle, without sticky notes, hanging tags or spreadsheets.  The idea from the outset was to create a system that would enhance, rather than interfere with, the enjoyment of the wine experience.  An intuitive interface between a tablet or phone connects over WiFi to a gateway, which is linked via Bluetooth to the smart caps.  Each smart cap contains an Intel microcontroller, and the top has LEDs to make finding them easy.  Scanning the wine label, placing the smart cap on the bottle and pressing the top button of the smart cap enters the bottle into the app.  When the bottle is used, the cap is reset and reused for the next bottle.  Low power consumption chips let the caps go for months on a single charge, and the app can also track date of purchase and expiration, amount in inventory, and make recommendations about similar wines for those you favor.

Perhaps best of all, the Sommely app lets you annotate your wines with your own “story behind the bottle”.  Where you found it, who you were with or met when you bought it, what you were doing while tasting if for the first time--these are all experiences people treasure about wine, and a simple number rating doesn’t convey.

Certainly Sommely smart caps aren’t for everyone.  The principle target markets are collectors (the company says the “typical” collector has “over 100 bottles”) and restaurants.  That being said, if your collection has overflowed your countertop rack, investing in a few Sommely smart caps may help you on your wine journey.  Keep in mind that when it’s time to expand, remodel or build more wine storage, Sierra View has the expertise to create the space your wine deserves.

You can learn more at,this article about Sommely, and  


What Has Your Winery Done to Innovate Recently?
28 September, 2016

“You'd better start swimmin’ or you'll sink like a stone 

For the times, they are a changin’”--Bob Dylan

These are heady times for the wine industry.  The past decades have seen an explosion of wine awareness, appreciation, and production around the globe.  Traditional old world wineries now must compete for market share with new facilities, and even with a greatly expanded pool of buyers this competition is fierce.  Everything about wine production is being challenged and tested, even the concept that wine should be made from the juice of pressed fruit.  Impossible?  No, as long as you don’t mind an “acceptable” product.  Thus far, no “synthetic” wine maker has stormed the markets, but who can say what might happen in the next few years?

It’s not only wine production, but marketing and distribution that are undergoing rapid change.  Smart bottles and caps, integrated into the Internet of Things via WiFi and Bluetooth, are already available, with more sure to come.  Perhaps the most significant recent development in the wine industry (at least in terms of miles traveled) is China’s launching ofCabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir vines up into space.  The vines, which will be housed in the Tiangong-2 space lab, will be observed for genetic changes that (it is hoped) will make them more resistant to harsh climates back here on Earth.  Since fermented beverages have always followed humanity, can space-produced wines, beers and spirits be long in coming?

planning & reviewing a projectWith all these changes facing the wine industry, it’s reasonable to ask just what has your winery done to innovate recently?  Are you on the web, with a mobile-optimized site?  Do you have an active online and social media marketing program in place?  Is your physical plant all it could be, not just to make the best wines but also as an event site or tour destination?  And, if you’re not sure about any of these things, where can you go for help?

Just like making wine, experience in innovating and building a better business greatly increases your chances of success.  Sierra View General Contractors has the wine industry experience you need, and the commitment to quality construction done on time and within budget you’ll appreciate.  Sierra View experts can help you assess your current situation and make plans to grow your winery to meet tomorrow’s challenges.  Experienced vintner Kristan Story, who recently joined Sierra View, is just one of Sierra View’s team of talented personnel that are available to help you create a superior plan for your winery.

Yes, the times they are a changin’, and change can be scary--and it can also be the best thing that ever happened to your winery.  Why not let Sierra View help you manage the fear and prepare for a brighter future?  At least, until the Mutant Merlot From Outer Space destroys the planet....(just kidding!)

Make Wine Without Wineries? Some Day, but Not Today
12 September, 2016

If Ava Winery’s Alec Lee and Mardon Chua have their way, that day is coming soon. Biotech graduates from the University of British Columbia, in 2015 they formed Ava to create wine in a lab. Inspired by the thought that “wine is just a collection of molecules”--but a very special collection, to be sure--the pair brought fellow UBC graduate and certifiedsommelier Josh Decolongon on board as a co-founder, and began experimenting.

Chua was inspired to create wine in a lab by seeing a bottle of ‘73 Chateau Montelena behind a glass case and wishing more people could taste and appreciate it. Reasoning that his biotech and analytical chemistry background might let him make copies of epic vintages in a flask, he began trying to reverse-engineer wines in what initially was a fast-and-loose process.

In his first weekend, he made about 15 different batches, mixing "tartaric acid, malic acid, tannin powder, vegetable glycerin, ethanol, sucrose, ethyl hexanoate (smells like pineapple), butanoate (strong scent of grape juice), limonene (citrus/lime), and acetoin (rich butter smell—like popcorn at the movies)." By his own admission, none of these attempts were very close to good wine, although they were “acceptable enough” to drink. Questions about what this recent college student considers “acceptable enough” not with standing, he’s had the intestinal fortitude to document his experiments on Medium for all the Internet to see.

Since those early, heady days (last April), Ava’s product has become more refined, and the company has begun using more sophisticated analytic instruments including both gas and liquid chromatography to tease out just what makes a wine so tasty. Wine is about 85% water and 13% ethanol, with several hundred other compounds being present in varying amounts. Ava has been outsourcing this analysis, but plans to move their testing in house. Their goal is to further quantify the trace elements in wine to improve their final product.

Thus far, they’ve only enjoyed limited success, but according to Sommelier Decolongon Ava’s product is “getting closer and closer” to traditional wines every day. Now, the company is looking forward to the regulatory and marketing challenges of not only having their product recognized as “wine”, but also introducing it to a skeptical population of wine lovers.

So, is the future of wine synthetic? Certainly companies like Ava and Replica Wine (a less-radical wine disruptor that uses science to make grape blends that taste like more expensive bottles) believe it to be possible, but at this point it’s not possible to buy a wine replicator a la Star Trek, but who can say what the future will bring? For now, we’ll still rely on vineyards and wineries to produce the wines we love so much. And, when you need to build, expand or remodel your wine-related facilities, you can rely on Sierra View General Contractors to give you a quality build, on time and within budget. To see the Sierra View portfolio, including their previous wine industry work, visit them on the web at


Wine - History’s Most Enjoyable Health Food
26 August, 2016


“To Life!” is a common toast, and recent medical advances have confirmed what wine drinkers have known for years moderate wine consumption is good for people. From positive effects on the heart and cardiovascular system to increased resistance to certain forms of cancer and reduced risk of osteoporosis, wine has a number of benefits.

For decades, the medical literature has reported the salubrious nature of wine, but despite this solid evidence of wine’s positive effects many doctors remain reluctant to even discuss the topic with their patients. Some of this reluctance is cultural telling a teetotaling Baptist they need to start drinking is never a good idea but most is due to concerns about over-indulgence. While it’s certainly true that drunk driving and liver failure are causes of mortality directly linked to heavy and/or intemperate drinking, the moderate levels of alcohol consumption that give positive benefits, when combined with common sense, can indeed prolong your life.

Keep in mind that “moderate” wine consumption is generally considered to be 1-2 glasses per day, with men (with their generally higher body mass) being able to drink slightly more than women before the negatives begin to outweigh the positives.

Frustratingly, the creation of a pill that duplicates the positive effects of wine without the negatives remains an elusive goal. Resveratrol has been touted as the most likely beneficial ingredient in red wines (reds, it is generally agreed, are better for you than whites; sorry, white wine lovers), but the body breaks down resveratrol so quickly that getting a sufficient amount into the body is problematic. A recent study suggested that resveratrol might slow the progression of Alzheimer's Disease, but the dose used&mdash1 gram by mouth twice a day was equivalent to almost 1000 bottles of red wine. In 2010, GlaxoSmithKline shelved a potential resveratrol-based drug due to concerns over kidney dysfunction. These difficulties notwithstanding, research is ongoing; several companies are pursuing compounds that will give the same benefits of wine, without the complications.

Until medical science makes the ‘wine pill’ breakthrough, it’s reasonable to keep lifting a glass and toasting “To Life! so long as you don’t lift more than one or two glasses. Of course, if you want to build or expand your health food (wine) production facilities, there’s no breakthrough needed. Sierra View General Contractors has already proven to be the efficient, cost-effective, customer-satisfying choice of the wine industry. You can learn more about Sierra View’s winery (and other hospitality, retail, medical, private and commercial) experience by visiting them on the web at


What makes your winery special? What makes your wine memorable?
10 August, 2016

As wine’s popularity continues to grow, these are legitimate questions that every winemaker needs to ask themselves.  Of course, making good wine is essential, but it’s far from the only factor that winery owners need to consider.  Other factors--location, architecture, tour and tasting experience, quality of the associated food (or restaurant, if you have one), sponsored events--all these things can and do make an impression on your visitors.

To be honest, most of your wine won’t be bought by expert wine connoisseurs, unless that’s the niche market you’ve created for your product.  Wine is more available now than ever before, comes in many more forms of containers, and is certainly not just for enjoying with meals.  With wine ice creams, candies and cocktails competing for notice in our information-saturated society, making a customer ask for one specific label can be crucial to your company’s success.  So...what makes your winery special, and your wine memorable?

Oregon’s few horse-powered vineyardsDifferent wineries have taken different approaches to make themselves stand out from the crowd.  Oregon’s Illahe Vineyard ( has been making a name for themselves by making wine without using electricity or modern winemaking techniques.  Since 2011, their Project 1899 Pinot Noir has been made the old-fashioned way:  grapes are picked by hand and hauled to the winery in horse-drawn wagons.  The grapes are de-stemmed by hand before being hand-pressed and pumped into barrels and tanks for fermentation using a bicycle-powered pump, peddled by workers at the winery.  They do, thankfully for them, take turns on the bicycle.  The wine is then hand-bottled and corked, carried by horses to the Willamette River, then sent on to a Portland distributor by canoe and bicycle.

Is this significantly more effort than most wines require?  Absolutely, but the roughly 200 cases of Project 1899 wine produced per year claim more sustainability than almost any other wine on the market.  It’s a difference that matters to the people who buy Project 1899 wine, as well as to the winery staff who make it.

Changing your operation to (real) horse- and hand (and leg)-power may not be the best option for your business.  Regardless, Illahe’s creative, outside-the-box approach can serve as just one example of a winery that’s making a name for itself by doing something a bit differently than their competition.

 What can your winery do, within the constraints of your location and other factors, to stand out in customer’s minds?  That’s something only you can figure out.  If, however, your physicalfacility needs to be changed to make your ideas happen, then consider using a contractor with experience with wineries and other hospitality venues.  Sierra View ( has that experience, and can work with you to create the facilities you need to make that lasting impression on your patrons.

Finding someone to ride the bicycle’ll have to do that yourself.


“And Next on Our Winery Tour, the Canning Room….”
15 July, 2016

Canning room?  As in, wine in a can?  You’re joking, right?

Union Wine Co. put wine in a beer canOnce upon a time, wine came in bottles, sealed with a cork.  At least, proper wines did.  The heresy of the screw-top bottle, well; that might be acceptable for a “fortified wine”--Thunderbird, anyone?--but never for a “real” wine.  Once upon a time, indeed.

Today, with the explosion of wine awareness the industry is currently enjoying, the number of ways proper wines are served to consumers has also exploded.  While the purists continue to insist on a glass bottle and a real cork, there are perfectly good wines that can be opened with the twist of a screw cap.  Taking yesterday’s heresy still further, wines in a box have grabbed shelf space in grocery and liquor stores.  Both individual consumers as well as restaurants that sell wine by the glass appreciate the convenience of being able to dispense small amounts of quality wine without having to drink (or pour out later) an entire bottle.  Many wineries offer small bottles of their products, and some have even take the epic step of selling their product in (gasp!) cans.

The very thought of drinking from a can conjures up images of NASCAR tracks and bass fishing for some, but a recent article in Wine Folly points out some of the advantages of cans:  they are beach-friendly, and recyclable.  Of course, cans don’t shatter when dropped, which is a definite plus for those who want to drink something other than Bud Lite while recreating.

It doesn’t hurt that quite a few of today’s canned wines are actually good wines.  With several sizes available and little or no effect on the taste from the aluminum of the cans noted by the writers at Wine Folly (some come in lined cans, some not), canned wines are an idea that is here to stay.  And truly, when wine-dispensing shoulder bags are considered a hot summer accessory, who can quibble about cans?  It should be noted that drinking straight from the can, according to the article, caused the aroma profile to be “muddled”, which is why the authors recommend pouring your canned wine into a glass before drinking.  Sadly, they didn’t comment on the suitability of the ubiquitous red Solo® Cup as a container, but experience suggests they work just fine.

Deciding to add a cannery isn’t something that every winery should rush to do, at least not this summer.  However, as more and more wineries seek to expand their market niche and customer base, it is one option to consider.  Keep in mind that adding a cannery or other winery remodeling project is more complicated than putting up a pre-fab shed behind your house.  Having a contractor with experience in the wine industry like Sierra View General Contractors can make the process as painless and efficient as possible, even if it’s a new area for your business like adding a canning room.

Now, who wants to pop the top on a can of wine?





Is Your Winery Ready for Tasting Season?
05 July, 2016

Seka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room

Summer through the fall harvest is traditionally the peak season for wine tastings, and whether your winery is ready or not, it’s here.  In the forty years since the Judgement of Paris proved that California wines could stand with the best of France, wine and wineries have literally exploded across the globe.  With so many options for both connoisseurs and amateur wine lovers to choose from, how will you make your winery stand out from the crowd.

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune began with “If you've visited one winery … you haven't visited them all.”  While most winery tours have the same basic form--here are the barrels, here’s the press, here’s the lab, here’s the vineyards, now let’s taste--there are a number of facilities that break the traditional mold.

City Winery Nashville, in Nashville’s urban center, obviously doesn’t offer a walking tour of their vineyards for the simple reason that they don’t have any.  Their grapes (for reds) or juice (whites) are shipped in from vineyards in California and Oregon.  Nonetheless, they offer a satisfying winery experience, and have produced several well-regarded vintages.

As wine has become more popular and more readily available to the general market, other companies have begun incorporating wines into their marketing and branding.  Several Whole Foods now offer wine bars in-store, and Barnes and Nobel is set to unveil four “concept stores” that will feature not only their standard book and magazines, but restaurants with wine and beer on the menu.

Other wineries have taken the opposite approach, adding non-wine venues and activities to their physical plants.  Idaho’s Ste. Chapelle Winery will soon be adding a 5000-seat amphitheatre, in addition to adding more vineyards and a new tasting room to improve their customer experience.  Perhaps the most extreme example of expanding beyond the “typical” winery is theAbadia Retuerta Le Domaine in Spain’s Duero Wine Region.  Built around a 12th Century monastery, the winery recently added a full-service European spa, with Spa Sommeliers and Spa Butlers to guide patrons throughout their stay.  With a Michelin Star restaurant as well as regular tastings featuring local delicacies that compliment their wines, this winery certainly sets itself apart from the competition.

Most wineries don’t have the luxury of being built in centuries-old monasteries, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from creating a memorable winery experience.  Play to the strengths of your facility and your wine, and it’s hard to go wrong.  Keep in mind that while any competent contractor can build a building, renovating, expanding or doing new construction of a winery is best done by a contractor with experience with wineries.  A winery project is different in many subtle ways, and having a contractor who has “been there, done that” can save you time, effort and money.

If your winery needs a facelift, a new building or just more of what you already have, Sierra View General Contractors has the winery experience to give you the best possible outcome at a competitive price.  To see their portfolio or learn more, visit  You’ll be glad you did.

Image of Seka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room



Wine & Architecture
16 June, 2016

Wine and Architecture--the two go together like wine and...well, everything. From the centuries-old Chateaus of Europe to the newer estates of the Americas, a winery’s architecture is often linked to the wine it produces. The image of the winery becomes part and parcel of the brand image of the label and the vintages the winery produces.

Vintners and their architects realize this, which is one of the reasons why wineries are making themselves more memorable. Whether part of an extended Winecation or day trip tasting tour, after a while the wine begins working and the cheese trays and venues begin to run together in the mind.  The more striking and unique the venue, the less likely this is to happen--even if the wine does its work very well.

Perhaps the best recent example of the association between architecture and wine is France’s new Cité du Vin. More than just a museum about wine, the City of Wine is a theme park dedicated to the winemaker’s art. Located on the banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, the complex includes not only the expected museum, but also a 250-seat auditorium for concerts, and experiences (including a boat ride) that take visitors through the history and evolution of winemaking as well as wine’s impact on civilizations.  With three tasting areas and a gift shop reported to stock more than 500 wines from around the world, the Cité celebrates both the wine heritage of Bordeaux as well as having a global appeal.

La Cité du vin aux couleurs or au petit matin, le 29 décembre 2015 © BONNAUD GUILLAUME

La Cité du vin aux couleurs or au petit matin, le 29 décembre 2015 © BONNAUD GUILLAUME

Perhaps the most striking feature of the Cité du Vin is the main building itself.  Rising some 55 meters into the sky, the 10 story building is a coil of aluminum and glass panels which evoke the swirl of wine in a glass and the spiraling movement of a grape vine.  Designed by Parisian architects XTU and English museum design experts Casson Mann Limited, the Cité expects to host some 450,000 visitors every year.

While the typical winery won’t be recreating the Cité du Vin, it’s important to realize just how much impact a striking design, well constructed, can have on the brand image of the winery and its wines.  With so much at stake, choosing a contractor with experience in winery construction like Sierra View isn’t just a good choice; it’s the best choice.




Is a Smart Bottle the Future of the Wine Industry?
25 May, 2016

Boston-based Kuvée believes it is.  Co-founded by self-professed “wine geek” Vijay Manwani, the Kuvée wine system uses an innovative dispensing system to keep wines fresh for up to 30 days.  Kuvée bottles prevent oxygen from reaching the wine, which makes the long life after opening possible.  As wine is consumed, a lining on the inside of the inner bottle--the capsule--collapses, preventing air and oxygen from degrading the quality of the remaining wine.

The Kuvée wine capsule fits within a “smart” outer bottle with a touch screen that not only provides information about how many glasses remain, but also tells the story of the wine and allows consumers to order more from the Kuvée online store.

One principle advantage of the Kuvée system is that it allows multiple bottles to be opened at once, without the fear of not completely drinking all of a single bottle at one sitting.  “You don’t have to argue about drinking red or white on any night, you can have both of them,” Manwani recently said during an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo.  “I was taking a course and I was tasting a lot of wines blind and I was really frustrated by how quickly it would spoil. I realized if I could build a system where people could drink many wines on the same night with friends and compare notes that would be the fastest way to learn about wine. That was the inspiration for Kuvée.”

According to Manwani, there are several advantages to both consumers and producers with the Kuvée system.  Consumers can sample several wines at a time without spoilage or waste, and wineries can tell the story of their wines via the touch screen.  The outer smart bottles can also provide feedback information to the producers, and increase the ease of ordering more wine via the Kuvée online store for consumers.

The Kuvée smart bottle and a four wine starter pack is available for $199 on Kuvé  The company is actively working to expand its selection of participating wineries, and has already partnered with several well-known vineyards.

The Fox Business interview with Kuvée CEO and co-founder Manwani may be found at:

Why the Winery Matters
06 May, 2016

Your Winery is an integral part of your wine’s brand identity.  As much as your bottle and label, customers associate the appearance of your winery with the pleasurable experience that is your wine.  This association of appearance and experience helps build and sustain the brand loyalty that keeps customers coming back to your wine again and again.

In the past, the only ways for potential customers to see your Winery were either print or televised ads or in person, often on a wine tour.  With the creation of the Internet and the rise of VR technology, it’s now possible--even desirable--to make your winery facilities visually appealing to customers from all over the globe.

It’s the rare winery today that doesn’t have at least a few pictures of their physical plant on the winery’s web site.  Many wineries have a gallery of not only still photos, but also videos of their production, storage and tasting areas.  It is likely that VR walkthroughs will soon become as common as traditional videos, to give customers an enhanced view of your winery and encourage them to engage in the experience that is your wine.

Seka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting RoomSeka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room

Seka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room

Wineries that participate in wine tours or tasting events realize just how important the winery itself is to creating an atmosphere that drives wine sales.  For many tourists, the memory of the winery itself will endure long after they’ve forgotten the taste of a particular bottle or year.  This memory can be what brings them back to your winery, turning a one-time sale into a regular patron.

If you’re not satisfied with the look and layout of your winery, or are considering an upgrade or expansion, it would be prudent to select a contractor with experience in constructing facilities for the wine industry.  A contractor like California-based Sierra View General Contractors has previous experience with the unique requirements and demands of winemakers, and can “speak your language” from planning phase through completion.  While many contractors can build a good building, working with a company like Sierra View that understands wineries can give you a better final product with less “interesting” difficulties along the way.

To see some of the wineries and other facilities in the Sierra View portfolio and learn more about their experience in winery and hospitality construction, visit them at