Designed by Jo Ann Knox Martino and situated in the western portion of the valley in the same area as Baron Balche, is the elegant cava built for storage, wine making and tastings of her famous Tango wines. The cava is made from natural materials occurring on the property, such as the granite inside walls that were discovered when digging into the hill for the structure in colors of grays and pale reds. The façade is made up of softball sized balls of sandstone to give it texture, with large wooden doors and wrought iron handles. A deep sink carved out of stone is in the enclosure. She picked out antique light fixtures to hang from the ceiling.
All that is left to do with the cava is to protect it from the sun hitting the building, most likely with another wooden structure in keeping with the style of the building. Bathrooms for the public are also in the works.
There is plenty of room for storage along the walls. Four varietals will be available, Zinfandel, Nebbiolo, a blend of both, and a Chardonnay. This is Jo Ann's first foray into a white wine, but it will most likely be as special as her other carefully crafted vinos. She uses art done by famous local artists for the labels which make the bottles most attractive. For those who are not familiar with her, Jo Ann won the top prize at a blind tasting her first year making wine. It was then that her lifetime dream of making wine started to happen.
Nestled on hill overlooking vineyards and fruit trees, the ranch is a work in progress. Cabernet and Nebbiolo grapes grow on the property along with a line of orange trees not far from the cava, lemon trees, and avocado and figs as well. It is a perfect place to stop and enjoy the natural setting this part of the valley offers, to refresh with wine and visit with friends.
Jo Ann plans on making her award winning wines on the top of the hill behind the cava, using gravity feed to get the young wine into the indoor space. The temperature inside is cool, but refreshing. What a great place it will be on hot summer days.
Her master builder, Donato Ochoa Najera, a handsome man wearing a cowboy hat, seemed to be quite proud of his work. Jo Ann was out there today to confer with him about moving forward with the restrooms and a shading structure for the roof, as the building gets a southern exposure. Started just seven months ago, the cava approaches completion. Plans are to open soon.
*Susan A Mahalick has a book about living in Baja that explains much of what a person needs to know about living here. My Gold Coast-----Baja can be found on Amazon.com.