Client Need

This project grew out of a friendship and a long professional history. GDC designed and remodeled winemaker Lowell Jooste’s La Jolla home, and Jooste was so impressed with the work that when it came time to realize his lifelong dream of creating a wine tasting room, he called on GDC to bring his vision to fruition. The idea was to create a venue to showcase wine blends delivered straight from the barrel to the customer. And it was all to be done on a challenging, narrow former bakery in Bird Rock. Old friends as well as colleagues, Pancho and Lowell put their heads together with award-winning local architect Michael Morton and LJ Crafted Wines was born.

Our Solution

The space always had to showcase the extraordinary wines Jooste is crafting from the best California grapes. So, the room was designed to incorporate recycled features from the winemaking industry: Light fittings made from old barrel irons; one wall cladded with the aged oak from wine barrels and wine casks doubling as intimate tables. But there were practical considerations too: Building an office and workable warehouse space into the narrow site, and creating a slight slope for disabled access, across the entire floor from back office to street, created its own challenges. But the result, complete with the biggest surfboard local shaper Tim Bessell has ever made fronting onto the street, is a healthy marriage of design and ingenuity.


The space incorporates raw materials from the wine industry, like light fittings made from iron wine barrel hoops.
One wall of the tasting room is cladded with oak recycled from wine casks.
The “bar" facing the Bird Rock street is crafted from a custom surfboard — the largest local shaper Tim Bessell has ever made.
The jumbo-sized surfboard had to be made from two longboard “blanks” fused together.
The tasting room showcases wines made by Lowell Jooste, a South African winemaker who settled in La Jolla.
Jooste crafts wines from California grapes and sells them direct from cask to glass or bottles.
The floor of the tasting room slopes gradually towards the street, to meet ADA requirements.
Recycled wine casks make for intimate tables to enjoy a glass or two.
The space also had to be functional, and includes an office and small warehouse.
Detail of the wine cask cladding.

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