A Century-Old Hacienda Is Reborn as Sonoma’s Newest Winery
Brothers Andrew and Adam Mariani’s renovation of the 100-year-old hacienda at Scribe Winery reveals deep roots in the Sonoma landscape—and a new take on California wine culture.
Published Jul 6, 2017 8:00 AM
When you approach the palm tree–lined entrance to the hacienda at Scribe Winery, which opened as a tasting room this spring, you know you’re outside traditional wine country. “You pass our vegetable garden with the backdrop of Arrowhead mountain, the farm, the Sonoma Valley flatlands—there is this energy,” says co-owner Andrew Mariani.
He and his brother, Adam, fourth-generation California farmers, have channeled that energy—along with building a tight group of designer, artist, and food-world friends, including Andrew’s wife, singer-songwriter Lia Ices—into an expertly curated family business. Their wines—skin-fermented Chardonnays, unexpected Sylvaners and Rieslings—are the product of a love and reverence for the land they inhabit.
And with a modern-naturalist design aesthetic and a commitment to “real California food,” Scribe is taking NorCal wine culture to new places: It regularly hosts starry cookbook launches, chefs of the moment like Andrew Tarlow of Marlow & Sons and barbecue master Pat Martin, as well as a writers’ residency (essayist Sloane Crosley was the first guest)—all members of the extended Mariani crew.
[In this image: The Marianis—Lia and Una, Andrew, Adam, and Kelly—enjoy a glass of wine in the living room. Linen Dreamer Couch, Pop and Scott, $4,350; Heathered Chenille Jute Rug, Pottery Barn $120; Low Rider Coffee Table, Pop and Scott, $2,640.]
Scribe’s influence on a new Sonoma is a decade-long work in progress. In 2007, Andrew and Adam discovered an “abandoned, decrepit turkey farm” that included the incredible hacienda. Dating back to the 1850s and rebuilt after a 1906 earthquake, the structure had been home to a pre-Prohibition winery.
The brothers saw potential: Both had an interest in wine from doing post-college stints at vineyards in Europe and South Africa. They purchased the property, spent a year “removing the junk to reveal the beauty,” and planted vines.
Since day one, Adam and Andrew welcomed small groups of friends and family to the “falling down but still soulful” house for tastings and wood-fired pizza, with the music cranked high. Eventually they wanted to make the gatherings, and the space, more ambitious.
[In this image: Orbit Pendant, Workstead, $875.]
In 2014, a proper renovation began. Guided by the site-driven, playful aesthetic of the late conceptual artist David Ireland (who inspired art spaces 500 Capp Street Foundation and the Headlands Center for the Arts), the Marianis went “wall by wall, square inch by square inch, asking of every element, ‘How do we preserve this?’” explains Adam.
[In this image: Sonora Chair by Casamidy.]
As a result, nearly the entire house is custom-designed and -built by artisan friends—lighting by sculptor Adam Silverman and designer Michael McEwen, ceramics and flatware by Oakland artist Jessica Niello, rugs by pal Ariel Ashe. Balancing the new additions are deliberately unfinished touches, like paint-chipped ceilings and hand-drawn pencil sketches on the walls. A visiting artist friend sketched a cluster of bees onto the wall years ago, which can still be found in the master bedroom.
“There is so much beauty in the building and the surroundings, that we picked out very quiet furniture to showcase what’s naturally happening,” says Ices, who since joining the Scribe tribe has given birth to her and Andrew’s daughter, Una.
[In this image: A one-time medicine cabinet is filled with terracotta pots that, along with the wood paneling, blend in with the pastel palette in a bathroom.]
Overall, the hacienda’s design “celebrates history—the cracks in walls, the dents in ceilings,” explains Andrew.
[In this image: In the upstairs kitchen and guest rooms, old meets new with patinaed copper cookware and brass light fixtures. Large Modern Cup, Heath Ceramics, $22; Asilomar Contemporary Floor Mount Tub Filler, Cal Faucets; Vinum Pinot Noir Glass, Riedel, $55 for set of 2; Summit Gas Range by Kitchenette; Integrated Dishwasher by Miele, Drimmer, $1,399; Calacatta Gold Marble Tile, Carrara Tiles, from $15.]
[In this image: The master kitchen in full swing, with produce pulled straight from the Scribe garden and local farms. Custom Pendants by Adam Silverman; Main Plate, Heath Ceramics, $46; White Oak End-Grain Butcher Block, Jacob May, from $300; White Oak Steel Island, Aidlin Darling Design; Big Heart Birch Bowl by Jess Hirsch, Women’s Woodshop, $36.]
And more than ever, the hacienda feels like a home. Public tastings and private events resemble family gatherings, complete with small plates whipped up by sister Kelly Mariani, a veteran of Chez Panisse. “Everything we are creating is from the ground up,” she says.
The menu features what the Marianis planted just steps away from the vines—tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs in the summer, as well as their own olive oil. The entire Scribe experience, says Andrew, is “a distinct expression of northern California and the farm.”
[In this image, left to right: Scribe creative director Nora Sibley Denker and hospitality director Penelope Grill on the hacienda’s terrace.]