Rammed Earth Construction
We dug down on our hillside location to hit solid rock on which we poured a concrete "stem wall" of footing, that was poured to a level of 18" above ground level. Forms were placed around the stem wall to the desired height (15' for the winery and 9' for the tasting room). The thickness of the walls is 24". The winery has two small windows and two doors so very little changes in temperature occur.
The dirt has a little cement mixed with it and is wet just a little before being placed in the forms. Once the mix is in the forms the mixture is rammed down, via pneumatic plunger, until solid. After the proper height is reached a 4" concrete top plate is poured onto the wall for a reinforced plate that makes a platform to attach the rafters for the roof. Once the massive wall has "cured" or dried it is rock hard and slows the thermal transfer of heat and cold, making it like a cave above ground great for the production and storage of our Texas wines.
We then added a roof, with tin on steel beams, insulated to an 'R' value of over 40. The insulation is a special product made of cement and water sprayed, under pressure, forming small bubbles that dry instantly making a very environmentally friendly insulation that really works.
The tasting room walls are 18" thick, with the second story, our offices, constructed of rammed earth blocks (12"x8"x4") that are laid lengthwise with two inches of stucco on each side making a 16' wall. A wall that is safe, nontoxic, very strong and environmentally friendly.