ICFs are perfect to maintain the atmosphere, temperature and humidity controls to age wine. Accomplishing this while also reducing production costs and costly energy bills is something everyone can drink to.

The Bonobo Winery, Traverse City, Michigan

The Oosterhouse brothers, Todd and Carter, Traverse City natives decided to build a winery to satisfy a life-long dream.
Carter Oosterhoue can been seen on HGTV programs such as Row House Showdown, Million Dollar Kitchens and Baths, and more.

About the Bonobo Winery

This project is a true showcase. It clearly demonstrates how different construction technologies can seamlessly be mixed inside a complex structure. As you walk through the structure you see a comfortable modern interior, warm textures, and large open spaces. As you move into the industrial toned production areas, you see a great working environment that is extremely clean with smooth transitions between ICF, wood, and CMU. Even in the production areas, the feeling of comfort is consistent.

This project is located in Traverse City Michigan, a tourist destination and regional area of commerce for many people. People flock to the area in the spring, summer, and fall to see the lakes, sunsets, cherry trees, and vineyards. Bonobo has a high traffic volume and will help educate more people about the advantages of energy efficient construction and ICF technology, especially in the wine industry.

From an industry perspective, this could be a major break in the processes of storing wine. ICFs are perfect for maintaining the atmosphere, temperature and humidity controls to age wine. Accomplishing this while also reducing production costs and costly energy bills is something everyone can drink to.

This project will continue to be an example for the Oosterhouse brothers and others in demonstrating profitable green energy-efficient construction to the public on an ongoing basis.

“We wanted everything to be Energy efficient, energy conscience, and low waste. When it came to choosing the ICFs, BuildBlock provided the least amount of waste on the project. ICFs have far less waste compared to wood because there are not as many costly wood cuts. BuildBlock also had the characteristics of low maintenance and the blocks fit together nicely. BuildBlock was easy to use and it was easy to work with the company itself when it came to customer service.”

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About the Bonobo Winery

Todd and Carter Oosterhouse evaluated a range of other options including poured walls, wood framed, and CMU, but ICFs provided strength, made the many corners in the design simple, and added value to the building. With a background in green construction and remodeling, they were convinced that whatever they built needed to be as energy efficient as possible. This is not only to keep costs low but also to be able to create a consistent product.

Some wineries have a production facility that is separate from the tasting room and public side of the winery. Bonobo brings both together with an event center and small restaurant. To do this, the structure needed to be cost-effective and energy efficient. The most important room in the winery is the barrel room. The barrel room and production facility are the major reasons they chose to build ICF. The barrel room is a 2,000 square foot room on the lower level in the southwest section of the winery. The long outside wall in this room faces west and really gets pounded in the summer from the sun and by the fierce wind off Lake Michigan in the winter.

Even during the extremely cold Michigan winter, this area is very stable. The heaters kick on once a week for a short time and that keeps the lower level stable at about 60 degrees. Even during the summer with no air conditioning, the lower level is stable at 65 degrees.

The wine barrels are sensitive to changes in both temperature and humidity. Not just for the wine inside, but also for the physical shape of the barrel. Small changes can cause the barrels to expand or shrink and cause the wine to leak out of the barrels. Losing wine is bad, but it also affects the quality of the wine itself. Most wine will be in the barrel for at least 18-months. They must be kept at the same temperature and humidity, fluctuations can also change the quality, taste, and texture of the wine itself.

The Oosterhouse’s are very active in green building principles and green materials such as led lighting, high-efficiency heaters & air conditioning units. In the non-ICF portions, 2×6 walls and concrete floors were used throughout the winery.

The Bonobo Winery mixes all manners of green construction materials in its design. Reclaimed wood and locally sourced materials create an intimate setting above and a state-of-the-art wine production facility below.

The winery project was complex because of the unique blend of four different construction methods. The winery is constructed of wood frame, poured walls, CMU, and ICFs. With a structure of this size, a tight timetable and multiple methods of construction, it had to be well planned and precise.

The site was complex to build on. Significant excavation to prepare the footings for the building and to ensure the soil was stable. Because of the surrounding geography the decision was made to raise the building 1 foot to allow better runoff and for a better view of the lake. This required a sizeable amount of fill soil and compaction.

Though construction began early, the ICF portion of the project took place during the brutal winter. The bitter cold below zero temperatures, made worse by the high winds blowing off Lake Michigan. “The strength of the BuildBlock held up to the pounding wind with no shifting. It had the needed the strength and holds up as well as the precast while also having the R-value.” Says Todd Oosterhouse.

The winery’s upper level is the tasting/lounge area with comfortable seating, a small restaurant, and an event center. The entire lower level of the winery houses office space, wine production, bottling, and storage. The production facility is the heart of the winery, everything from bottling to harvesting and storing the wine barrels. The wine is stored on the west side of the building where the ICFs were used. The ICFs aid in the constant temperature needed for storing wine correctly while also managing humidity levels.

The overall look of the winery is quite impressive with an open floor plan, comfortable surroundings with a large viewing deck constructed to get the perfect view of the vineyard, cherry trees and the lake. The lower level is clean and bright. The barrel room is tastefully decorated and one of the largest open spaces in the facility.

Bonobo Winery - Part 1

Part 1 starts our tour of the Bonobo Winery. This winery chose ICFs as a part of their green construction plan for many reasons including energy-efficiency and ease of construction.

Bonobo Winery - Part 2

Part 2 continues as we learn more about why the Bonobo Winery chose BuildBlock ICFs and how they were critical to their green construction plan and special needs in producing their exceptional wine.

Bonobo Winery - Part 3

Part 3 concludes our look at the Bonobo Winery project using BuildBlock ICFs. See how the final product performed during their first season.