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Vineyards and Wineries

Designcubed teamed up with Vinescapes (specialist Vineyard & Winery Consultants) in 2018 to meet the needs of their clients in designing and delivering modern, efficient and sustainable wineries. Our successful partnership can provide you with all the expertise you need from scoping winery needs, wine storage and winery equipment requirements, budget calculations, project feasibility briefs, concept designs, spatial coordination, procurement, construction, planning consultancy, pre-planning and full planning applications. Let’s look at the various stages involved in winery design and development, and what we can do for you.

Scoping the Project

The first stage is to scope the winery and/or wine storage project and agree the initial project brief. Ideas of scale, appearance, and quality must meet with the functions of production as well as the available budget. Project Scoping involves defining the necessary winery tanks, equipment and production stages and spaces to match anticipated grape yields and wine quality parameters. This enables calculation of the operational space requirements for the production areas. Once the production function has been scoped it is possible to add on any supplementary functions which will support the business. These might include; tasting rooms, corporate event spaces, kitchens, retail, restaurants, holiday lets and so on. The overall findings will be presented in a report which, once agreed, forms the Initial Project Brief.

Feasibility of the Project

The Initial Project Brief is the basis on which we explore the feasibility of possible site layouts, building scale, functional relationships and massing to achieve a sketch design. During this stage we use simple drawings and three-dimensional visuals, along with sourced photographs of relevant built architecture to convey our design concepts. Once these are agreed a cost consultant may be used to provide a first budget estimate to see if the sketch design can fit within the available funds. Then, if necessary, the Initial Brief, may be adjusted to reduce the scope if costs are looking too high, or possibly add further function where the budget allows. The aim at the end of this stage is to confirm the Project Brief upon which the following design stages will develop.

Concept Design / Planning Pre-Application

At this stage the Concept Design is developed to make sure that the look and feel of the project is proceeding in line with the vison, brief and budget set by the Project Brief.


If appropriate, this is the point at which we usually prepare for initial discussions with the local planning authority. Negotiating planning approval is a potential risk that must be carefully managed. The site may be in environmentally sensitive areas such as: Green Belt land, AONBs, SSSIs, or/and National Parks. Flood risk areas, sensitive ecology locations, access and rights of way are other issues that may need to be negotiated or mitigated. This makes it desirable to prepare a Pre-Application to the local Planning Authority.


For a pre-application we prepare preliminary designs, supported with visuals from our three-dimensional computer model for submittal. Dialogue with the planners is important to establish good working relationships and to identify any specific local issues that need to be considered before a full planning application is made. If the winery is an element of a bigger project that includes, say, holiday lets or a restaurant, the Pre-application is useful to test reactions to a masterplan and understand if any of the additional provision is particularly controversial.

Spatial Coordination / Applying for Planning

The aim for the end of this stage is for the architectural, building services, and structural / civil engineering design concepts to be spatially coordinated. From this point the project will start to become real, as our designs progress from the conceptual to something appropriate for construction. We will confirm materiality, massing and form, and incorporate revisions to the design following feedback from any Pre-planning applications or consultations.

Alongside scaled drawings and visualisations, to illustrate the project in its setting, we will publish a detailed Design and Access Report together with a Planning Statement to support the planning application. Throughout the determination process we will liaise on your behalf with the planning authority and manage any further queries or additional information which may be requested to ensure the best chances of success.

Procurement Strategy

Following planning approval the level of design work that we provide to contractors for tender will depend on the chosen form of construction contract. We can explain and help you with the selection with options to consider including: TraditionalDesign & Build, and Negotiated.

Traditional contracts are often associated with simple projects or where the priorities are for the quality of construction, detail, and finish. For a Traditional contract we will complete the design and produce a detailed design and specification package for issue to selected contractors for tendering. This form of contract provides us with control of the design throughout construction, but it does mean that the financial risk of any unforeseen changes required during the build remains with you, the client.


Design and Build contracts are often associated with larger, more complex projects or where the priorities are for financial certainty with the added possibility to complete a project in less time. For Design and Build we will provide the contractors with a set of Performance Requirements to define what is to be constructed. We will tailor this information to describe in detail critical design elements and functionality, leaving the contractors to propose their own solutions for the less crucial elements. The contractors can then leverage their construction know-how and supply chain expertise for practical build solutions and potential cost savings. The selected contractor will then take responsibility for the remaining design information and for any residual financial risks through the construction phase.


Negotiated contract can achieve high levels of quality with cost certainty. However, ultimately the success of construction has a greater reliance on high levels of trust between you and the contractor. For a Negotiated contract the basis on which the construction costs and the contractor’s profit will be calculated are negotiated in advance. This allows us to select the contractor at the same time the project develops so that they can engage in the design process. They can then provide construction expertise and “real world” pricing as the project evolves, reducing project risks and maximising the design within the available budget.



The services we provide during construction also depend on the form of building contract. Under a traditional contract we would normally perform the role of Contract Administrator, overseeing the build in general, answering site queries, and acting as the point of contact between you and the contractor. Under a Design & Build form of contract we would expect to be novated to the contractor to ensure continuity of the design approach for construction. However, this does mean that our legal responsibility shifts from you to the contractor. We will work under their instruction until the building is completed. We will therefore help you to select an Employer’s Agent to act on your behalf and administer the building contract.

Any Questions?

Designcubed and Vinescapes together provide a full package of services to Vineyards and Wineries and tailor our work according to requirements.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss a possible project, please give Stephen a call on 07887 995595. Alternatively, email us at and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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