Davis Winery lights help to sell wine

Friday, 20. July 2018 - 10:00

Davis Estates interior

When Mike Davis opened his Calistoga Winery, Davis Estates, in 2016 he strove to use his background in technology in surprising ways. This includes creating 13 different musical sound zones lit with 4,000 LED lights.

“Every single light was pre-set to set multiple schemes in each [of the 40] zones,” said Davis, the winery’s owner. There are day, night and cleaning settings. There is also a digital colour wheel that can also be used to highlight architectural details of the winery—such as its waterfall and windmill—as well as holiday colours such as red for Valentine’s Day or red, white and blue for the 4th of July.

Primarily the lights are used to give a golden colour to the surroundings and winery guests, said Davis. “If people are happy and in a good mood they will buy wine.”

Older wineries, he noted, can have florescent or incandescent bulbs, which can be a little harsher in terms of their effect on guests and the winery’s appearance.

The design

The lighting scheme was designed by Eric Johnson of his eponymous firm based in San Rafael, just outside San Francisco. The goal of the lighting, according to Markus Wolf, an associate principal at Eric Johnson Associates Inc., is to feature the architecture and the winery through architectural layering. The colour temperature is warm, he noted, saying that having more red in the lighting “typically suits most skin colours.”

“Ambient colour influenced the subjective value of the wine. Wine tasted better in blue or red environments as compared with green and white,” said Becca Yeamans-Irwin, the Colourado-based founder of the website The Academic Wino, citing a 2009 Journal of Sensory Studies abstract.

The goal of the lights was both aesthetic and intended to drive sales. These warm colours “make the winery look warm and cozy,” said Wolf. He added that there is something about the human psyche that if, “a restaurant is warm and cozy and suitably lit we are [more] likely to indulge ourselves.”

Davis explained that, while the original lighting setup was complicated, “Now we can push a button or tap our iPhone to achieve one of many pre-set schemes. From romantic nightscape to full bright for production, the system allows an enormous amount of flexibility.”
Liza B. Zimmerman