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Enamored with the complexities of wine, Chisel Architecture cofounder Marcy Townsend and her husband, Oscar, return to the start of their story together each year on their anniversary. The location is St. Francis Vineyard in Sonoma wine country, known for its wine and food pairings, nurturing of animals, and dedicated respect for the environment. The couple was married at the location in 2016, and it was a fitting destination for the duo who has champion breed dogs and a deep appreciation for the earth. It’s an annual pilgrimage that involves much anticipation prior to the trip and bottling up as much of the experience for the return to Minnesota. “The wine and its story of origin, growth and resilience is the best souvenir you can bring home from a vacation,” says Marcy.

They most enjoy opening a bottle with friends, and if there’s interest, they can guide new tasters through the experience. In Marcy’s experience, wine sets the stage to bring people together no matter what zip code she may be in. During a wine tasting in California, tasters have the benefit of hearing the full story of the grapes and various vintages from someone very close to the source. This adds a layer of history, gives the wine itself relevance, and opens the palate and mind to a fuller appreciation.

Artful Living | Chisel Architecture Fine Wine and Design

Photography provided by Marcy Townsend

At home, Marcy and Oscar effortlessly flow into recreating a similar experience as they share a bottle with friends. Being a connoisseur of wine can often be perceived as pretentious, and the worlds of film and pop culture contribute to these perceptions. It’s a reminder that the wine’s story is always a good place to begin.

As an architect, Marcy can’t help but notice that the structure of a fine wine directly correlates with the composition of good architecture. It’s an art form. The first conscious thought is which direction to make broad brush strokes: red or white, traditional or contemporary. Then the smaller brush strokes are considered: zinfandel or cabernet, Tudor or Colonial. From there, it’s about refining intuitively, which applies to both making wine and designing architecture. Marcy and Chisel cofounder Sara Whicher shine in the highly creative space of design development and execution.

“When a good wine or a good home are enjoyed, both are like a well-curated work of art, where nuances and complexities are continually noticed and distinct each time,” Marcy notes. “And it should go without saying: Quality over quantity wins every time.”

Artful Living | Chisel Architecture Fine Wine and Design

Thinking about wine with this level of appreciation is where the pretense melts away for Marcy. It’s more accurately labeled as fascination for the craft and respect for the grape. As she and her husband continue to visit wine country, they love to learn and further appreciate the integrity and purist characteristics of the wine in its most unaltered state. The smell of the wine enjoyed time and again brings about a nostalgia, and the integrated relationship of grape, environment and winemaker floods the senses.

Again, for Marcy there’s that strong connection between a fine wine and artful architecture. Her appreciation for wine seems undoubtedly destined to grow and age, with never a question of how she and Oscar will spend their anniversaries: in California wine country enjoying the finest vino with a story to tell.

Chisel Architecture’s Fine Wine, Fine Design series begins this fall.

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