The Wine Mine


The Wine Mine is a unique and unparalleled Wine Cellar designed and built by Ira Kessey on the theme of a Gold Mine. The Wine Mine is exceptional and without equal in it's execution and attention to detail.

Throughout this Project are authentic items and artifacts sourced by Ira Kessey to create a realistic mining experience. 400 pounds of gold ore were handpicked by Ira from a working gold mine near the Sierra Buttes for the vein that runs up the cellar walls. Every detail of this project was meticulously researched by touring gold mines in the surrounding counties.

To Acquire the Accessories used in the interior, Ira scoured antiques of many private collectors, including a hard rock drill, picks, shovels, hooks, chains, pots, spikes, lanterns & dynamite boxes. He took an unusual hands on approach by creating the faux stone walls, building the ore cart table and benches, producing the stained glass piece designing and building custom barstools and fabricating the custom metal mesh door insert and spike cabinet hardware.

Materials Include old posts and beams fashioned from the timbers of the railroad snow sheds at Donner Summit. The walls are a combination of stone masonry, stone integrated with wood planking, faux excavated hard rock surface and gold quartz veins that replicate the working gold mines of the past. Floors are free form mortar and gravel. The countertop is cast concrete with gold ore seeded into the surface an d the integral sink is fashioned in the shape of a sluice box. The table in the tasting room features a base from an old mining cart originating in Virginia City, NV. The table top is elm from the Sacramento State Capital, planted by Mary Crocker. This same elm wood is used for the seats on the benches which were designed and built by Ira.

The Ore Cart Sits on a Steel Track that winds it's way through the Wine Mine and ends at a Trompe l'oeil mural that gives the illusion of a tunnel that continues into the earth.  An iron screen door in the tasting room leads into a 1500 bottle wine reserve complete with custom stained glass depicting the winter view of Donner Lake from the property. The stained glass was also designed and executed by Ira.

The Wine Cave is not without suprises. An old cabinet/shelf unit in the corner retracts into a hidden service room.  Another door camouflaged as a cave wall opens into the private gym and sauna.

This Unique “Wine Mine” is an ideal example of the relevance to our historical connections with the past – alive and surviving around us.


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web design & build: Ron Richman