Wine and feng shui have a common denominator: balance. Which may explain why vintner Ron Rubin of Sebastopol’s Rubin Family of Wines recently remodeled his winery using feng shui as the guiding force.
It’s visible in design elements like curved wood-paneled walls, dramatic use of color and strategically placed windows that funnel the energy of sunlight into the building.
“What pleases me most is the balance we’ve created, like any great wine,” Rubin said. “In our remodeling, we’ve shaped a place where we all walk into, this space that just ‘feels right.’ Feng shui gives us the tools to make changes in our environment, things like design, wall color and materials that will improve our productivity, relationships, health and prosperity.”
With its rustic charm, the winery has fully integrated feng shui principles that were developed more than 3,000 years ago in China as a way to balance the energies of individual environments. Guests first experience it when they step into the entry hall, designed to make them feel like they are inside a colossal wooden barrel.
Its key features include a stairway and dramatic light fixtures winding up to the second floor; curved dark walls paneled with reclaimed wood that highlight built in wine displays; and a tall red wall showcasing award-winning wines.
“Visitors’ first impression of The Rubin Family of Wines reception area is of a large dramatic light and open space, which is both welcoming and impressively designed to make people feel, ‘This is an important place. I have arrived someplace special,’” Rubin said.
Another example of feng shui’s behind-the-scenes impact is the energy of sunlight.
“The most energy entering the winery comes from the south across the vineyards, via both sunlight and views,” Rubin said. “Southern energy is the energy of summer. We wanted to give the fabulous southern view and light to the private offices, the winemakers, and two hospitality rooms.
“We liked the idea of visitors walking into the reception area and being surprised by tall windows showcasing the sunny rows of vines with rolling hills in the distance.”
Rubin, 67, has had a feng shui sensibility for many years and said he’s not aware of any other Napa or Sonoma wineries with a feng shui emphasis. In addition to Rubin Family of Wines, he owns the Republic of Tea, with headquarters in Novato.
“The Republic of Tea was our first feng shui endeavor in 1997, and then our homes in St. Louis and Tiburon,” Rubin said. “We’ve experienced a feng shui designed office and home for years, and we appreciate the benefits. More importantly we wanted to provide a beautiful experience for visitors.”
Rubin said feng shui (translated as “wind and water”) is the best known and documented of the ancient forms of Environmental Psychology.
“Feng shui principles have been proven to reduce stress, foster creativity and increase productivity by promoting focused concentration, health and satisfaction.
“I’ve been a feng shui enthusiast since 1995 when I traveled to the Far East to discover the history of its teas,” he said. “It was there that I also found the path that intertwines Chinese history and the ancient philosophy of feng shui. Their way of thinking made such an impression on me that I adopted it, too.”
FENG SHUI PRINCIPLES
The world is made up of five basic elements: Wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
The most harmonious settings incorporate a balanced mix of all five elements.
Color, light, shapes, mirrors, windows, alignment, water features and building materials are among the things that can be used to create the balance.