How This 100% Solar-Powered Winery Uses Cork To Keep Wine Cool

On the Spanish island of Majorca, one winery has gone green in a big way. Son Juliana’s winery, designed by innovative architecture studio Munarq Arquitectes, runs entirely on solar power and features an insulating roof made from cork. 


May 26 2019, Updated 2:07 p.m. ET

Spain is a country famous for wine. Nowhere is this more true than on the Spanish island of Majorca, a popular tourist destination not only for those wishing to trek through its beautiful limestone mountains, but also for wine aficionados. Most wineries are traditional in every sense of the word, from the way they age their wine to the way they power their facilities. But for the Son Juliana's winery, innovation is built into the very foundation of their operation. Created by architecture studio Munarq Arquitectes, Son Juliana runs entirely on solar power. The low, flat design helps it stay naturally cool, and integrates natural, native building materials with an insulating roof made entirely of cork. 

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In spite of the modern ideas that went into building and powering Son Juliana's, the facility is far from being a novelty meant only to showcase these ideas. It is a fully-functioning winery in every sense of the word. As Lucy Wang explains at Inhabitat, Son Juliana's measures 1,300-square feet, and is capable of producing 40,000 liters of wine each year. Once grapes are grown and harvested from Son Juliana's fields, they enter Son Juliana's eastern entrance, pass through several processing rooms, until they are ready to be aged as wine. 

The aging barrels are kept in the basement, which was built specifically to meet the special humidity  and temperature requirements for wine making. Below-ground rooms tend to have more constant temperatures than those on upper-floors, making the basement the ideal place for Son Juliana's wine to age. Once ready, the wine is bottled, labeled, and put on display in the sales room at Son Juliana's western entrance, completing the simple, grape-to-wine process that embodies small wineries like Son Juliana's. 

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Impressively, the fully functional winery took just 15 days to build. This super-short construction time was made possible by Son Juliana's prefabricated concrete structure. But, though the building's skeleton is made from concrete, the outer layers are more suited to the beautiful scenery on which it sits. Marés, a sandy-colored stone native to Majorca, coats the winery's outer walls, helping the facility blend into its natural surroundings, which include the breathtaking Tramuntana mountains. The inner walls of Son Juliana's are covered with ceramic brick, and the entire interior is cooled via passive ventilation.

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The designers certainly built Son Juliana with the planet in mind, in more ways than one. Not only is the winery an undeniably eco-friendly building, it even uses the thermal mass of the earth itself to provide necessary moisture and heat. Even Son Juliana's retaining walls were built for a specific purpose, which one architect described as intending to, "take advantage of the thermal mass and soil moisture that remained during the summer. The contribution of ventilation and temperature is carried through pipes connected to geothermal heat pumps." 

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Son Juliana's slanted, cork-lined roof, one of its most striking features, is more than just stylish. Because cork does not absorb heat as well as many traditional building materials, the roof helps to insulate the entire building, keeping the winery's internal temperature constant. The roof's light color also helps reflect sunlight, deflecting excess external heat. 

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From the naturally-temperature controlled basement to the marés-covered walls to reflective, insulating roof, Son Juliana's is one of the most eco-friendly wineries in Spain, and possibly the world. 


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