top of page

Spotlight: Hill Country Wine Cave, 2021 GRAY Awards Finalist

A closer look at Hill Country Wine Cave, one of five finalists in each of the 2021 GRAY Awards Residential Architecture and Residential Interior Design categories.

Hill Country Wine Cave

Hill Country Wine Cave by Clayton Korte wine cellar built into the side of a mountain

Located at the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country, this wine cave is a stealth destination along a secluded river bend, within a short stroll from ranch amenities. The project was designed by architecture firm Clayton Korte in an existing, excavated cave protected by tall trees and nearly disappearing into native landscape. With dimensional constraints already established, the challenge was to safely design a wine cellar and lounge, recognizing that the existing cave was neither water-tight nor necessarily designed for this intent.

Hill Country Wine Cave by Clayton Korte wine cellar built into the side of a mountain

The solution came in two different forms. The first was to insert a human-scaled wooden module into the volume of the excavation, being sure not to physically interact with the cave wall. The second was to provide a bulkhead that effectively restrained the loose limestone at the cave mouth and provided a predictable surface to wed the wooden insert. By carefully manipulating the solids and voids of a “wooden-box” insert, the cave could be concealed and revealed to the occupant, leveraging the good qualities of subterranean construction while protecting from unwanted moisture and darkness.

Hill Country Wine Cave by Clayton Korte wine cellar built into the side of a mountain interior bar


Design Team:

Brian Korte FAIA | Principal

Camden Greenlee AIA | Architect, Design Lead

Josh Nieves, Assoc. AIA | Project Manager

Brandon Tharp


Monday Builders: General Contractor

SSG Structural Engineers: Structural Engineer

Positive Energy: Mechanical Engineer

Studio Lumina: Lighting Designer

Intelligent Engineering: Civil Engineer

Interiors: Clayton Korte

Landscape: Clayton Korte

Photography: Casey Dunn

Date of Completion: August 2019


Additional Architecture, Residential finalists:

Full House

Mar Vista Residence

Portage Bay Float Home

Tongass Ledge

Additional Interior Design, Residential finalists:

1717 Webster


Old Las Palmas


Check out the Quick List to see all of the 2021 GRAY Awards finalists!


2021 GRAY Awards Party Tickets NOW AVAILABLE

Join us for the year's most exciting design event!

DEC 10, 2021 | 7pm PST

The Westin Seattle

For more information and to purchase tickets:


Thank you to our Sponsors:


Subscribe to our e-newsletter to be the first to find out about upcoming GRAY Awards news!

For partner/sponsor info for upcoming GRAY Awards, write to us at


bottom of page