When Stacia Williams, co-founder of and winemaker at Cairdean Estate, decided to start a winery with her husband, Edwin, she said she envisioned something small. “I thought we’d do that quintessential vineyard estate where you support yourself through other investments,” she explained.

Four years after moving from Fresno to Napa Valley, the couple is in the midst of building more than 17,000 square feet of caves and a winery with a permit to produce 50,000 gallons annually. Currently custom crushing, Cairdean makes about 5,000 cases of wine, but Williams said they plan to grow into their full permit capacity over time. The production facilities sit atop a 50 acre estate vineyard at the base of Spring Mountain and are adjacent to an additional 7-acre parcel that is soon to be a complete “village” of wine, food and enjoyment thanks to the rare Commercial Limited permit attached to the property. The site on Highway 29, which has almost finished undergoing its transformation, is the former home of the St. Helena outlet mall.

Guests tasting through the wide breadth of Cairdean wines in the newly opened public tasting room will soon have the chance to learn more about sensory evaluation in the Redolent Sensory Experience space. Wine club members have access to a private tasting facility of their own.

The Rosgal Mercantile, which is tentatively scheduled to open in August, will sell home wares and gift items. Coffee, espresso, pastries, prepared lunch items and picnic supplies will be available at Butterscots, the deli/bakery on the property, which opens onto a trellis-covered patio overlooking the central courtyard. The picnic grounds were recently redone and a multi-use space is still being constructed.

Dinner is served nightly at the new restaurant, The Farmer & The Fox, which opened on June 6.

Williams said going frokm the singular vision of a small winery to the multi-faceted undertaking they are now running was all serendipitous. “After looking at what was on the market, I decided I wanted to start from scratch,” she explained of her initial search for winery property.

According to Williams, the 50-acre vineyard that they purchased in 2010 had not been on the market in more than 30 years. Less than a year after the acquisition, she noted that the shopping center became available as well. Williams said they were inspired to make the second purchase because they knew that whatever happened on that land would have an effect on them.

Additionally, while she was studying winemaking at Fresno State, Williams said she had to create a winery design plan, in which she had included a restaurant. “So, it was probably in the back of my mind,” she said.

Williams described The Farmer & The Fox as “a Northern California take on a classic British gastropub.” Despite having no culinary or hospitality experience, the proprietors, whose backgrounds are in software engineering and aerospace engineering, respectively, do have a solid confidence in their ability to be successful with Cairdean Estate. Aside from Williams’ training as a winemaker, she said the key is assembling the right team. That meant hiring Executive Chef Joseph Humphrey to oversee the restaurant, deli andbakery.

“I immediately felt at ease. He’s so calm,” Williams said of meeting Humphrey. Aside from his demeanor and skills in the kitchen, Williams highlighted Humphrey’s experience opening restaurants such as The Restaurant at Meadowood and Dixie in San Francisco, as well as serving as executive chef at Auberge du Soleil, among others.

Williams said she wants both eateries to appeal to locals and tourists alike. She explained that the team has worked to create a menu, wine list, corkage policy and standards for customer service that will make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. She also hopes the valley’s residents will make Butterscots their morning stop for coffee and a place to enjoy breakfast and lunch.

Williams said she wants people to feel happiness and friendliness when they the estate, which is fitting since Cairdean is the Scottish Gaelic word for “friends.” She credited her husband with finding the name and said it perfectly captured her belief that wine is meant to be shared with friends.

Drawn to the familiarity and warmth of a small town, Williams said she wants to create that kind of feel for everyone who visits Cairdean. “That’s the way I like to live my life and I want to provide that for others as much as I can. We think about every detail and how it will affect the guest,” she added. It’s for this reason, Williams said, that they decided to own all of the businesses in the village. “We wanted to control the guest experience.” This included everything from the hours of operation to how people are greeted.

More information can be found at {a href=”http://%20CairdeanEstate.com” target=”_blank”}CairdeanEstate.com.