Positive Connection Wall for Wine Production Facility

19 Foot (5.8 meter) vertical wall installs in 3 weeks for winery production plant


When the Four Feathers Winery near Kennewick, WA began construction on a new production facility, they had a unique design in mind. The topography of the site allowed the company to design a production system that utilized gravity to help improve the process of moving grapes through the facility.

The challenge was that the grapes needed to be unloaded from semi-trucks into a conveyer system that started at the top of a 19 foot (5.8 meter) tall ledge, and the winery needed to create a vertical wall that could support the weight of the roadway and trucks above, create space for all the necessary equipment, and also look good.


Cobblestone blocks were used to build the tall Redi-Rock reinforced wall at this winery facility.


Rod Chumley owns Scout Lake Excavation and is also part-owner of the winery. Chumley has been building retaining walls for over 20 years, and recommended Redi-Rock as the best solution for the wall construction.

"I would not feel comfortable putting in a wall that high in any other block on the market than the Redi-Rock PC [Positive Connection] block. It was that impressive to me," Chumley said. "Where else can you find a wall that you can stack 19 feet (5.8 meters) high vertical and then run semi-trucks across the top?"

The Redi-Rock PC System:

  • Utilizes a corrosion-free reinforcement system without special connection components
  • Offers superior seismic performance
  • Increases wall height with reduced geosynthetic reinforcement requirements
  • Incorporates a massive, ¾ ton, precast concrete block facing unit
  • Delivers an attractive, cost-effective, high-performance retaining wall structure


A truck is being loaded next to the Redi-Rock retaining wall that supports the road above.

"One of the advantages of the wall is that it gives us the ability to receive fruit on a gravity system. We receive fruit 21-24 tons at a time. We're using that elevation change that the wall has afforded us as a benefit," explained Dave Copeland, Operations Manager at Zirkle. In addition to the semi-trucks, the wall was also engineered to withstand the load of a 7.5 ton (6.8 metric ton) crane.

The PC wall was an excellent fit for this project, agreed John McKervey, P.E., principal of JM Engineering. "The PC system allows for an attractive retaining wall capable of supporting virtually any loading situation and the wall system is relatively easy to design," he said.

The efficient connection the PC System allows was a major benefit to this project. "The way that the geogrid connects through the block creates a solid connection because the grid goes all the way through the block rather than just being connected on one small portion of the block," McKervey said. "It makes a strong connection between the block back into the soil behind it and there's really no chance of a connection failure with this system."


This winery's Redi-Rock wall was designed to withstand the weight of semi-trucks as well as a 7.5 ton (6.8 metric ton) crane.

Additional benefits of using the PC System on this project included:

  • Lower Cost: "I felt really confident in the structural integrity of the walls, and it was cheaper than pouring a wall there by over about a third," Chumley explained.

  • Quality, exact components: "I had worked with Redi-Rock in the past and the reason I like it is that the concrete is spec-it's not junk concrete and the people who make the block do a fantastic job. Because on a vertical wall this big, if each block isn't perfect, by the time you get to the top, it's going to be way off. This project used about 3,000 blocks and there wasn't a single reject block. Not one! That's pretty impressive. To have a vertical wall that's that sturdy and exact at 19 feet (5.8 meter) tall and 940 feet (286.5 meters) long-that speaks volumes. Knowing how perfect the blocks were let me feel confident in using it on this 19 foot (5.8 meter) wall," Chumley said. Wilbert Precast also poured a number of blocks with custom imbeds to allow a gangway to be attached flush with the wall.

  • Fast installation: "We had used Redi-Rock before, but this was the first time with the new [PC] connection. We took 2 days to get really familiar with cutting the grid and pulling it through, but after that we were off running," Chumley said. Construction of the vertical wall for this project was completed in just 3 weeks.

  • Utility coordination: The PC System was an ideal fit for this application because the winery needed to locate vertical drainage structures behind the retaining wall. "Having those one ft. wide strips of geogrid allowed us to run the strips around the drainage structures vs. if you had a continuous row of fabric you're just going to lose that geogrid. We were able to run around those structures and still get that structural stability," McKervey explained.


This retaining wall was 19 feet (5.8 meters) tall at its highest point and was installed in only 3 weeks.


"There have been people all the way from Italy who've come to check out the wall. Everyone has to come check out the great wall. There's nothing around here like it," Chumley said.

The combination of structural integrity, vertical setback, lower cost, quality components, and fast installation made the Redi-Rock PC System a great choice for this project!


Project: Zirkle Fruit Wine Production Facility Improvements #148 Engineer: John McKervey, P.E., JM Engineering Owner: Four Feathers Winery Manufacturer: Wilbert Precast General Contractor: Scout Lake Excavation Location: Kennewick, Washington Year Built: 2012

Reinforced Retaining Wall Blocks - Build MSE retaining walls with the revolutionary Redi-Rock Positive Connection (PC) blocks.

Cobblestone Texture Blocks - One of the beautiful face texture options offered on Redi-Rock blocks.

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