In vino veritas – in wine there is truth – says the Latin proverb.
If you love wine and architecture, this post is for you.
Wine is produced under very strict conditions, therefore, wineries are challenging pieces of architecture. Factors such as light and temperature are key to the fermentation, aging and bottle maturation processes. This is part of the science of making wine, however, there’s a lot left to the artistic side.
Is winemaking an art or science?
I recently wrote an article about fashion being an example of form and function just like architecture and, in some ways, wineries share this duality too. The growing interest in fine wine has contributed to a series of new constructions around the wine industry. Buildings such as restaurants, hotels and even chapels have now become core parts of new wineries.
Here is a list of some of the most recent, innovative and creative wineries around the globe designed by world-class architects.
My favorite is #13! Yours?
1. Tondonia Winery Pavilion
Location: La Rioja (Spain)
Architect: Zaha Hadid
Description: Rafael López de Heredia Tondonia Winery is one of the oldest and more famous winery in the Spanish region of La Rioja. To celebrate their 125th anniversary they decided to rehabilitate a very old store that the winery founder took to Brussel’s World Fair in 1910 and had been disassembled ever since. This new pavilion was designed to contain the old pavilion which is now inside. Read more here.
2. Château Cheval Blanc
Location: Saint-Émilion (France)
Architect: Christian de Portzamparc
Description: In this vineyard shaped by man over the centuries, the architect envisioned a winery shaped like a belvedere projecting out from the château and opening onto the beautiful landscape. The barrel winery below is like a crypt and has a totally different atmosphere, bordered by a brick moucharaby wall to facilitate natural ventilation. Read more here.
3. Cantina Antinori Winery
Location: Florence (Italy)
Architect: Archea Associati
Description: The site is surrounded by the unique hills of Chianti, covered with vineyards, half-way between Florence and Siena. The building concept pursues, through architecture, the enhancement of the landscape and the surroundings as expression of the cultural and social valence of the place where wine is produced. Read more here.
4. Marques de Riscal Winery
Location: La Rioja (Spain)
Architect: Frank Gehry
Description: Traditionally the wineries in the region are not open to the public, but as a component of an overall plan to redefine and invigorate its public image, Marques de Riscal commissioned the design of a small building intended to provide a unique experience for visitors to the winery. The building is a series of rectilinear elements, clad in sandstone, combined with sweeping panels of gold and pink titanium, and mirror finish stainless steel. Read more here.
5. Winery Nals-Margreid
Location: Bolzano (Italy)
Architect: Markus Scherer
Description: Over the years, the winery grew into a random pattern building-agglomerate. The desire to merge the two places of production “Margreid” and “Nals” and to expand the wine production in Nals required an advance in the capacities considering the oenological sophisticated processing of the grapes. The new arrangement of the functions was put into practice through the realization of a new head end structure for the delivery and cellaring of the grapes with an adjoining vinification tower, a large new underground cellar, as well as a new barrel cellar into the court and a spanning far cantilevering roof panel. Read more here.
Location: Valladolid (Spain)
Architect: Richard Rogers
Description: Protos’ new facilities consist of a new winery and headquarters for social and managerial representation. The building, answering to the critical special and environmental conditions necessary for the elaboration of the wine, is representative of Protos’ brand and joins Peñafiel’s surroundings, providing solutions that minimize the consumption of the energy necessary to maintain optimal conditions. Energy saving is not only important, but inherent to its design. Read more here.
7. Loimer Winery
Location: Langenlois (Austria)
Architect: Andreas Burghardt
Description: The Loimer winery was erected in 2000 over the former Schlosskeller Haindorf (the Haindorf castle cellar) from the 18th century. And in 2009, the expansion continued with a new vinification cellar. The contemporary building was awarded the Österreichische Bauherrnpreis in 2002. The new cellar, which features three levels, allows for processing without pumps and provides ideal maturation conditions underground. Read more here.
8. Ysios Winery
Location: Álava (Spain)
Architect: Santiago Calatrava
Description: The Bodegas and Bebidas Group wanted a building that would be an icon for its prestigeous new wine ‘la Rioja Alavesa’ and at the same time accomodate the precise and rigorous program of spaces needed to brew, store and sell wine. Named after the two Egyptian gods, Isis and Osiris, the winery is a ruled surface wave, which combines concave and convex surfaces as it evolves along the longitudinal axis. Read more here.
9. Rocca di Frassinello
Location: Gavorrano, (Italy)
Architect: Renzo Piano
Description: Situated on a hill in Tuscany surrounded by vineyards, the La Rocca winery revisits traditional forms of Tuscan architecture within a modern, industrial-inspired structure. The scheme is essentially composed of an open piazza, a glass pavilion and a cellar, which is the heart of the project. The scarlet tower that tops the building and that can be seen from miles around supports three circular mirrors that direct light down into the cellar. Read more here.
10. Darien Winery
Location: La Rioja (Spain)
Architect: Jesús Mariano Pascual
Description: The formal composition is a reflection of the region’s landscape which is formed by small vineyards, slopes and embankments. The building represents stones which overlay and twist on each other. The block positions, are related to the movements and tensions of the land that surrounds the building. This design combines the integration with the delicate landscape, practical functionality, sustainable energy resources and the latest winemaking technology. Read more here.
11. Petra Winery
Location: Suvereto (Italy)
Architect: Mario Botta
Description: Southern Tuscany is home to a handful of wineries, which are often described as wine cathedrals. The Petra vineyard is an interesting example of this new approach in winery architecture. At Petra Botta went beyond designing an impressive wine cellar, but also included the outlay of the vineyards in his aim to form a contemporary agricultural landscape. Read more here.
12. Waterkloof Winery
Location: Western Cape (South Africa)
Architect: Mitch Hayhow
Description: Waterkloof is a beacon of architectural excellence atop the Schapenberg Hills. The spectacular building design is based around virtues that echo the winemaking style, such as honesty and transparency. There is the absolute minimum of applied finishes rather the natural materials to be expressed, warts and all. Read more here.
13. L’and Vineyards
Location: Montemor-o-novo (Portugal)
Architect: PROMONTORIO + Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan
Description: Inspired on the lime-washed walled patios of the Alentejo, the building was conceived as an hinged prism from which its four corners were cut-off (reception, chill-out, restaurant terrace and industrial), creating areas of shade and intimacy. Topographically, the volume has been carefully positioned to meet the contours of the ground with the least change. Read more here.
14. Bodegas Portia
Location: Ribera del Duero (Spain)
Architect: Foster + Partners
Description: The trefoil plan reflects the principal process stages, with the operational support and visitors facilities strategically located in the center of the building. Two volumes house the ageing processes and are strategically buried into the natural slope of the site taking advantage of the thermal cooling benefits of the earth. Read more here.
15. Viña Real
Location: Ribera del Duero (Spain)
Architect: Philippe Mazières
Description: The Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE), launched the Viña Real brand in the 1920s becoming one of the pioneering wineries in making crianza wines in oak barrels in this area. The Viña Real winery is composed of three buildings. The main one is constructed with red cedar in the form of a fermenting vat. The natural light, the caves dug to store the wine and the leading-edge technology – with the use of gravity, the installation of the first vertical hopper in Spain – define this monumental work. Read more here.
16. Dominus Winery
Location: Napa (United States)
Architect: Herzog & de Meuron
Description: Known for their innovative architectural design, the architects’ approach was to integrate the winery into the landscape, echoing the belief that the vineyard is of utmost importance. Indeed, from a distance, the gabion structure dissolves into the landscape and it has been dubbed by the locals “the stealth winery.” Filled with basalt rocks from the nearby American Canyon, the stainless steel baskets are both an aesthetic and technical choice. Read more here.
17. Bell-lloc Winery
Location: Girona (Spain)
Architect: RCR Arquitectes
Description: To build a warehouse for the private production and consumption of wine in a unique setting, the start of a valley at the foot of the mountain of a protected space, is the engine of the project. In this environment there are constructions of various kinds, including a chapel, where the slope begins. In the road that links them all is a covered stretch, sunken, where the dependencies of the winery hang, buried under the vines, like a comb. Read more here.