Wine and architecture: a tour of the world's wineries
For some time now, a new niche tourism market has been consolidating, wine tourism, which has the advantage of being complementary to others such as culture, gastronomy and leisure. Often they even merge with each other.
Because the world of wine no longer attracts visitors just for the tastings; it is now an integral experience that usually goes hand in hand with the discovery of the winemaking process, which necessarily involves a visit to the corresponding wineries. And these wineries have added an extra attraction: their architecture, often designed by leading professionals in their field. Let's take a look at a selection of the most attractive wineries, not only in Spain -a privileged place in this respect- but all over the world.
1. Dominus State (Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron)
The idea of integrating facilities into their surroundings is a common one among architects, and a good example is what the Swiss architects Herzog & Meuron did in 1997 with this Californian winery, which won them the prestigious Pritzker Prize. The architects of the Allianz Stadium in Munich and the Bird's Nest in Beijing conceived this discreet - in a good way - concrete building enveloped by basalt-filled gabions that insulate from the heat and cold.
2. Château Lafitte-Rothschild (Ricardo Bofill)
A Spanish architect was commissioned to build the headquarters of this winery in Pauillac (Bordeaux), whose vineyards extend over a square kilometre around the château that gives it its name. Playing with the idea of complementing the château, Bofill gave the winery the appearance of a Vauban fortification, with an octagonal floor plan within a quadrangular concrete perimeter; the spaces between
Both are auxiliary and the interior of the cellar is structured around a central columned point.
3. Vivanco Wine Culture (Jesús Marino Pascual)
So far we have seen examples of very striking architecture, but there is another that we could define as invisible because it gives priority to functionality over aesthetics, without renouncing the latter but taking on a specific role. This is what happens at Vivanco, where the installations are almost entirely underground, in order to preserve as much of the vineyard as possible and minimise the environmental impact,
and to improve the conditions of conservation. Thus, beauty is, as the aphorism goes, on the inside. However, it also has its charm on the outside because it is home to the "Best Wine Museum in the World" (according to the UNWTO), designed by Jesús Marino Pascual, thus adding another facet to the list that Vivanco offers visitors: guided tours in several languages, tasting courses, event organisation, restaurant, children's workshops...
4. Protos (Richard Rodgers and Alonso Balaguer)
At the foot of the hill that crowns Peñafiel Castle stands one of the best known brands in Ribera de Duero, Protos. It is actually an extension that connects with the old winery via two underground tunnels, although the exterior consists of five vaulted bays that imitate barrels. The design was entrusted to the author of the T4 of the Adolfo Suárez Madrid Barajas Airport and also winner of the Pritzker Prize. In this case, with the collaboration of the Spanish studio Alonso Balaguer.
5. Portia (Norman Forster)
Another top-class architect, winner of the aforementioned Pritzker Prize (as well as the Prince of Asturias Award) and author of the reform of the Reichstag, the Collserola Tower in Barcelona and the London skyscraper 30 St. Mary Axe (aka The Gherkin), was hired to design the new facilities of the burgalesa winery. Thus, on a hill in Gumiel de Izán we can see a building in the shape of a triskel whose central point articulates the rest and each arm is dedicated to a phase of the winemaking process: fermentation, crianza and ageing.
6. Clos Apalta (Roberto Benavente)
Chile is also a wine-producing country, and this wine cellar in Colchagua is the work of the Paris-based Chilean Roberto Benavente (with the collaboration of Amercanda). On the outside, he has given it the appearance of a half-finished barrel, with twenty-four wooden curves representing the wine's maturation period, while on the inside, the barrels are arranged around a tasting table a tasting table under a wooden vault. The building sits on a hillside overlooking the vineyards, pierced over five floors, and includes a hotel.
7. Fifth of Naples (Andreas Burghardt)
Don't let the name mislead you, because this is a Portuguese winery which, at the mouth of the Douro, has built a sort of pyramid of slate (the typical local stone), terraced and covering a hill that seems to emerge among the vineyards that cover the landscape. The Austrian architect opted for a marked minimalism to integrate the complex into its surroundings.
8. Rocca di Frassinello (Renzo Piano)
The prestigious Italian architect, winner of the Pritzker Prize in 1998 for Kansai International Airport and author of such fabulous projects as the Pompidou Centre (with Richard Rodgers) and the Shard London Bridge skyscraper, could not be left out. For this winery in Chianti, he was inspired by traditional Tuscan houses but with an industrial touch. The most spectacular feature in this case is the room at crianza, where two and a half thousand barrels are arranged in a quadrangular shape, with the central part allowing natural light to penetrate from the ceiling, thanks to a system of mirrors.
9. Vik Vineyard (Smiljan Radic Clarke)
Another fascinating architectural structure in Chilean winemaking is the Millahue winery, whose design, the work of a Chilean despite its name, combines avant-gardism and sustainability. In a setting surrounded by mountains, he installed a building with a stretchable transparent fabric roof which, together with the glass walls, makes it possible to dispense with artificial light.
However, perhaps the most eye-catching feature is the access, with a sloping water feature that has to be crossed by footpaths.
10. Tío Pepe (Gustav Eiffel)
The headquarters of the veteran Jerez bodega is actually a complex made up of several pavilions, of which the most outstanding is perhaps that of the Real Bodega de la Concha because it is based on plans drawn up by the author of the Parisian Eiffel Tower himself, having been built as early as 1869.
The arches of the Patio de Lepanto may also be familiar, giving the place a vintage feel quite different from the futuristic architecture that wineries seem to be opting for these days.
11. Codorniú (Josep Puig i Cadafalch)
Tradition and avant-garde go hand in hand in San Sadurní d'Anoia, where the Codorniú facilities are located, at the hands of one of the best representatives of modernism, also the author of outstanding corners of Barcelona such as Casa Amatller or Plaça d'Espanya. Using materials so characteristic of the style such as brick, trencadís and glass, in the first decade of the 20th century he provided the cellars with a building that today is listed as a Historic-Artistic Monument.
12. Retuerta Abbey (12th century)
In the Valladolid town of Sardón del Duero, the Abbey of Santa María de Retuerta, a late Romanesque and Gothic premonastic monastery founded in 1146 by one of the daughters of the famous Count Sancho Ansúrez (who in turn founded the city of Valladolid), has stood since medieval times. It has been a Historic-Artistic Monument since 1931, but in 1988 the Novartis Group acquired it with a twofold objective: to recover the winemaking activity once practised by the monks, as a result of which the Abadía Retuerta Winery was born, and to extend the reuse of the building to house a hotel - Le Domaine - especially suitable for the wine tourism lovers we mentioned at the beginning.
13. Kunjani Wines (Haldane Martin)
South Africa is also a wine country and Kunjani Wines is one of its flagship brands. The winery, which is in the Stellenbosch region, tries to represent the transcontinental influences of that land, combining Cape Dutch architecture with an interior that is a clear reference to indigenous huts. It combines the black of the exterior walls with deep red sliding screens and wooden elements in the roof with a glass staircase, all by designer Haldane Martin. The result is very eye-catching and it is logical because it also has a restaurant. Kunjani, by the way, means "Hello, how are you".
14. O'Fournier (Bormida & Yanzon)
South America has two major wine-producing countries. Of one, Chile, we have already seen an example; the other is Argentina, where the headquarters of Bodegas O'Fournier is located on a farm in the department of San Carlos, in the province of Mendoza. (not to be confused with the Spanish O. Fournier, from Ribera del Duero). It is housed in a modern building surrounded by mountains and created by the national studio Bormida & Yanzon, which specialises in winery architecture. In this case, they have used concrete, stainless steel and glass to house not only barrels but also people, as there is a hotel on site.
15. Mission Hill Winery (Olson Kungig)
From one end of the continent to the other. Canada also makes wine, and on a hill in West Kelowa (Okanagan Valley, British Columbia) stands this unique church-like complex - including a 25-metre high bell tower - which architect Tom Kundig designed in 1996 for a winemaker named Anthony von Mandl, who produces Chardonnay. It is on top of a hill and has a sort of cloister that serves as an open foyer. It has a pergola-restaurant with spectacular views.