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The cathedrals of Italian wine

Eight photos for as many signature architectural works, the heart of some of the best wineries

Lunelli’s Tenuta Castelbuono in Bevagna (Perugi

Lunelli’s Tenuta Castelbuono in Bevagna (Perugia)

For a few decades now, wineries are no longer places solely used to produce and store wine. More and more often they’re transformed into complex architectural works that aim at identifying and communicating the wines produced inside and the territory characterising them. They thus become iconic emblems in which converge creativity and talent, functionality and usability, aesthetics and design, technological innovation and respect for the environment. Eight of the most beautiful wineries in Italy were depicted in a photographic exhibition at Modulnova in Milan. A tribute to their uniqueness.

Tenuta Castelbuono – Lunelli
Bevagna, Perugia, Umbria
Author: Arnaldo Pomodoro - 2012
The project results form a study of the area, aiming for a perfect interaction with the surrounding environment, together with the need to create a winery that would be like a treasure chest for the wine it contained. The outcome is a unique work, whose shape recalls the shell of a tortoise, an emblem of longevity and solidity. The architectural work is completed by an element in the shape of an arrow which, plunged into the earth, directs those looking for the building. Entering the "Carapace” means entering a sculpture by Pomodoro, who said: «For the first time I had the thrilling experience of walking, speaking and drinking inside one of my works».

Ammiraglia - Frescobaldi
Magliano in Toscana, Grosseto, Toscana
Architects: Piero Sartogo e Nathalie Grenon - 2011
The cellar, over 3,500 square metres wide, faces south. It is developed along a main axis and created with a mix of steel pillars and a roof of laminated wood. It perfectly fits and is almost hidden among the vineyards and soft hills of Tuscan Maremma. The main feature is the roof-garden in the shape of a seagull’s wing, the head of which is wrapped in sheets of zinc. Here they placed the earth excavated from the foundations, which protects the vinification and ageing cellars below and controls the temperature naturally. The site, moreover, includes tasting rooms, a point of sale and a conference room with guest house.

Cantina Antinori in Chianti Classico
Località Bargino, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Florence, Tuscany
Architect: Marco Casamonti (Studio Archea Associati) - 2012
Located between Florence and Siena, this winery was born with the aim of uniting nature and buildings through a work that is both innovative and respectful of the landscape, historic and cultural context. The outdoor area – the building follows the natural slope of a hill – is characterised by a façade covered with vines, while indoor it focuses on enhancing traditional and ancient materials such as cotto tiles, pietra serena and marble. The project, though keeping a focus on grapes and wines, is a response to the growing demand of wine and food tourism and has various specific areas, such as the orciaia, the vinsantaia, the restaurant, auditorium, the museum and bookshop, the hanging tasting areas and the store.

Cantina Tramin
Termeno sulla Strada del Vino, Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige
Architect: Werner Tscholl - 2010
Vines are the main source of inspiration for the current headquarters, opened in 2010, of the winery established in 1898 by the then parish priest and member of parliament in Vienna, Christian Schrott. The result is a building, or rather a sculpture, with a very strong visual impact – thanks to the wise use of colours and different materials such as steel, glass, wood and cement, with a play of transparencies and opacities - that creates a contrast with the surrounding landscape making it unique and recognisable. It’s a winery with a very strong style but extremely functional too, marked by the ecosystem and with a wine shop and tasting areas overlooking the magnificent vineyards surrounding the building.

Feudi di San Gregorio
Sorbo Serpico, Avellino, Campania
Architect: Studio ZitoMori - 2004
Rigorous lines and a strong presence of natural materials in the building: these are the main features of one of the first Italian wineries to match wine and fine architecture, so much so it was exhibited two times at the Venice Biennale. A project with a minimal environmental impact, both innovative and respectful of Irpinia’s winegrowing tradition. Inside, it is developed on two levels: underground, there’s the area for wine making, the barrel cellar, the hanging tasting area, the historic cellar and an artisanal permanent nativity scene. Above we have offices, library, shop and restaurant Marennà.

Petra - Terra Moretti
Suvereto, Livorno, Toscana
Architect: Mario Botta - 2003
A majestic winery, surrounded and immersed in nature and the vineyards on the hills of Piombino. The complex plan spreads over 7,200 square metres. The central cylinder-shaped building, covered in Prun stones and cut following the slope of the hill at the back, is characterised by the staircase and the planted round crown, as well as the two long porticoes inspired by “barchesse”, Italian countryside villas. On the ground floor, a long gallery starts with the modern pressing area, continues with a room with steel tanks and two barrel cellars, and finishes with the rocky wall in the heart of the hill, which marks the ideal union of man and earth.

Rocca di Frassinello
Gavorrano, Grosseto, Tuscany
Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop - 2007
A building fluctuating in space and time, the result of Renzo Piano’s genius. Here he signs his first, and only winery project for now. Born with the desire of replicating the excellent model of Castellare in Castellina and the result of a French-Italian joint-venture between Castellare and Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Château Lafite), the building is conceived so as to have essential shapes but also enhance usability. Contrary to the common practice of organising the winery following the wine making process, from the area where grapes are collected to the ageing and storage spaces, here Piano imposed the barrel-room, excavated in the rocks, and containing 2000 barriques, as the heart of the project.

Vite Colte - Terre da Vino
Barolo, Cuneo, Piedmont
Architect: Gianni Arnaudo - 2000
A contemporary building opened in 2000 and enlarged in 2010. It has slightly curved lines, sheets of copper and elements of laminated wood and glass which recall, making them current, the rural architecture of Langhe, Roero and Monferrato, where the circa 2500 members of the winery are based. All the spaces, among which the barrel-room with over 3,000 barriques stands out, are linked via an elevated gangway in steel, wood and crystal, which doesn’t interfere with the works allowing to observe all the process and the wine making areas.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

In cantina

Stories of men, women and bottles that enrich the galaxy of wine, in Italy and in the world


Luca Torretta

Born in 1974, a graduate in Civil Engineering with an innate passion for cocktails, spirits and wines, he’s never tired of discovering, learning and tasting. Instagram luca.torretta

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