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Wine and Architecture

catena.JPGWine and architecture have a long history together. If architecture is frozen music, then wine is liquid weather. Each transmutes something into a whole greater than the sum of its parts. But beyond this metaphorical kinship, wine has often inspired (and funded) the creation of grand architecture. And vice versa.

From the early castles and monasteries to the great estates of the Old World, wineries have long been marked by great edifices. In no small part, this doubtless resulted from the simple realities of economics. Those who could afford to own the land, hire the workers, and produce the wine also had the money to build themselves something grand, and often the class affiliations that all but required it.

Not much has changed about those economics these days, and wineries continue to be excuses for grand exercises of architectural aesthetics and vision in both the New World and the old. From Catena Zapata in Argentina (shown in the photo above) to the brand new HALL winery designed by Frank Gehry that is currently under construction in Napa, wine tasting in certain places has become as much an architectural experience as an organoleptic one.

The blog Design Craft recently featured a list of Top Ten Architectural Wonders of the Wine World, that highlights some of these endeavors with some very nice photos. I don't necessarily agree with the list. There are a lot of wineries missing, and some that don't belong there, but some of the ones featured are definitely quite exquisite. I've visited several of them myself.

In terms of additions to the list, certainly Catena Zapata belongs on there. I'd add Scott Johnson's Opus One winery in Napa, Santiago Calatrava's Bodega Ysios in Rioja, and Stephen Hall's Loisium winery in Austria, just for starters.

What architectural wonders would you add?

Comments (10)

Alfonso wrote:
05.16.09 at 6:54 AM

Visited Petra last year. Sci-Fi all the way. Great place and people. (Wines aren't too bad either)

cpratt wrote:
05.16.09 at 7:40 AM

Quixote winery in Napa for sure.

Jim wrote:
05.16.09 at 2:02 PM

Mr Johnson also designed Byron.

Michele Jacob wrote:
05.17.09 at 11:54 AM

Quintessa is also very beautifully designed....I have heard Jarvis winery...is also inspirational, but I have not been....great article...as I love wine, and study architecture...

Sondra wrote:
05.17.09 at 7:04 PM

I would add Darious - an amazing Persian palace. Beautiful inside and out. Plus the wines are tasty. I enjoyed their first pinot noir when I was there. Very good. Of course, the grapes were from the Russian River Valley not Napa.

Dylan wrote:
05.18.09 at 5:47 AM

Alder, thanks for the article. What I find interesting is how the images are very reminiscent of the kind of architecture I've seen in mock-ups for vertical farming models. Vineyard life being what it is, it makes perfect sense that architects would strike a balance between the modernized design and the natural elements which support it (environmentally and financially).

Laura Catena wrote:
05.18.09 at 8:49 AM

Dear Alder, I am so touched that you wrote about our Pyramid at Catena Zapata. It is a truly mystical place for me, a place that celebrates the beauty of the Andes and Mendoza. Thank you for including us in your blog. Laura.

Georgia wrote:
05.18.09 at 10:41 AM

Alder have you seen http://tinyurl.com/ps2y2e (Chron, Apr. 26, 2009)?

Yayla wrote:
05.24.09 at 2:25 PM

A must see Herederos del Marqués de Riscal in Elciego, (Alava) Spain


Siddhesh Warerkar wrote:
02.19.13 at 11:07 PM

I have taken thesis on Winery and Architecture .
And I have my final Ppt in mid April .
If some suggestions to add something new please let me know.
Thank you .

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