In our “Design of wine” series, we’ve looked at great label design, but we’re also shining a light on winery architecture. These 18 wineries house state-of-the-art winemaking facilities and fit in remarkably well with their surroundings. Come join us on a tour across the world to look at some jaw-dropping contemporary winery design.
Herederos del Marqués de Riscal – La Rioja, Spain
Bodegas Ysios – Rioja Alavesa, Spain
Another stunning Spanish winery design is the 2001 Bodegas Ysios in the foothills of the Cantabrian Range. Architect Santiago Calatrava created a long rectangular building, clad on one side with cedar slats to resemble wine barrels on their side. The undulating roof made of aluminum and cedar echoes the surrounding mountains.
L’And Vineyards – Alentejo, Portugal
Lisbon-based architecture firm Promontorio won the assignment to integrate an agricultural business with luxury leisure in the Alentejo region of southern Portugal. The rural area is known for its wine and olive oil production, as well as its white-washed architecture. In 2011, L’And Vineyards opened its doors, designed as a hinged prism with four corners cut off. It is a stark white building contrasted by dark wood accents, housing a winery and luxury hotel. In the surrounding suites, retractable ceilings allow guests to sleep under a starry night.
Antinori nel Chianti Classico – Tuscany, Italy
In 2012, Archea Associati completed the Chianti winery for the historic Tuscan wine company Marchesi Antinori. The winery’s façade almost merges with the hillside, appearing as two horizontal “cuts” in the Tuscan landscape. The most striking feature is a steel spiral staircase that connects the three levels of the building. The winery was constructed entirely from local materials and designed for gravity flow winemaking. It provides the ideal climatic conditions for winemaking, resulting in a low environmental impact.
Rocca di Frassinello – Tuscany, Italy
Rocca di Frassinello, a joint venture between renowned Castellare di Castellina and Domaines Barons de Rothschild-Château Lafite, required an equally prominent winery design, and Renzo Piano was the architect who fit the bill. Centred around a massive, square-shaped excavated barrel room is the functional, partly gravity-flow winery. The roof is a terracotta-paved terrace with a glass pavilion on top, offering a beautiful view over the rolling hills.
Délas Frères – Rhône Valley, France
Inspired by the surrounding terraced vineyards, Carl Fredrik Svenstedt designed a similarly curved winery for Rhône winery Délas Frères. Robots cut slabs of solid stone, which masons expertly put together to create a “stone drapery.” While the manufacturing process was high-tech, the material is not: it is made from locally-sourced limestone, which forms ideal conditions for storing wine. Additionally, gravel from the cutting process was used to pave the garden, tying the newer building in with the existing historic Manor House on-site.
Château Cheval Blanc – Saint-Émilion, France
Château Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux is a château as you would imagine, with turrets and all – and the 2011 addition beautifully complements the historic building. Christian de Portzamparc designed it as two enormous waves of white concrete rising from the earth, with a wild-grass garden planted on its roof. The architect also created glass-shaped concrete vats, each designated for a specific vineyard parcel. The cellar reflects the château’s exceptional attention to detail throughout the winemaking process – and was one of the first certified environmentally-friendly built wineries to boot.
F.X. Pichler – Wachau, Austria
Located in a UNESCO World Heritage area, the F.X. Pichler winery had to be appropriately beautiful. Thomas Tauber designed a building that mimics the nearby Danube river with a curved, wave-like aluminum façade. Furthermore, the glass of the tasting room reflects the vines. The granite walls are sourced locally and echo the surrounding mountains, while the main internal wall is composed of rocks gathered from the vineyards.
Weingut Schmidt – Bodensee, Germany
Often, vineyard layouts inspire architects, as is the case with Weingut Schmidt. The architect Elmar Ludescher designed it against a hill and used the height difference for easy access to the wine cellar at the bottom and a beautiful view of the vineyards at the top. Two stairways lead to the wine tasting room in the attic, where the glass façade is protected from the sun by a filter made of wooden slats. The building adopts the traditional silhouette of regional farmhouses, but the vertical slats give it a more modern, minimalist feel.
Lahofer Winery – Czech Republic
Lahofer Winery is situated amid the scenic South Moravian countryside scattered with vineyards. CHYBIK + KRISTOF designed a wave-shaped, walkable roof that functions as an amphitheatre for cultural and wine-themed events. With its exposed arches, the interior reflects the typical local architecture but with a distinctly contemporary feel. Two horizontal buildings form the winery, resulting in a less bulky appearance in the landscape.
Kunjani Wines – Stellenbosch, South Africa
Boutique winery Kunjani Wines in the Western Cape adds a modern twist to the historic Cape Dutch architecture of the region. Designed with gables and an “H”-shaped floorplan, the exterior is anthracite-coloured rather than the traditional white. The façade is marked with bright red sliding screens cut out with geometrical patterns similar to those on West-African mud huts. The interior, designed by Haldane Martin, is similarly flamboyant, with a laser-cut staircase and bright graphics on the wall.
Aperture Cellars – Healdsburg, California
Jesse Katz is a young winemaker whose unique vision of winemaking comes back in his winery design. Aperture Cellars is located just outside of Healdsburg, overlooking the Sonoma Mountains. Local firm Signum designed a large production facility clad in darkened metal. It has separate elements reaching skywards, forming a dramatic silhouette. Inspired by the concept of a camera aperture, the hospitality building has a large skylight that allows for dramatic differences in light fall. Its bright white interior juxtaposes the dark exterior and is perfect for the photos of the winemaker’s father, renowned photographer Andy Katz.
Sokol Blosser – Dundee Hills, Oregon
The Sokol Blosser family is part of the founders of Oregon’s wine industry. For their new tasting room and event space, the family commissioned Allied Works in 2012. The architects began by cutting a series of gardens, terraces and paths into the face of the hill. Three interconnected volumes showcase the landscape and beautiful views of the Yamhill Valley. Inside and out, the building is clad in grooved cedar in a pattern inspired by vineyard rows and the traditional wooden farmhouses of the region. It was also the first winery design to comply with the Living Building Challenge.
Martin’s Lane – Okanagan Valley, Canada
Anthony von Mandl is committed to making the best wines that the Okanagan Valley can offer. His Martin’s Lane is another gravity-flow winery, designed on different levels. Architecture firm Olson Kundig created a dramatic structure of glass, steel and concrete that reflect the roughness of the environment. It is conceived as a fracture, with one side following the steep slope down the hill and the other following the horizon.
Alfa Crux Winery (Formerly O. Fornier) – Mendoza, Argentina
Completed in 2007, Bormida Y Yanzon Architects devised a large concrete, stainless steel and glass structure that rises up on a vast dry plain against an impressive backdrop of the rugged Andes Mountains. Here too, a gravity-flow system makes pumping over the wine unnecessary. The Agostino family acquired the Uco Valley landmark in 2018 and is now known as Alfa Crux Winery – named after the building’s skylight forming a large cross (or “crux”) into the wine cellar.
Zuccardi Winery – Mendoza, Argentina
Inaugurated in 2016, the Zuccardi Winery building in Altamira is a tribute to the mountains that determine the region’s climate and soils. Also called the “Infinite Stone Winery,” it consists of stone-like materials only, from the angular stone walls to the epoxy-free cement tanks in which the wines are made. As a focal point, architects Eugenia Mora, Fernando Raganato and Tom Hughes devised a 10,000-bottle domed cellar around a boulder weighing more than 10 tonnes.
Lapostolle Clos Apalta – Colchagua Valley, Chile
Some say it resembles a barrel, others compare it to a bird’s nest perched on a mountain, but one thing is sure: the winery design for Lapostolle Clos Apalta in Chile’s Colchagua Valley is a stunning sight. This winery is more than meets the eye, however: it took from 1999 to 2005 to become a reality, from the drawing table of Roberto Benavente to excavating its seven floors 35 metres deep into the rock. The levels make it a 100 percent-gravitational winery, designed exclusively for making one wine, the Clos Apalta. The twenty-four wooden beams on the exterior represent the number of months necessary for the production of this iconic wine.
Viña Pérez Cruz – Maipo Valley, Chile
The winery for Viña Pérez Cruz is made entirely of native pine wood. Architect José Cruz Ovalle created three barrel-shaped naves, reflecting the stages of wine production: fermentation, maturation and storage. The exterior arches are slightly curved, giving the project a sinuous movement. These curves also promote air currents which allow an optimal temperature for wine. Evoking Chilean houses with porches and patios that blur the distinction between interior and exterior, the naves are also pierced by open spaces, offering beautiful views of the valley.
While winery design is cool, and wineries are fun to visit, the best part about wine is the yummy stuff that goes into the bottle. Our wine experts taste hundreds of bottles each month to bring members a selection of great wines from across the globe. Join us, and we’ll explore the world of wine together!