Architectural Wine-World Wonders
Beyond punching grapes, these stunning vineyards push the design envelope.
Surely there’s an art to making wine—so why shouldn’t wine be made in artful settings around the world? From Frank Gehry’s marvelous, metallic Marqués de Riscal winery hotel in Spain to the pastoral-chic buildings of the fairy tale-like Craggy Range Vineyards in New Zealand, these 10 aesthetically stunning winery sites are places where sipping comes second for the architecture buff.
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Te Mata Peak in the heart of the Hawke's Bay region, views from this New Zealand winery are hard to surpass—perhaps explaining why the architecture of Craggy Range complements rather than distracts from the natural vistas.
“The winery was aesthetically inspired by the practical farming architecture of New Zealand and the glamour of Bordeaux,” says Terry Peabody, owner and founder. “Along with architect John Blair and designer Pamela Brown, we have created something very special with locally sourced natural materials, circular and barn-like forms.”
The vineyard alsooffers a restaurant, Terrôir, cellar door and vineyard cottage accommodations for overnight visitors who want to soak in the views while tasting top wines.
Mediterranean sensibilities meet cutting-edge design at this Portuguese winery in the Alentejo region, offering an equally innovative concept to boot: L’AND is used space for permanent residents, hotel guests and vineyard workers alike.
“When I started the L’AND project, I strongly felt that the construction of a wine resort could be an amazing way to ‘collaborate with nature’ as Marguerite Yourcenar once said,” says José Cunhal Sendim, CEO. “I dreamt to build a contemporary resort integrated in to the natural landscape with a unique atmosphere.”
Helping Sendim achieve his vision, five international architects collaborated on the property’s stark white buildings and 10 “sky-view” suites, which boast retractable ceilings, showing off the area’s famous starry skies.
Stunningly modern, this Okanagan Valley winery was built in just five months, envisioned by Nick Bevanda of CEI Architecture, in the Osoyoos area, a northern extension of the Sonoran desert—yes, there is desert in Canada.
“Both the winery and wine experience center use extensive concrete, glass and steel beams which enable us to have strong, energy-efficient buildings with high ceilings,” says Glenn Fawcett, president of Black Hills Estate Winery. “Our goal was to showcase our panoramic terroir and to enable our visitors to feel they were literally immersed in our vineyards while tasting our wine.”
The sleek design was so arresting, it won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for architectural excellence in 2008—the only winery in Western Canada to receive the award.
Situated in South Africa’s scenic Stellenbosch region, this winery has a storied past that can be traced back to 1679—though the estate has a markedly modern feel, updated by French architect Pierre Bories to stylish effect. The 100-acre property has thatched roofs, plaster walls and gorgeous views on display from every room, along with artful touches brought in by British designer David Collins, such as furniture created by local artisans and copper-topped tables.
“The location of the Delaire Graff Estate is truly breathtaking,” says Owner Laurence Graff. “I knew as soon as I saw it that there was an opportunity to create a truly upscale vineyard that produced excellent wines and an exceptional experience.”
Sculptures around the property add to the design-forward feel, including pieces by Deborah Bell and Anton Smit.
Argentinean architects Eliana Bormida and Mario Yanzón created a dramatically modern structure of reinforced concrete, glass and stainless steel, framed by the distant, imposing Andes Mountains—a design that seems to echo the winery’s gravity-driven winemaking process. Here, form truly meets function: The striking metallic roof doubles as the spot where grapes are crushed, sending juice into fermentation tanks without the use of pumps, and the semi-underground cube-like structure connects the cellar to the restaurant facilities.
“We wanted to incorporate aesthetic beauty with functionality,” says José Manuel Ortega, founder of O. Fournier. “We took the risk with the modern design of having people who would hate it but on the other hand, have people who absolutely adore it.”
Built in 2003 on top of a former fine-wool sheep station, this winery has won awards for its industrial-chic design, boasting eye-catching architecture meant to evoke a bird in flight. The dramatically sloped roof seems to soar above the landscape—fitting for a winery committed to working with the Wingspan Trust, a nonprofit that aids New Zealand’s endangered birds, like the Swamp Harrier and Mohua.
“The winery honors the Peregrine falcon,” says Lindsay McLachlan, managing director and owner, “with the roof profile based on the exact rotation of flight of the Peregrine wing in motion. This brings a natural, timeless simplicity to the winery and creates a serene environment for us to craft wines that truly reflect the purity and beauty of Central Otago.”
Visitors to Catena Zapata in Mendoza, Argentina might think they’ve been transported to Tikal, the ancient Mayan pyramid in Guatemala—but this impressive architectural feat is actually a temple, of sorts, to wine, producing some of Argentina’s most well-known Malbecs, with state-of-the-art equipment. The massive three-level adobe-like structure—which debuted to the public in 2001—serves as a functioning winery that also offers tours and tastings, featuring stone flooring and walls and a 20-meter rosewood table made from a single tree from the Misssiones region.
London-based architect Zaha Hadid created a compellingly modern structure for López de Heredia, one of Spain’s most historic wineries, which was previously comprised mostly of 19th-century brick buildings. Hadid’s stainless steel tasting room annex and her avant-garde pavilion have been likened by some to a series of nesting dolls: Resting under a glass canopy suspended from large steel beams, the new pavilion was commissioned to house an older winery structure, a carved wooden display stand from the 1910 Brussels Worlds Fair. Countless design geeks have likened the building’s unique shape to that of a stylized wine decanter. Intentional or not, the structure is as striking as the Rioja wines on offer in the shop.
Part of a plan to modernize the Marqués de Riscal winery, which has buildings dating back to the mid 1800s, Frank Gehry and partners were commissioned, ultimately delivering a beautiful boutique hotel project that grew to 27,000 square feet of space (including 43 guest rooms, a spa and restaurant). It’s most notable feature? Ribbons of gold and pink titanium and stainless steel undulating off of the structure’s roof, thought to evoke the company’s bottles.
“Marqués de Riscal has fused the concepts of tradition and avant-gardism, resulting in the perfect integration between its historic wine cellars and the new building designed by [Gehry],” says Alejandro Aznar, chairman of Marqués de Riscal.
The interiors are equally striking: Many rooms in the hotel feature wood-framed floor-to-ceiling windows taking in the region’s spectacular views.
An icon in Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi Winery is instantly recognizable by its mission-style architecture, bell tower and expansive archway, designed by Cliff May.
“When the time came to build [the winery], Mr. Mondavi told Cliff May that he wanted the building to declare ‘here is a heart and soul, a place that is not a factory, but a home with real character and feeling’,” says Genevieve Janssens, director of winemaking. “The warm, earth-toned arms of the building soon embraced visitors for wine tastings, tours and cultural programs—common activities at many wineries today but a radical idea at the time.”
June 18, 2013 marks Mondavi’s 100th birthday, a benchmark year for the brand and the winery so well known, it’s practically a landmark.