Europe has long been a place of pilgrimage for lovers of both art and wine, so it should come as no surprise that the two are often connected. Today’s cultural landscape remains celebrated, with several wineries boasting art collections that can be traced back for centuries. Not to be overlooked, New World venues, too, offer opportunities to engage aesthetic sensibilities across a range of mediums.
A fixture of Italian wine culture, Marchesi Antinori evolved in tandem with some of the greatest artistic achievements of the Renaissance, starting in the 1300s. That heritage is now reflected in an extensive collection of art that lines the walls of its estates.
The best place to drink it all in is its newest winery, Antinori nel Chianti Classico, where pieces from antiquity are displayed alongside modern, site-specific installations. It’s part of the family’s Antinori Art Project, an organization committed to research and sponsorship of contemporary exhibitions.
La Rioja, Spain
Encompassing more than 40,000 square feet and exceeding 6,000 pieces, the Museum of Wine Culture at Spain’s Vivanco winery is an aesthetic and scholastic marvel. Throughout, modern, temporary installations and works by legends like Picasso, Dali and Miró are closely curated to illustrate the history of the beverage.
Wine-hued photos line one room where art explores the experience of tasting, paintings of grape harvests and carvings of Bacchanals are displayed in another, and ancient amphorae, wineskins and a variety of grape presses are exhibited elsewhere. An onsite Documentation Center rounds out the collection, cataloging portrayals of wine across media platforms.
d’Arenberg, McLaren Vale
Towering over Australia’s McLaren Vale region is the recently opened d’Arenberg Cube. Part tasting room, restaurant and interactive art museum, the one-of-a-kind, five-story glass and steel building is modeled after a Rubik’s Cube.
Inside, visitors will find such features as a bar made of grapevines covered in glass, a 3-D holographic light display and a soundscape that interprets the vineyard’s weather. Though the mélange of it all exudes a Willy Wonka-like vibe, the multisensory experience is very much meant to educate guests about wine.
Spier Wine Farm
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Family-run Spier Wine Farm is one of South Africa’s oldest continuously operating vineyards. Today, however, the dynamic estate equally embraces its cultural roots, showcasing one of the largest collections of contemporary South African works and forging connections with area artists.
Local-made pieces, ranging from stone sculptures and beadwork to recycled glass chandeliers and objects woven from newspaper, are exhibited throughout the farm’s mix of modern and restored buildings, while a master mosaic and ceramic studio and satellite art academy focus on employment-based training.
Hauser & Wirth Somerset
The founders of the Hauser & Wirth gallery were drawn to nature at Durslade Farm in Somerset. Here, a closely manicured garden unspools into an extensive gallery of traditional sculptures and paintings, abstracts and floor-to-ceiling installations.
This venue highlights ecological engagement, hosting educational programing, committing to green initiatives and showcasing ethically sourced ingredients in its restaurant, Roth Bar & Grill. In 2015, winemaking became part of the big-picture plans as well when Bacchus, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes were planted. The first harvest took place last year, and the firm hopes to produce wines onsite soon.
The Golden State’s wine country isn’t just about gazing at grapevines. Here are a handful of top-tier estates featuring equally excellent art collections to check out.