For years now, the “wine scene” here has not just been about its outstanding products, but also about how they are presented! Sabine has taken a closer look at the architectural side of South Tyrol’s wineries.
A “shining cube that seems to grow majestically out of the hillside” – this is how the Cantina Bolzano describes its magnificent structure, located at the gates of the capital of South Tyrol: a prime example of how the region and its wine culture can now be seen as rather more holistic. Something has been stirring on the South Tyrolean “wine scene”, especially in recent years: it is no longer just a question of the excellent products that can be tasted all the way from the Brenner Pass down to Salurn, but also about how estates – and above all wineries – present themselves! Since the opening of the “shining cube” last year (if not before) I too have been curious to know more, so today I am taking a closer look at the architectural side of the local wineries.
The magic of wine
The people of Tramin are famous for – what else – the best Gewürztraminer wine! :) And because this special drink deserves a very special ambience, a palace of glass and steel has been erected in its honour! In 2010 architect Werner Tschöll gave the former Tramin winery an impressive new look with an extension. Although the new winery building took some people a while to get used to, it has since become a showpiece in their minds. No wonder, as it is certainly an eye-catcher: a glass cube embedded in the vineyard, artfully encased in a green steel structure modelled on the shoots of the vines.
…here the name of Werner Tschöll crops up again! The architect also applied his creative talent to the Meran Winery in Marling! :) The same question also arose here a few years ago: the existing winery no longer met aesthetic requirements and was above all too small! The favourable gradient of the building’s location permitted Tschöll to create additional basement space, but the main attraction is undoubtedly the all-round glazed floor above. This contains offices, a wine shop and an events room – perfect for the wines of the Burggräfler and Meran areas, all of which are created here under one roof in the new structure, which dates from 2014 and offers two major advantages: its glass façade makes it light and unobtrusive, while simultaneously offering breathtaking views over the Etsch Valley below! :)
A little further south, the beautiful village of Nals has since 2011 offered an unusual yet impressive home for the high-quality white wines and other fine products of the surrounding area: architect Markus Scherer expanded the existing winery building using only local materials: oak, porphyry and fair-faced concrete. The newly designed barrique cellar is atypical as it is located above ground, allowing the curious to take a look at the Nals wines as they age: on the sides of the oak building, which all day face away from the sun, there are windows through which the “treasures of the cellars” can be seen! The building thus offers views inwards and outwards, the latter from the terrace under the artistically designed concrete roof. The new complex expresses everything represented by the Nals Margreid Winery: naturalness, openness, tradition and innovation, expressiveness and aesthetics.
The Pfitscher Winery stands out among my top five: first because it is a family business, and second because it is the first winery in Italy to receive the “KlimaHaus Wine” quality seal on account of its ecologically sustainable construction method! :) It has a very modest “garb”: using black sheet metal and glass, in 2011 the surveyor German Gabalin unobtrusively managed to integrate the new building into the surrounding vineyards. Here it is nature, the landscape and of course the wine that take centre stage. And, while the cellar is laid out underground in different colour designs, the tasting room is located above with a huge glazed frontage and spectacular views of the Unterland region and its mountainous backdrop.
… and thus we come full circle with the Cantina Bolzano and its “luminous cube”: the new winery building was erected under the direction of architectural duo Dell’Agnolo and Kelderer and is, so to speak, the “baby” of the South Tyrolean wineries – it is after all the region’s most recent winery building. This of course only relates to the structure, completed in 2018, as the Cantina Bolzano goes all the way back to the year 1908! The production areas are located underground, beneath the vineyard slopes and below the steep porphyry rock faces. The administration building out front with the wine shop, an eye-catching cube-shaped unit with its glass façade and semi-transparent, stylised vine leaves, fits into the landscape despite its size – and at night glows in a range of colours! :) The Cantina Bolzano also boasts a “KlimaHaus Wine” designation.
Fine wines – fine buildings!
So we can no longer speak of dusty old wine cellars here in South Tyrol: there is instead a new trend dominating the South Tyrolean wineries, one that creates an aesthetically intelligent link between modernity and tradition, while in some cases also showing a high degree of sustainability.
In any case, I find this new presentation of the winemaking houses to be very bold and, above all, noble! A worthy crown for our farmers, wine growers, wine experts, wine makers, oenologists and all those who dedicate themselves to wine with passion, ambition and effort! :)
Perhaps you too have got a taste – not just for the wines ;) – but also for a visit these architecturally stunning wineries? Then don’t delay – it’s definitely worthwhile!
With heartfelt greetings from Sabine! :)