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7 wonders of wine architecture in Spain
We review some of the most representative wineries from an architectural point of view
The relationship between the world of architecture and the world of wine has grown closer in recent decades. Many Spanish wineries have understood that it is possible to create more sustainable winemaking spaces, respectful of the environment and, at the same time, aesthetically beautiful, thus building very attractive buildings for wine tourism. Today we gather just a few examples of the architecture that is being built in the world of wine, some of them respecting the traditional image of the winery and, in other cases, building modern and avant-garde temples of wine.
1. Bodegas Baigorri (Samaniego, Álava)
Architect: Iñaki Aspiazu
This is a good example of modern, functional design, adapted to the shape of the terrain. Designed by the architect Iñaki Aspiazu, the winery develops its entire structure below the surface, thus favoring that the entire winemaking process is carried out by gravity in order to preserve the integrity of the grapes as much as possible so that they can reach fermentation in one piece. There is no reception hopper and no pumps are used to transfer the grapes or to pump over the tanks.
The wine tourist enjoys a privileged view of the vineyard from the main building and can contemplate throughout his visit to the winery how the entire winemaking process takes place.
2. Bodegas Marqués de Terán (Ollauri, La Rioja)
Architect: Javier Arizcuren
The architectural concept of Bodegas Marqués de Terán, designed by Javier Arizcuren, is that the winemaking process takes place vertically. The winery is half buried in the mountains of the municipality of Ollauri (Rioja Alta), emulating the traditional construction of the centuries-old wineries in the area. The facilities are accessed through a path that crosses the vineyard until reaching the upper part, where the modern barrique cellars and offices are located, with viewpoints that allow the visitor to contemplate the vineyard landscape of the municipality.
Marqués de Terán was also a pioneer in Europe in the use of geothermal energy as a source of energy for the production of its wines.
3. Bodegas Portia (Gumiel de Izán, Burgos)
Architect: Norman Foster (Foster & Partners)
According to the architectural firm Foster & Partners, responsible for the Bodegas Portia project, the building of this construction located in the heart of Ribera del Duero represents "the heart of a flower with three petals". This "flower" or three-pointed star has also become the symbol of the winery, which appears on the label of all its wines. Steel, wood, concrete and glass are the materials used for this impressive project, where functionality meets the most avant-garde design.
4. Bodegas Protos (Peñafiel, Valladolid)
Architects: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Alonso Balaguer y Arquitectos Asociados
Located in the emblematic town of Peñafiel at the foot of its famous castle, Bodegas Protos aims to be a modern reinterpretation of the traditional winemaking constructions of the area. The base of the building recovers the structure of cellars dug into the ground, differentiating two levels: the cellar level for the conservation of the wine, completely buried, and the winemaking level, semi-buried to a height of 4.5 meters. The most striking visual element from the outside is its roof, composed of five vaulted bays facing the Castle, offering a privileged view to the visitor.
5. Bodegas Ysios (La Guardia, Álava)
Architect: Santiago Calatrava
Built on a surface of 8000 square meters, the building of Bodegas Ysios is based on two reinforced concrete walls, covered on the outside by vertical wooden slats with which the famous architect Santiago Calatrava seeks to achieve, through its reflection in the ponds, the image of large barrels. The most significant element is the roof of the winery, made of natural aluminum and combining concave and convex surfaces. The pond outside the winery is intended to recall the construction on the banks of the Nile of the temples dedicated to the great gods of ancient Egypt, since the name Ysios evokes the myth of the great mother goddess, Isis, protector of nature.
6. Herederos del Marqués de Riscal – Winery and hotel (Elciego, Álava)
Architect: Frank O. Gehry
Framed in what is known as the Wine City of Marqués de Riscal (Elciego, Álava), there are two very interesting architectural constructions, the original winery and the Hotel Marqués de Riscal. The first one was built in 1860 and holds the Botellería de vinos antiguos, also called “La Catedral” (The Cathedral). One of the most iconic buildings is the first extension of the winery, Bordeaux style (1883) and known as ”El Palomar”, where today the winery's premium wines are produced. But undoubtedly one of the most spectacular elements of the complex is the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, designed by architect Frank O. Gehry, author of such important projects as the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, work of which the façade of the hotel is clearly reminiscent of with its striking titanium sheet roof.
7. Propiedad de Arínzano (Aberín, Navarra)
Architect: Rafael Moneo
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rafael Moneo, the winery is a unit that envelops the three buildings on the estate: the 16th-century Torre Cabo de Armerías, the 18th-century Casona, and the early 19th-century church dedicated to San Martín de Tours. A large archway welcomes visitors to the estate, who once inside can enjoy a complete enotouristic experience including accommodation. Inside the winemaking cellar the facilities try to combine technology and a traditional craftsmanship of the wine.
Wine tourism is an attractive alternative for visitors and a profitable alternative for wineries.