The winery is surrounded by rows of vines, and it emphasizes a respect for the environment, thoroughly grounded in its location and landscape. Inside, the spaces incorporate natural materials related to wine production, such as raffia, which is used to wrap bottles and protect them during transport. Murals by local artists cover many of the winery’s walls and ceilings, and iconic Gufram furniture—such as the Bocca sofa, the Cactus coatrack, and the Roxanne armchair—furnishes the facility.
From Brescia to Pisa, the architecture housing the wine rivals the beauty surrounding it
Considering Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine, a visit to a few Italian vineyards is a must for anyone taking a trip to the European nation. Spread all across the country, from the Langhe region in the north to Maremma on the Tuscan coast, from the Val d’Orcia’s rolling hills to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, this journey around Italy stops at 25 Italian vineyards perfect for the aesthetically minded—where good drinking meets design at its best. Here, beauty and function, technology and tradition, all are key to creating Italy’s acclaimed wines, produced at facilities that are perfectly integrated with their landscapes. Below, find AD’s most beautifully designed vineyards across Italy.
The winery L’Astemia Pentita in the Barolo area of Piedmont embraces a pop aesthetic. Founded by entrepreneur Sandra Vezza, its two large overlapping volumes rest on the Cannubi hill and look like enormous wine crates stacked one atop the other. The design was conceived by Gianni Arnaudo, who placed the production facilities completely underground.
Entering through what’s known as the Solar Gate, designed by sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, you’re immediately surrounded in a world of art in the green gardens of Ca’ del Bosco. With works by Mimmo Paladino and Igor Mitoraj, the space is not to be missed. The vineyard was founded by Maurizio Zanella and is known for producing some of Italy’s finest Franciacorta, a sparkling wine from Lombardy.
“I prefer sculpture because I studied in Pietrasanta [famous for its bronze and marble workshops] where I met so many interesting characters,” Zanella says. “There is a close relationship between wine, which involves sight, taste, and smell, and sculpture, which affects the eye and involves touch.”
Designed by Westway Architects, the Centro Aziendale Vittorio Emanuele Marzotto di Santa Margherita building measures almost 28,000 square feet and incorporates the existing structures of a 1930s factory into a state-of-the-art, efficient work environment. The load-bearing roof structures of this winery are made of wood, while large floor-to-ceiling windows reveal the winery’s operations to visitors. Sails, covered in titanium zinc, are designed to protect the windows and shield the facility from direct light. A plaza sits between the winemaking cellar and the new bottling line, offering glimpses into all stages of production.
Designed by Mario Botta as a stone cylinder bisected by a flight of steps, Terra Moretti’s Petra is carved into the front of a Maremma hillside. The architect was asked to express the passion of the Italian vineyard’s founder, Vittorio Moretti, in a building. Botta observed the geometric pattern of the winery that contrasts with the undulating terrain and envisioned a single, rational structure sitting above the valley on an elongated plateau surrounded by vines. The cylindrical volume, clad in Prun stone (an Italian limestone), houses the tanks where the wine is produced. A long tunnel running the length of the building ends in front of a rock face, in the heart of the hill.
Started as an open dialogue with the village of Casanova, the Casanova Della Spinetta winery is the first to bring high design to the Pisa area. Designed by Italian Canadian architect Giulietta Roz and built partially underground, this energy efficient building has simple volumes designed to ensure a smooth flow from operations to production, thanks in part to a clever use of light that acts as guiding force. To combine tradition and innovation, natural materials such as wood, terra-cotta, and iron were used in the construction.
Travertine that surfaced during the tilling of the land, now planted with vines, covers the exteriors of the aboveground parts of the buildings. The arched portico is a tribute to the historic Spedale degli Innocenti in Florence and creates a link between inside and outside. The cellar has been conceived as a temple of wine with an exposed reinforced concrete structure. Sails, printed with wine labels, are suspended from the 16-foot-tall ceiling. The roof is entirely planted with olive trees, and the tasting room opens onto terraces that offer front-row views to nature’s spectacular show in every season.
AndStudio’s project for Podere La Chiesa is a work of modern architecture integrated into the natural amphitheater of the Casanova valley in Terre di Pisa. Using reinforced concrete walls pierced by portholes, the firm brings the landscape into the tasting area. The circular perforations create clusters that, from the inside, frame the landscape and make it a central part of the project. Some great Tuscan reds and whites are produced at this architectural beauty.
The Fonterutoli winery, designed by architect Agnese Mazzel, is well loved in Chianti. The estate sits at an elevation ranging from 750 to 1,600 feet and covers an expanse of 1,600 acres, 290 of them vineyards. The winery is located on three floors, allowing the harvested grapes in the forecourt to “descend” through the various stages of the winemaking and maturation process in the most natural way possible, using the force of gravity. The dramatic cellar has an exposed rock wall that encloses the space where as many as 3,500 barrels are kept.
In the heart of Chianti, 300 acres of vineyards have been reborn thanks to the efforts of Monsieur Philippe Austruy. At the Casenuove estate, he has established a cultural project, the Wine of Art, which includes an exhibition space that merges a love of wine with a love of art. Visitors can sample great wines of the region and then, in the same space, admire artwork in a gallery overlooking the hills of Panzano. The space is a natural continuation of the Le Radici dell’Arte project; both are in collaboration with Galleria Continua.
The new winery at Tenuta Vallocaia has an underground, energy-efficient structure in which every detail has been given the same attention that is employed to produce the excellent Nobile, their specialty. Owner Rudi Bindella’s personal collection of art and antiques—fragments of Roman capitals and friezes, terra-cotta pitchers from the 18th and 19th centuries, and bronze bells (in the scenic tasting room)—accompany the wines as they age. Works by artists Christopher Lehmpfuhl, Flora Steiger-Crawford, and Rolf Brem were also commissioned for the estate.
The Fabbrica Pienza winery in Pienza adopts a purist’s approach both when it comes to architecture and the wines it produces. The winery’s designer, Tonie Bertherat (an architect and cofounder of Fabbrica Pienza), envisioned the building as an “absolute” form, constructed with burnt brick, wood, and large glassed spaces, sitting in the grounds of a former factory in Val d’Orcia. Functional and with its operations seamlessly integrated into the network of its vineyards, Fabbrica’s winery is in an ongoing dialogue with the landscape, including nearby Pienza and Mount Amiata which can be seen in the distance.
With its aerodynamic and futuristic design, the Frescobaldi family’s Tenuta Ammiraglia looks like a spaceship that has landed between the folds of the hills. Designed by architects Piero Sartogo and Nathalie Grenon, it appears as a slit about 425 feet long that cuts through the terrain. The winery has a distinctive cantilevered roof and a system of stainless steel and galvanized iron fixtures that overlook the countryside. Another standout feature: The facility uses energy from renewable sources and has a roof covered with plants, which better integrates the building with its landscape and creates the ideal microclimate in the cellar below.
The first and only winery designed by Renzo Piano sits in a natural amphitheater in the Maremma region, between the villages of Giuncarico and Gavorrano. Its centerpiece is a red tower, visible from a distance. Here, winemaking takes place using gravity instead of pumps, which could deteriorate the quality of the grapes. The tower captures sunlight and illuminates, through a system of mirrors, the cellar dug into the rock at a depth of 160 feet, where up to 2,500 barrels rest in darkness.
Above ground, there is the second heart of the project: a modern glass pavilion with satin-finished steel profiles, where tastings, events, exhibitions, conferences, and lunches take place. Outside, an immense 1.2-acre terra-cotta-covered terrace appears like a giant flying carpet. The Rocca di Frassinello winery was created as a joint venture between Castellare di Castellina and Domaines Barons de Rothschild-Château Lafite, two of the most acclaimed wine producers in the world.
Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro is responsible for Carapace, a cellar-as-sculpture located at Tenuta Castelbuono. The wine is produced and sampled under a dome covered in copper and etched with cracks that recall the furrows in the earth. As Pomodoro explained, “The landscape reminded me of Montefeltro where I was born and which is portrayed in paintings by Piero della Francesca. I had the idea to create a shape that evokes a turtle, a symbol of stability and longevity, and its carapace representing the union between earth and sky.”
Hikaru Mori designed the structure for the Feudi di San Gregorio winery in 2001, with its spare lines and striking spaces both inside and in the gardens. It was one of the first designer wineries in Italy and was exhibited twice at the Venice Biennale. The interiors and furnishings were designed by Massimo and Lella Vignelli. In 2011, with the help of Roman gallerist Beatrice Bertini, an art project was also established with the aim of creating a permanent collection including pieces created by artists during workshops in the cellar. The first of these works is Colature by Vedovamazzei.
Like the communal table from which it takes its name, Gavino Sanna’s Cantina Mesa in Sulcis has a convivial and simple spirit. A three-story building set amid 193 acres of vines bears the stylized motifs of Sardinian carpets (the same ones found on the winery’s labels) on its façade, transforming it into a tapestry visible from afar.
Architects Mario Casciu and Francesca Rango expanded the existing Su’entu winery in Sardinia’s Campidano region, adding a new square building with a central courtyard. Rooms around the courtyard are dedicated to making and selling Su’entu wines, and each side houses one of the stages of the production process. The courtyard also offers access to the bottling area and the sales and tasting rooms, where a large window overlooks the surrounding landscape.
Fermentation, on the other hand, takes place in a double-height stone building connected to the rest of the winery by an elevated walkway. A single volume, partially underground, houses the cellar. From the outside the winery looks closed and massive, a cube of stone and white plaster, but the “holes” cut into the façade open onto the magnificent setting.
The island of Pantelleria, between Sicily and Africa, offers views of black lava and blue sea in every direction. You’ll also find Donnafugata a Pantelleria’s Khamma winery, built by Milanese architect Gabriella Giuntoli who has also renovated and converted several of the island’s traditional “dammusi” houses into charming dwellings. The winery has the appearance of a typical Pantelleria building, albeit an updated and innovative version of one. The structure fits harmoniously into the landscape, with its stone walls and the unique terraced bush vine planting that has been recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage site. There is also a garden, surrounded by a stone wall, which protects plants from the island’s often harsh winds and also captures moisture from the air.
Rising from the lava of Etna, halfway between the Sciaranuova and Montelaguardia vineyards and just south of the town of Passopisciaro, Feudo di Mezzo was conceived by Planeta as a veritable stone garden. The black volcanic stone is the dominant feature of the architecture, so the walls marking the borders of the estate look, in many ways, like ancient stone constructions.
It’s a Sicilian take on minimalism at this winery, which has been carved out of an old “baglio,” or country estate, dating back to the late 1800s. Today, the historic building is used for tastings. The new portions of the Cusumano winery were designed by architect Fabrizio Ruffino using local materials and eco-friendly construction. The innovative architecture enhances the strong contrasts and peculiarities of the Sicilian landscape. The winery extends both above and below ground. The entire complex includes a production center, an underground barrel cellar for aging, offices, and a meeting and event space.
Designed with the utmost respect for the grapes that are cultivated at this vineyard, the eco-friendly Alta Mora winery enjoys significant savings with its natural thermal insulation and the use of energy from biomass material. Made from local natural materials—lava stone and opus signinum (an ancient Roman material of crushed tiles mixed with mortar)—the building blends in perfectly with the volcanic landscape.
Rocca delle Macìe is Italy’s first “cinematic winery,” where wine, gastronomy, and cinema coexist synergistically. This mission has its roots in film producer Italo Zingarelli’s dream to be able to own and work the land of Chianti. His dream came true in 1973, when he bought this property. The original Macìe estate included 230 acres of which only five were planted with vines—the beginnings of this new winery in the heart of Chianti. Today, the winery covers about 1200 acres, almost 500 of which are planted with vines and 54 with olive groves, divided among six estates.
At the winery, you can also visit a museum dedicated to two of Zingarelli’s most successful films, Lo chiamavano Trinità (They Call Me Trinity) and Continuavano a chiamarlo Trinità (Trinity is Still My Name), with set memorabilia, other artifacts, and rarely seen photos from the shoot, making this a new film-lover’s destination in the heart of Chianti Classico.
Architect Markus Scherer designed a new headquarters for Nals Margreid, built from the same materials used to construct the production facilities—concrete, wood, and steel. His building brings together the history and tradition of the winery, whose original nucleus dates back to 1764 as the Von Campi estate (joined in 1932 by the Nals winery and in 1985 by Magrè), with the rigorous modernity of South Tyrolean architecture, all while respecting the surrounding natural environment. Later, at the 2013 Venice Biennale’s Le Cattedrali del vino (or Cathedrals of Wine) competition, this winery was honored in the interior design category.
The Pellegrino wineries in Marsala, founded in 1880, are among the most important of historic Italian vineyards. The modern ouverture has large halls and terraces overlooking the Egadi Islands, while the Pellegrino Towers are a beautiful example of industrial archaeology, with an existing building converted into a refined and bright panoramic hall. In the Teatro a Mare Pellegrino 1880, the Enrico Russo Memorial A Scurata event takes place each year. During this time, 12 theatrical works are staged with the Salina Genna in the Stagnone nature reserve as a backdrop, their salt flats turning pink at sunset. This stage, suspended over the water, is the only theater in the world built atop a salt flat.