More than an eyecatcher: the modern wine architecture of Alto Adige

More than an eyecatcher: the modern wine architecture of Alto Adige

Wine is creating new landmarks

Form follows function, but not exclusively so: although wine architecture primarily needs functional buildings, the wine estates and wineries of Alto Adige have skilfully blended innovative techniques with their unique design language, thereby bringing new landmarks into the world.

Since the late 1990s, the trend of translating a particular wine philosophy into architectural design has also taken root in Alto Adige. From then on, a number of outstanding wine-related buildings have emerged, mostly designed by local architects.

Specific requirements needed to be fulfilled. For instance, a winery building must above all meet the functional needs of wine production. At the same time, it is important to “combine the architectural concept with functionality”, as renowned architect Walter Angonese from Caldaro puts it. "The goal is to establish a specific business identity through its architecture."

In our journey of a thousand-year-old wine architecture, we have mentioned the new headquarters of the Bolzano winery in the winegrowing area of San Maurizio as an example of innovative local wine architecture. Here, the façade – the winery’s visual identity – integrates a functional underground structure.

Moreover, because terroir plays an increasingly important role in the wine philosophy of Alto Adige and other spheres, modern wine architecture reflects its growing value. The standout case is probably the headquarters of the Cortaccia winery whose silhouette mimics a mountain landscape and features a façade constructed from white dolomite, a mineral found in the region's vineyards soils.

The context, namely winegrowing and the vineyard landscape, is also echoed by the Termeno winery, where visitors are welcomed by a glass cube surrounded by a green mesh of metal tendrils. Within this cube lies the tasting room, stablishing a bridge between the vineyards and the indoor tasting experience.

This connection also resides in the new building of the Caldaro winery. By featuring expansive window fronts, it offers panoramic vineyard views. Its’ warm earth tones and natural materials, create a direct link to nature and the terroir.

It is striking that the architectural revolution in Alto Adige's winemaking industry extends beyond the domain of large cooperative wineries, as many smaller estates are also involved in featuring architectural distinctive elements that have become attractive beyond the region's borders.

A prime example of this trend is the Pfitscher estate in Montana, which combines modern architecture with an equally modern requirement: sustainability. The building’s ecological footprint has been lowered to the minimum with an energy-efficient production in mind. No wonder, then, that Pfitscher’s headquarters have been awarded the prestigious title of “KlimaHaus Wine [Climate House Wine]”.

Finally, the expansion of the historic Pacherhof estate in Novacella was also thoughtfully integrated into the landscape. It maintains a cohesive design with its dark, unobtrusive form that blends with the vineyard terraces, while a drystone wall shields the wine cellar.

This wall, which characterizes modern wine architecture in Alto Adige, is the recipe for success: the harmonious coexistence with nature, the bond between old and modern elements, the creation of a distinctive identity, all while preserving authenticity.
© Photo: IDM Alto Adige/Alex Moling, Bolzano winery, Cortaccia Winery, IDM Alto Adige/Alex Filz, Pfitscher Estate, Pacherhof Estate
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