External facade of Kurtatsch Winery

Old Cultural Assets, New Landmarks

Alto Adige Winemakers and Cooperatives Travel New Paths – Including with Architecture

Taking in what the landscape and nature give us, handling this gift with care, while at the same time breaking new ground and thus creating culture: for Alto Adige’s wine industry, all of this is a part of its self-image. And this self-image is also becoming increasingly evident in terms of physical structures. And so Alto Adige’s winemakers – both estate wineries and cooperatives – are not creating purely functional buildings, but rather architectural landmarks.

The impetus for this is usually necessity. Not only do historical buildings lack space, they also limit winegrowers and winemakers in their pursuit of quality. But it is not easy to combine the historical heritage with new ideas. The conversion of the St. Pauls Winery, for example, had caused quite some excitement in the run-up to its construction, but today the feedback is consistently positive. “I am pleased to hear from visitors again and again that they had been skeptical, but in the end it was realized well,” says business manager Dieter Haas. “In good old South Tyrolean dialect, they say: ‘Gor net so schlecht gwordn ...’ [It didn’t turn out so bad!]”

In any case, the successful ensemble of old and new makes the St. Pauls Winery a showpiece building. The historical main building is now framed by two modern elements: the tasting room to the east and the wine bar to the west. It is above all else the cube-shaped, generously glazed tasting room which catches the eye: “As a connection of the winery to the cultivated areas and the mountains all around,” says Haas.

The fact that it is not only cooperative wineries but also individual winemakers who are placing greater and greater value upon architecture is shown by the example of the Glögglhof Estate Winery of the Gojer family. It includes the historic site in Santa Maddalena near Bolzano and a second in Cornedo, where a modern building now stands. “The break with tradition was deliberate,” emphasizes Florian Gojer, because it fits in with the modernized appearance of the entire winery.

The conical shape of the new building is striking, directing the visitor’s view to the Bolzano valley basin and the Santa Maddalena winegrowing area all around. The new wine shop thus refers to the origins and orientation of the winery. “We have high quality standards in our wine production,” says Florian Gojer. “We wanted to emphasize this through our wine shop and at the same time convey to visitors that everything here is well thought out from start to finish and follows a coherent concept.”

Something similar can be seen when looking at the result of the extension and renovation of the Josef Brigl Estate Winery in San Michele/Appiano. The primary aim was to build functional spaces, but at the same time a new landmark was created in the form of a red hexagonal tower. “The red tower is a symbol of modern winery techniques. It illustrates the principle of free fall, with which we try to prevent the pumping of juice and wine,” explains Josef Anton Brigl. On top of that, “The red tower has a signal effect and, in combination with linear white façades, it conveys well-planned functionality.”

The Kurtatsch Winery has also taken a bold architectural path. Thus the architects here have managed not only to construct a new, functional building, but also to make use of the new building as an image factor. The statement from the winery is that “The building should simultaneously be an expression of our connection to the land, the dedication of our team, and the down-to-earth quality that we possess through our cooperative structure.”

The concept of the land is reflected in several aspects: in the façade made from dolomite, a terroir trail, and a natural rock wall in the barrique cask cellar. The down-to-earth quality, in turn, is to be felt in the feel-good factor, above all else in the new wine bar, which was also designed as a meeting place for the cooperative members and the village community. The feedback has been correspondingly positive. The new building lends visibility, and the reference to the idea of quality is clearly recognized. The conclusion from the winery in Cortaccia is, “It is not only the direct feedback, though, but also the number of visitors, the sales figures, and the newly acquired types of customers which speak in favor of the building.”

Once again, it is clear that the new architectural approaches in the Alto Adige wine industry are not only exciting for guests and customers, they also pay off for the producers. And thus for the entire province.

Clearly a win-win situation.
Another taste?
More from the world of Alto Adige wine
Back to the list
Impressions of Wine:Experienced, enjoyed, shared
Always up to date with the Suedtirol Wein newsletter