Bodegas Portia, located in the legendary wine region known as Ribera del Duero in Castilla y León, Spain, is one of seven prestigious wineries owned by the Faustino Group, a leading conglomerate that specializes in the production of high-end, premium wines and dedicates a great deal of time and resources to the management of Designation of Origin wineries all over Spain.
The new generation of the Faustino Group envisioned a project that represents a clear example of the current philosophy of this family emporium and marks a new era where the Group has positioned itself a global leader in the field of enology. The label has more than 150 years of experience in the cultivation of vineyards and the production of excellent wines but has vowed to modernize its operations and do it in a spectacular way. To that end, they hired the famous British architect Norman Foster—a Pritzker-Prize Laureate—who was fascinated by the idea of designing a winery in Spain, a country he loves.
Bodegas Portia is a building worth knowing—not only for its conceptual beauty but also for its wines.
An important factor in choosing Foster was the practical and functional style that characterizes his work, which is essential for building a winery while maintaining a rigorous respect and balance with the surrounding environment and the natural landscape of the area. The building opened in 2010 and, in 2011—to reward Foster‘s first foray into the world of wine—the architect received the prestigious Riba Awards, granted by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Bodegas Portia is a building worth knowing—not only for its conceptual beauty but also for its wines. It produces award-winning vintages using the Tempranillo grape: Ebeia Roble, Crianza Portia, Portia Prima and Triennia.
The location is a strategic element of this project as is the spatial distribution of the winery cleverly arranged by Foster’s brilliant concept that fulfills all of the winery’s technical needs. The building sits atop a hill, and some of its most important components were placed underground. Built with concrete, wood, steel, and glass, the 135,000 square feet cellar is distributed over three floors, with a star-shaped design whose branches correspond to different areas of the production, fermentation, and aging of wine.
Its center, which is the hopper of the harvested grapes, also acts as a focal point of the stunning design and includes a shop, tasting room, auditorium, meeting rooms and a cafe. The area that houses the barrels and the racks is partially buried to promote the optimum conditions needed for the aging of the wine while the fermentation zone is exposed for easy release of carbon dioxide.
Another innovative aspect of the building is the concept of a “transparent cellar”. The large windows that make up part of the design allow visitors to see the entire production processes while enjoying the outdoor scenery.
For the more adventurous guests, there are balloon rides around the Ribera del Duero region, a personal experience for the client who just wants to relax and discover a world of sensations centered on wine, architecture, and nature. ■