We are witnessing an unprecedented revolution in the way winemakers are attracting clients to their wineries. These days the wine industry is flirting with art and design as it has never done before. New buildings are going up amidst the vineyards to welcome high-end costumers, offering hospitality and gastronomic delights.
We have seen, in recent years, the emergence of spectacular wineries in Spain, designed by young local artists. But internationally renowned architects are not missing out in this building bonanza, and are contributing to change the aesthetics and functionalities of wine production.
The new eye-catching buildings are conceived as temples for wine producers, places where wine aficionados can taste and pay homage to their favorite vintages. Many deserve a visit, since they offer excellent amenities for discerning travelers. The Marqués de Riscal winery, a colossal, futuristic-looking building designed by Frank O. Gehry, is one of these jewels.
In Spain’s Rioja Valley, in the northern town of El Ciego (Álava), we found Ciudad del Vino (City of Wine), an impressive project from Marqués de Riscal.
Award-wining architect, Frank O. Gehry, one of the most prestigious in the world, known for masterpieces such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (Spain), the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis (USA), and the Dancing House in Prague (Czech Republic), is responsible for this amazing complex.
Gehry applied the principles of deconstructivism, an architectural movement characterized by fragmentation, non-linear design and thematic manipulation of the surfaces to create a surreal, revolutionary building, seamlessly integrated into the landscape and surrounding vineyards.
Folded steel and pink titanium (red wine), gold (bottle casing) and silver (cork stopper) describe one of the most ultramodern, exclusive hotels in the world. It sits alongside the Marqués de Riscal winery (1858), on of the oldest in Rioja. The building houses the Marqués de Riscal Luxury Collection Hotel, with 43 lavish rooms, Vinothérapie ® Caudalie Spa, two exclusive restaurants managed by Chef Francis Paniego, and a business center for conferences and banquets. The structure does not go unnoticed; it is stimulating, pleasing to the eye and projects what can be called a controlled chaos.
For the interior design, Ghery made the best use of space, comfort and natural light to facilitate feelings of peace and serenity. The not-to-be-missed Gehry Suite, features oversize windows that offer breathtaking views, a private terrace and a seductive marble bathroom.
The hotel’s restaurant received its first Michelin star in 2012. Chef Francis Paniego dishes out delectable local cuisine with contemporary influences. The superb wine list makes this dining enclave one of the most important food and wine destinations in all Spain.
Staying at the Marqués de Riscal Hotel is the closest thing to sleeping inside a work of art. Luxury and tranquility warrant a visit to this architectural marvel that emerges like a castle among the vineyards. ■