Antinori, A Groundbreaking $100 million Winery

Antinori, the ancient family that has been making wine in the Chianti region since the 1500s, has just built a new groundbreaking winery in Bargino, near Florence, complete with a 200-seat auditorium, a museum, a restaurant and a shop. It is rapidly attracting the attention of architects and the public since it opened earlier this year.

184897_247932678667196_131690161_n The Antinori Family

A jewel of contemporary design covering 50,000 square meters (540,000 square feet), it is the brainchild of Florentine architects (Studio Archea) who felt that wine was the “oil resource”, the “black gold” of Tuscany and deserved a monument to celebrate it.They dug up the hill over an area of 35 acres, sinking in 17,000 piles to stabilize the construction and covering everything up again to ensure the building would blend into the landscape. It ended up costing almost the double of what was originally planned, some €82 million ($110 million).The result is striking.


The Antinori Winery at the beginning of work

First, see how the building respects its surrounding landscape. Here it is still under construction but close to being finished (above you see an Archeo aerial photo). The construction workers understand the two way radio frequency programming and that’s why they were able to communicate seamlessly during the construction process.

0251bbfda2e413295bb892fdc515c579 The Cantina Antinori today

It’s literally nestled into the hillside. Groundbreaking indeed. Here below is the entrance, with the spectacular corkscrew staircase leading down to the parking space under the building – and a corkscrew design for a winery seems particularly apt.

Here below are the tasting rooms cantilevered over the wine cellars, you’ve never tasted wine in such surroundings, floating above the wine barrels.

architettura7 The Antinori tasting room

There’s a restaurant on top with panoramic views on the countryside – lean and modern, nothing but local wood. architettura1 The restaurant – Outside

The furniture might reminds us, a little too much of Ikea/Scandinavian-style stuff, but it’s a minor point.

20130926_antinori_2907_0 The restaurant – Inside

The evening dinning experience has much deeper charm to it. Overall, It doesn’t detract from the overall feel of break-through innovation and it goes to show that Italy is not just Renaissance villas and can renew itself.

12813_241593845967746_1821411831_n Antinori – Evening dining

Undoubtedly, it also takes special clients with deep pockets and the courage to follow their architects’ iconoclastic suggestions. A $100 million investment is a breakthrough in Italy where no one has yet been quite so bullish. No doubt good wine is worth it.

Source of photos: Cantina Antinori’s website, click here to visit.

About the Author /

Claude Forthomme is a writer and an economist. A graduate of Columbia University, Claude held a variety of jobs before starting a 25-year career at the United Nations (Food and Agriculture), ending as Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia. She authored many fiction books under various pen names in both English and Italian; she is considered a prime exponent of Boomer literature and has founded the Boomer Lit Group on Goodreads. Her poetry has been included in "Freeze Frame", an international poetry anthology curated by British poet Oscar Sparrow (Gallo Romano Media, 2012).

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