The Architecture of Wine

It’s not just how wine is made, it’s where wine is made. And I don’t just mean terroir. The cantina is an important part of winemaking, and not always just for what’s going on in the barrels. Often the wine cellars are architectural gems.


Italian Grapevine was lucky enough to visit Rocca di Frassinello last month for a special celebration. If you’ve ever seen it from the highway, maybe returning from a weekend at the Argentario Peninsula, you’ve probably wondered what it was, that red structure nestled on the hills.

cFqnyTBnAp0u2t0aWmrqJcj0JaHH8LhVTUMu8nPldzke5JJT7WBVvQMy30sR5VPYAwo01A=s132Well, it’s none other than Paolo Panerai’s architectural jewel, Rocca di Frassinello, designed by the most famous Italian architect alive, Renzo Piano. And did you know Renzo Piano turned 80 this year?

Most famous architect, Renzo Piano

This was a month of anniversaries: Rocca di Frassinello celebrated its 10th anniversary, Renzo Piano turned 80, and what is perhaps his most famous contribution to the world of contemporary architecture, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, celebrated 40 years.

Renzo Piano Pompidou

Pretty impressive, huh? And if you think that’s impressive, take a look at this man’s contribution to world architecture:

From his native Genoa’s renovated waterfront, to the New York Times building, to the Shard in London, to Tokyo, to Osaka, to Berne, to Amsterdam, this man has changed the face of the world and how we look at buildings. And I love the fact that he made this winery!

Harvest time means party time, and this year is no exception. I’d always admired this magnificent winery from afar. But it was so much more fun up close and personal. This is the area near Bolgheri, near Scansano of Morellino fame, the mysterious Maremma. There are some powerful and interesting Tuscan reds coming from this area.

Impressive is the word

The owner of Castellare di Castellina and Rocca di Frassinello, Paolo Panerai, introduced a limited edition bottle for the double anniversary celebration dedicated to the Centre Pompidou, Piano and Rocca, and there was a grand unveiling.

Yours truly saluting the achievements of the owner, Paolo Panerai

A great way to celebrate a vendemmia. And talk about structure!

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