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“Vendemmia d’Artista”: the Belgian artist Jan Fabre has interpreted Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia”

The most recent edition of a historical project has been presented, which since 2009, has donated 2 million euros to cultural institutions

Axel Heinz, manager of Tenuta Ornellaia, of the Frescobaldi family, one of Italian wine’s top names, presented the latest edition of the historic project “Vendemmia d’Artista”, which, since 2009, has donated over 2 million euros to museums and cultural institutions around the world. “The 2018 vintage generated wines with unique harmony, and the synergy and interaction among the different terroirs of the Estate have created proportion and complexity. The wine has a soft and silky structure in which all the elements come together in an expression of grace and beauty”, said Alex Heinz. The Belgian artist, Jan Fabre, was invited to illustrate the character of the 2018 vintage, “La Grazia”.
Fabre is one of the most eclectic and innovative personalities on the International art scene, continuously searching to merge different disciplines. Fabre proposes an exceptional and personal interpretation of visual art, supported by theater and literature as well as by abundant symbolism. Ornellaia’s “La Grazia” 2018 is the result of a year heralding balance. Following out of the ordinary hot and dry seasons, the earth finally received winter rain and the cold weather necessary to rest and restore the vegetative cycle of plants. The spring was tinged with rains that gave new life to the vineyard covering, while the summer was dry and stimulated the formation of the fruit, culminating in veraison on clear and sunny days at the end of July. During the entire harvest season, between August 31st and October 8th, the grapes were healthy and there was good balance between acidity and sugar.
Ornellaia’s “La Grazia” 2018 inspired the artist with its “divine gift of nature and balance of symmetries and proportions”. Jan Fabre used his artistic language and the precious red gold of the Gulf of Naples, coral, for the sculptures on top of three Salmanazar (9 liters): A Candle of Mercy, The Crown of Kindness, The Heart of Virtue. “I believe that art should reconcile ethical values and aesthetic principles”, explained the Belgian artist. “This is the reason I decided to use shapes such as the heart, the crown, the candle and wings in the sculptures for Ornellaia 2018. They are symbols of passion, virtue and purity, which come to life through small branches and red coral beads. In “A Candle of Mercy” or “The Heart of Virtue” they melt, like the melting grace of Ornellaia’s wine”. In addition to the precious 111 large sizes of Ornellaia that will be offered for sale, Jan Fabre has designed a special label for the 750ml bottles, and has also created a site-specific work for the company’s Orciaia, which will be a series of drawings inspired by sculptures and the same symbolism. One of the three Salmanazar of Ornellaia “La Grazia” 2018 that the artist has titled, “The Crown of Kindness”, will be auctioned - along with other large formats - at the Sotheby’s online auction, to be held in September 2021. Collectors from all over the world will be able to bid for the prestigious lots and will receive them directly from the captivating Bolgheri winery. Profits will be donated, for the third consecutive year, to support the “Mind’s Eye” project, created by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine, said, “This is the thirteenth year we have partnered with Ornellaia for the annual Vendemmia d’Artista. It is a very special event for us because it supports admirable artistic projects and combines the Estate’s excellent wines with the genius of the artists who participate. The Mind’s Eye project focuses on the senses, and has been the ideal beneficiary over the past three years. We look forward to the opening of the auction on our website, which will take place later in 2021, including the selection of bottles of the 2018 vintage “La Grazia”, illustrated by Jan Fabre, led as always by a unique Salmanazar. As in previous years, we expect a wide-ranging group of International bidders eager to purchase exclusive bottles and enjoy unique experiences”. Donations collected through the Vendemmia d’Artista project have allowed it to extend to all the museums of the Guggenheim constellation and guarantee that its excellence will continue to guide museum programming in various parts of the world. “We have had the opportunity to expand the accessibility and resonance of the Mind’s Eye program because of Ornellaia’s constant support,” commented Richard Armstrong, manager of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum & Foundation. “Ornellaia has helped us stay connected with our visitors through extended access programming and the creation of a new sensory guide that amplifies the experience of being at the museum to an ever-increasing global audience. Speaking on behalf of the many beneficiaries of Ornellaia’s generosity, we express our deep gratitude”.
Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of the Bolgheri Estate, said, “Since the creation of Vendemmia d’Artista in 2009, we have raised over 2 million euros. It has given us immense satisfaction to see the project grow and know that the work we are doing gives blind or visually impaired people the opportunity to discover contemporary art through the use of the senses. The Mind's Eye program will soon be offering the possibility of extending the same model not only to the other museums of the Guggenheim foundation, but also to other art institutions in the rest of the world, thus, making art accessible to more and more people”.

Focus - The Vendemmia d’Artista project

The Ornellaia Estate was founded in 1981, and today, is one of the most prestigious Estates in Bolgheri as well as in the wine world. It has also been an Art Park since 2009, thanks to the installations created for Vendemmia d’Artista. Some are at the corporate headquarters - such as the four ceramic fountain-sculptures that Luigi Ontani (L’Esuberanza - Ornellaia 2006) created as a symbol of the seasons, which are the priority speaker vineyard work. Or, the kinetic sculpture in copper and mirror glass, designed by Rebecca Horn (L'Energia - Ornellaia 2008), and which movements seem to communicate with the barrel room where it is located. Further, the wall of mirrors, one of the iconic materials artist Michelangelo Pistoletto used to interpret La Celebrazione (Ornellaia 2010). Then, the series of photos - almost like cinematographic frames following the movement of hands covered by writings in Farsi – that Shirin Neshat created to give form to Tension (Ornellaia 2016). Or, the biospheres by Tomás Saraceno, dedicated to the relationship between man and planet Earth (Solare - Ornellaia 2017), which are now housed at Aquilone. The latest addition, created by the Belgian artist, Jan Fabre, has been installed in the Orciaia. It is a collection of drawings inspired by coral, a natural product that the artist used to represent La Grazia (Ornellaia 2018) as a divine gift of nature. There is a ring wrapped in jasmine in front of the entrance to the winery, that reads Happily * Ever * After, a fairy tale quote with which Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh interpreted and gave form to Harmony (Ornellaia 2007). And then there is the steel sculpture depicting Confucius and Equilibrium (Ornellaia 2009) designed by the Chinese artist Zhang Huan, and the upside-down shot of the centenary oak of Bellaria by Rodney Graham (Infinity - Ornellaia 2011). Yutaka Sone interpreted Elegance (Ornellaia 2013) by creating a sculpture in white Carrara marble, a perfect identifying material. Ernesto Neto embraced an entirely different inspiration for L’Essenza (Ornellaia 2014) and proposed an installation in woven fabric, hooked to tree branches, an archaic suggestion that brings us back to the essence of nature. John Armleder, interpreted L ’Incanto (Ornellaia 2012) as a vegetable splash placed on the lawn of Ornellaia, a form to which the artist has entrusted emotion, surprise, and dreams. The sculpture by William Kentridge, which will be installed shortly, for Il Carisma, (Ornellaia 2015) was inspired by the awareness of how wine is the result of work and terroir. The artist's work is not just an installation, though. It is also entrusted to limited edition labels that carry Ornellaia's message to all corners of the world. 111 will accompany 1 Salmanazar, 10 Imperial and 100 Double Magnums. Finally, in each case of 6 bottles, one of the bottles will be wearing a label created by the artist.

Focus - Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, DOC Bolgheri Superiore Rosso 2018 ... tested in the glass

2018 was basically a cool year, regular temperatures but studded with an unusual abundance of rains for the area’s latitude. It created Ornellaia (composition: 51% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot) with less impetuous tones but more refined, confirming the class of this now acclaimed red wine. The structure is articulated, of course, the aromatic amplitude decisive, but there are no excesses in sweetness or alcohol. The wine refers, if at all, more to hints of Bordeaux, rather than Mediterranean generosity.
Tenuta Ornellaia counts 115 hectares of vineyards (production of Ornellaia is between 150.000 to 200.000 bottles). Since 2012, it has belonged to the Frescobaldi family in Bolgheri, one of the top wineries whose fame is difficult to restrict to Bolgheri, Tuscany or Italy. The winery has been a major part of wine history, taking shape in the Eighties and conquering everyone in a very short time. It was Lodovico Antinori, the founder’s intuition, who was joined by the expertise of some of the top names on the International technical scenario, like André Tchelistcheff (1981), "inventor" of Californian viticulture, Michel Rolland, wine "supervisor" (since 1991), the agronomists Danny Schuster and Andrea Paoletti (1995), and the winemakers who have alternated over the years, Federico Staderini (1985-1988), Tibor Gal (1989-1997), Andrea Giovannini (1998-2000), Thomas Duroux (2001-2004), and the actual production manager Axel Heinz, at Ornellaia since 2005.

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