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Wine entrusts art with the message for future generations: preserve the beauty of Italy

The union is renewed at Ca’ del Bosco in Franciacorta, with a new artistic journey, and at Feudi di San Gregorio in Irpinia, with a new work

As one of the most fascinating sources of inspiration, wine, the fruit of man’s labour and fulfilment of his senses, and with the vine a symbol of life, has always been present in the history of art. From the time, however, that noble wine families began commissioning works of art from the greatest artists of their era, to today, that the long tradition of cultural patronage by the wine world continues with more and more wineries entrusting contemporary art with the “universal message” behind the production of their wines, to pass it on and preserve it for future generations, the motives have changed. If in the Renaissance this meant showing the importance that the art of making wine had in one’s family history, as a passion and in one's business, today artists are being asked to represent through wine the ties it has with territories, their communities, their history and culture, of whose beauty the producers of Italy make themselves the guardians and promoters.
Telling its attention to the custodianship of the soils and the organisms that live in them through the works of young artists from the area, who sign 23 installations placed in the pedestrian-cycleways and harmoniously inserted into the surrounding environment to deepen the ethical approach adopted by a company that has always believed in art as a distinctive element and cultural and social uplift. This is where “Art in the Vineyard” comes from, a new artistic journey in the heart of the historic vineyards of the prestigious Franciacorta label Cà’ del Bosco with students from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brescia SantaGiulia in Brescia, the University of creative talents entirely dedicated to art, research and technology. A marriage, that of wine and art, of which Ca’ del Bosco is a pioneer in Italy with its beautiful and prestigious “gallery” of site-specific sculptures commissioned since the late 1980s from the world’s greatest artists, from Igor Mitoraj to Arnaldo Pomodoro, from Bruno Romeda to Rabarama, from Stefano Bombardieri to Bruno Chersicla, from Cracking Art to Rado Kirov, from Spirito Costa to Zheng Lu, from Bertozzi & Casoni to Mimmo Paladino and Tsuyoshi Tane, who express values or concepts related to the grape cycle and nature, harmoniously integrating with the place that hosts them, alongside the collection of photographs by masters such as Franco Fontana, Flavio Bonetti, Georg Gester, Ralph Gibson, Eikoh Hosoe, William Klein, Helmut Newton, June Browne, Ferdinando Scianna and Don McCullin who have freely expressed their relationship with wine and its traditions.
“Art in the Vineyard” is “a project that was born with a double purpose”, explains Maurizio Zanella, president of Ca’ del Bosco, “in fact, I have always believed in the expressive language of art. Combining the power of art with our firm belief that certified organic farming is the best way to safeguard Franciacorta represents our way of saying thank you to this territory that has given us so much. Giving young artists the opportunity to freely interpret nature, the territory and its constituent elements through different arts and styles allows us to reciprocate this generosity, emphasizing our strong sense of belonging to this land”.
It is called, instead, “Be Curious”, the now multi-year artistic and cultural journey undertaken by Feudi di San Gregorio, the first winery in Southern Italy and the symbolic griffe of Irpinia and guardian of the “Patriarchs”, its historic and monumental vineyards, which is part of the Tenute Capaldo Group - and Benefit Society with the statutory objective of protecting and enhancing the beauty of the environmental, social and cultural heritage of the territory and B Corp, led by President Antonio Capaldo and Pierpaolo Sirch, production director (and “Vine Master Pruners” with Marco Simonit)-which promotes artistic collaborations and cultural initiatives with names in design, such as Massimo Vignelli and Fabio Novembre, architecture, such as Hikaru Mori and Maurizio Zito of the Zitomori studio creator of the signature winery, art, such as Vedovamazzei, Marinella Senatore and Pietro Ruffo, and photography, such as Mimmo Jodice, as a tool to enrich and inspire the community of its territory. And which is now enriched with a new site-specific work: “The Portrait of Dionysus”, the first landscape work by the California-based artist duo Fallen Fruit - David Allen Burns and Austin Young - which covers with a mural painting of the god of wine in the likeness of a 2nd-century marble sculpture, adorned with flora and fauna from the area, the entire facade of the new Borgo San Gregorio Botanical Abode in Sorbo Serpico and continues inside the structure, welcoming visitors with a colorful wallpaper that accompanies them into a visionary world of flowers, colors and fruits that represent Irpinia. “We are contemporary artists. We make art installations and plant fruit trees in public spaces for all to share. We invite you to experience your city as a fruitful place, to radically change public participation and the function of urban spaces, and to explore the meaning of community through the creation and sharing of new and abundant resources, such as fruit trees”, the artists explain. A work inspired by the artists’ visit to an ancient temple with a vineyard at an archaeological site in the vicinity of the nearby municipality of Somma Vesuviana, whose hills were rich in vineyards since Roman times and of which Dionysus/Bacco, god of winemaking, orchards, fruit, vegetation and fertility, was patron. The work, as with its predecessors, will be followed by a limited edition of Dubl Metodo Classico Brut Edition “The Vanity of Dionysus”, produced in only 3,030 bottles designed by Fallen Fruit, the proceeds of which will be donated entirely to the San Gennaro Community Foundation for overcoming social hardship in the Sanità neighbourhood of Naples through education in art and culture, and which will be premiered on July 20 at Spazio Giallo Interiors, a creative and design hub in Trastevere, Rome.
The encounter between the world of wine and art now boasts a very rich “collection” of projects, recounted punctually by WineNews. It is impossible to list them all, but in tracing it, one can recall such pioneers as the Castello di Ama for Contemporary Art in Chianti Classico, a territory that is a true “district of wine and international art”, and whose “System of Villas-Farm” is on the Italian list of Unesco candidate sites, to Michele Chiarlo’s La Court Art Park in Monferrato, which celebrates 20 years in 2023 and whose magic we recounted in a video; from Ceretto, which with its "Acino" is the most beautiful winery in Italy for the “World’s Best Vineyards 2023”, and, starting with Sol Lewitt and David Tremlett’s Barolo Chapel masterpiece, has brought and continues to bring the top of contemporary art to the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato, the first wine territory recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site. And if Sandro Chia, among the leading exponents of the Transavantgarde, was the first artist vigneron in the Castello Romitorio winery-museum in Montalcino and signing the labels of its Brunello, Nittardi recently celebrated 40 years of its collection of labels for Chianti Classico Vigna Doghessa by the greatest international artists of our time. But, again, from Zaccagnini, a winery-atelier whose vineyards in Abruzzo have for decades been an open-air art gallery with works by world-famous artists, to the “Vino Civitas” project, conceived in partnership by the Associazione Civita and Tenuta Caparzo, the griffe of Brunello di Montalcino, to support Italian heritage with restorations of works of art; by Marchesi Antinori’s contemporary art platform “Antinori Art Project”, which, in the wake of more than 600 years of wine and patronage recounted by WineNews from the Renaissance to the present, has recently unveiled a new site-specific work in the Antinori signature winery in Chianti Classico (already elected as the most beautiful in the world in 2022, and signed by Archea Associati, next to the auteur cellars fruit of Antinori’s partnership with asv3 (Fiorenzo Valbonesi’s architecture workshop, ed.), to “Artists for Frescobaldi”, the project with which continues Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi’s centuries-old tradition of artistic commissions with young international artists, which, in recent days, has been enriched with new works at the Tenuta CastelGiocondo estate in Montalcino; from #Caprai4love, the project of Arnaldo Caprai, leader of Sagrantino, for the recovery and enhancement of works and cultural heritage in the Montefalco area, to Ornellaia “Vendemmia d’Artista” with which the Tenuta dell’Ornellaia supports the world’s most important cultural institutions; from the “Planeta Cultura per il Territorio” project, in which “Viaggio in Sicilia” is among the first artist residencies in Italian vineyards, to Bortolomiol’s Parco della Filandetta, which has brought contemporary art to the Prosecco hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Docg Unesco World Heritage Site.
To trace the origins of Italy’s first wine museums, we have to go to Umbria, to Muvit-The Lungarotti Foundation’s Wine Museum in Torgiano, considered the most beautiful in the world (recounted by WineNews in a video), and to Tuscany, to Castello Banfi’s Museo della Bottiglia e del Vetro among the Brunello vineyards in Montalcino, where the new immersive and emotional museum of the “Temple of Brunello” was also recently born, but also in the Valdarno, at the Vino & Arte Gallery at Il Borro di Ferragamo with the most important collection of engravings with wine as a subject (which we showed you in a video), and all the way to the Langhe with the WiMu-Museo del Vino in Barolo.
More recently, there is the case of Gerardo Cesari, a “wine cellar-museum” for the works of the students of the prestigious Brera Academy in Valpolicella, to Vivallis, Fortunato Depero’s “Cantina dell’Arte” in collaboration with the Mart-Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto (as we recounted in a video with critic Vittorio Sgarbi); from the partnership between Consorzio del Prosecco Doc and Fondazione dei Musei civici di Venezia - Muve, to the “67 Columns for the Arena di Verona” project that sees companies and individuals “adopting” them, such as Calzedonia Group (among whose brands is the “wine shop-chain” Signorvino), Masi Agricola, Tommasi Family Estates, Pasqua Vini-which, by now a tradition, signs evocative site-specific installations commissioned in Verona and beyond-and La Collina dei Ciliegi, which also produces Milan’s “Vino del Duomo” for the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano; from the “Camera dei Giganti” wine of Villa della Torre of the Allegrini family for Palazzo Te, in the sign of Giulio Romano to whose hand we owe the Renaissance villa in Valpolicella (whose assonances we recounted in a video), to the Zenato Academy project “Wine. Beyond Photography”; from Farina Wines, which brought contemporary art to the Amarone vineyards in Valpolicella (aiming for Unesco recognition of the practice of grape drying), with “Art Ferment”, hosting the colossal sculpture “Für Paul Celan” by Anselm Kiefer, one of the world’s most highly regarded German artists, to Franciacorta’s landing in the world of digital art with Teo Kaykay’s Berlucchi Palazzo Lana Nft; d ìfrom the birth of “Art in San Leonardo”, dedicated to the estate’s flagship wine, San Leonardo, an oenological jewel of Trentino, to the most famous wineries of Etna, which to art the interpretation of a unique territory in the world and its great wines, such as Cusumano in Cottanera, among others.
And there are many wineries that are custodians of Italian beauty, from Donnafugata, which has donated its Khamma Pantelleria Garden to Fai, to Podere Forte, which has returned to worship the Vitaleta Chapel, an iconic image of the Val d’Orcia UNESCO World Heritage Site; Tenute Orestiadi and Burri's Cretto wine project in Gibellina (which we recently went to Sicily to discover), to the Renaissance Villa di Argiano in Montalcino, which holds a unique collection of masterpieces by Sienese and Florentine artists from the 14th to the 16th centuries, from Andrea Della Robbia to Pietro Lorenzetti, from Giorgio Vasari to Antonio Di Taddeo, to the Medici Villas, such as the Tenuta di Artimino in the Carmignano hills, now owned by the Olmo family (and to which we have dedicated a video soon online).
A Unesco monument are the “Underground Cathedrals of Canelli”, the historic Bosca, Contratto, Coppo and Gancia wineries, with their miles of tunnels and galleries dug into the tufa of the hills (into whose tunnels our cameras have also entered many times), while today we are witnessing the phenomenon of “designer wineries”, considered the new “cathedrals of wine” (which we showed you in a video): from Carapace, Arnaldo Pomodoro’s first architectural work for Tenuta Castelbuono of Tenute Lunelli in Bevagna, to Cantina Podernuovo, the Bulgari Winery designed by Alvisi Kirimoto in San Casciano dei Bagni, from Alberto Cecchetto’s Rotari and Mezzacorona in Trentino, to Werner Tscholl’s Tramin Winery in Alto Adige, from Gaja’s Cà Marcanda in Bolgheri to Renzo Piano’s Rocca di Frassinello in Maremma, from Terra Moretti Group’s Petra Winery in Suvereto, to the Santa Margherita Group’s Vittorio Emanuele Marzotto Corporate Center by Westway Architects in Fossalta di Portogruaro, from Domenico Mazza’s Rufugio del Vino by Les Crêtes in Valle D’Aosta to Terre Da Vino in Barolo by Gianni Arnaudo and Damilano by Boglietti Associati in La Morra in the Langhe, from Made Associati’s Cantina Pizzolato in Veneto to the Masseto Winery designed by Studio Zitomori in Bolgheri, and a true “temple” of Italian wine.

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