Ernesto Neto interprets Ornellaia 2014 ‘L’Essenza.’

ernesto-neto-signature-ornellaia-2014The Bolgheri Estate presents the 9th edition of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project.

Artist Ernesto Neto has created unique labels that will dress a limited edition of numbered large-size bottles of Ornellaia, 9 lots of which will be auctioned by Sotheby’s at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, which will receive the proceeds. 

The Brazilian artist who works with the Huni Kuin tribe is inspired by Mother Nature to convey the character of the 2014 vintage.

The art project has now donated more than 1 million euros to art foundations and museums across the globe

For this year’s 9th annual Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista art project, which was launched in 2009, in which Bolgheri-based Ornellaia selects an internationally-famous artist to create an artwork that will interpret the distinctive character of each individual vintage, Ornellaia has commissioned Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto to illustrate Ornellaia 2014 “L’Essenza”.

For Axel Heinz, Ornellaia’s Director and Winemaker, the 2014 vintage exhibits the character of ‘L’Essenza,’ or the Essence. “When one is confronted with a challenging growing season, in order to make a great wine, one has to focus on simply extracting that year’s very essence. And, in fact, the 2014 year unexpectedly turned into a pleasant surprise, since the heavy rains and low temperatures during the ripening stages were followed by a September and October which brought us exemplary weather conditions; the final result was a somewhat later harvest, which delivered optimally vibrant fruit with crisp acidities.

We complemented that result with meticulous hand-picking, whose objective was to select only the most sound, healthy clusters. What one notices immediately about the 2014 vintage is the high quality of the tannins: elegant and silk-smooth, with no rough edges at all. 2014 will be remembered in Tuscany for the summer that never was and as one of the most unusual. A warm and rainy winter was followed by a mild and dry spring, a distinctively average July and a cold and rainy August. All of this created difficult conditions for the ripening of the grapes. September and October, however, brought perfect conditions, with mostly sunny and dry weather, offering excellent conditions for ripening, particularly for Merlot. While we had an incredible amount of extra work to do in the vineyard, the combination of the Estate’s varied subsoils, the varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot and our own detailed knowledge of the terroir all played distinctively in our favour. Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia underlines the fundamental difference in terroir between the coast and the central Tuscan vineyards.

ornellaia-2014-lessenza-vda-ernesto-neto-3_6_9_075-liters-emotionalTo artistically interpret Ornellaia 2014 ‘L’Essenza’ Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto turned to his current field of art research, shamanism as science, natural phenomena, and the artisanal arts that are the collective fruit of the community. In 2014, Neto and the members of the Huni Kin tribe in Brazil undertook a series of artistic collaborations that analysed shamanic rituals and traditions. The spiritual life of that tribe, their striving for healing in harmony with nature, and the wisdom and serenity that they draw from their intimate bond with the energy of our earth infused into Neto’s oeuvre an unprecedented awareness of the power of nature and of the dynamic factors that regulate it. Drawing generously from these traditions, and from the shamans and their rituality, the artist’s recent works convey aspects of transformation and add multiple layers of meaning to his research into social- and ecology-based connectivity.

For Ornellaia’s Vendemmia d’Artista project, Ernesto Neto sought to convey the concept of natural balance as it is exemplified in our modern societies. He encapsulated 111 large-format bottles with an interwoven mesh, specifically 100 3-litre double magnums, 10 6-litre Imperials, and a single 9-litre Salmanazar, which together represent a social hierarchy with a single King, 10 Nobles, and a populace of 100 subjects, and in so doing illustrates the equilibrium that should reign in every community, with a hierarchy that is necessary so that all can live in harmony within the group and in uniformity with Mother Nature.

In addition, Neto designed a special label for the 750ml bottles of Ornellaia, and one bottle bearing that label will be included in every 6-bottle wood box.

To date, Ornellaia’s art project has gathered more than 1 million euros, all of which it has donated to foundations and museums that support art across its full range of expressions, including the Whitney Museum of New York, the Neue Nationalgalerie of Berlin, the Royal Opera House of London, the H2 Foundation of Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as the Museo Poldi Pezzoli of Milan, the AGO of Toronto, the Fondation Beyeler of Basel, and the Hammer Museum of Los Angeles.

On the upcoming 27 April, the spotlight will be focused on Ornellaia at a benefit auction centring on 9 lots, which will include the special bottles created by Ernesto Neto for the Ornellaia 2014 L’Essenza – Vendemmia d’Artista. Jamie Ritchie, Sotheby’s CEO & President, Americas & Asia, will preside at a gala dinner and auction that will raise funds to be donated in their entirety to the host sponsoring the event, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation in New York, directed by Richard Armstrong.

“The Vendemmia d’Artista series is a wonderful way of combining the characteristics of each vintage of Ornellaia with a world class artist’s interpretation of that specific year. For the ninth edition, Sotheby’s Wine are delighted to continue our collaboration with the launch of Ornellaia 2014 L’Essenza Vendemmia d’Artista, through a very special dinner and auction benefiting the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.” Jamie Ritchie, Sotheby’s CEO & President, Americas & Asia.