Tag Archives: Ornellaia

2021 Growing Year in Italy: What to expect

The life-force of the vine vs climate changes

High quality anticipated in the wine-cellar

Harvest is literally upon us with some white grapes already safely in the cellar and several red grape varieties being picked at this very moment. But it’s still too early to draw any definitive conclusions about the 2021 harvest, since producers up and down the peninsula are still relying on predictions. Which, however, are encouragingly positive.

Let’s give a brief overview of the growing season. The weather brought three distinctive phenomena that had critical impacts. A spring freeze plunged temperatures that delayed bud-break and shoot growth by some 10 days, whose effects are still being felt in the current ripening stage, while the south suffered under water deprivation and the north was hit by torrential rains. The common thread that emerged from these challenges, though, was the current outstanding health status and overall quality of the fruit, a situation that augurs well for fine wines from 2021. Delivering the best results seem to have been the most ecologically-sensitive vineyard operations and precision agricultural practices, approaches that protect and express terroir in the face of increasingly threatening climate changes.   

We asked producers from north to south what they thought and how they were managing to transform climate threats into quality outcomes.

NORTH

In Trentino, at the historic San Leonardo wine estate, owner Anselmo Guerrieri Gonzaga reports that “the year opened cold and very rainy, which tried us no end. Then, in early August, the weather really began to smile on us, and we are continuing even now to enjoy fabulous, sunny days, with significant day-night temperature differentials as wide as 18oC. If September follows the same pattern, we have a realistic hope of bringing in a truly superb harvest.” 

Over in Lombardy, in the Oltrepò Pavese hills, the 200 hectares of Conte Vistarino allow a clear picture of overall prospects for the general area. Ottavia Giorgi enthuses: “We have extreme expectations for this harvest, which promises to be even better than we could imagine.” Brimming groundwater reserves, crisp spring weather, painstaking attention to vine-row vegetation, and a healthy status of the clusters harken back to the 2018 season, while the tannins look to be finer-grained than in preceding years. The white grapes are currently exhibiting outstanding pH and acidities, which bodes well for the sparkling base wines as well. “We are expecting very heightened aromatics and crisp acidities in our Pinot Noir, a gift of those quite wide temperature differentials in the hot summer months.”  

TUSCANY

In the Colli Fiorentini, just outside Florence, at Torre a Cona, Niccolò Rossi di Montelera has expectations for “a good quality vintage but for a crop smaller than in 2019 and 2020. Reflecting this growing season’s characteristics, the harvest will kick off slightly later than in previous vintages, beginning with Merlot in the latter half of September, while Sangiovese and Colorino will wait until the end of the month.” 

At Castello di Brolio, one of Chianti Classico’s iconic estates, Francesco Ricasoli explains that the year has brought a one-two punch of freezes and hot spells. “Still, our white grapes, which were picked already in late August, are superb, in both quality and quantity. We expect to bring in our Sangiovese around mid-September; the crop will be down a bit, but quality definitely up. Cluster size is somewhat small, as in 2017, but they show deeper colour, aromatic intensity, and better concentration.” 

Just a few kilometres away, Giovanni Mazzei underscores that the current season “is yet more proof of our vines’ ability to withstand challenging weather conditions thrown at them.” In particular, in the Siepi zone, “where deep soils and a high percentage of clay help retain much more moisture than other areas, a generous water supply for the roots and wide day-night temperature ranges are ensuring excellent ripeness levels.”    

At Castello di Querceto in Greve in Chianti, the unfavourable weather phenomena reduced the crop load by about 10%. Alessandro François is cautious about making any definitive judgments. While waiting to see what the next few weeks will bring, he says that “quality looks very good, but our Sangiovese growing at 400-520 metres still needs more time.”

The heat spells impacted Gaiole in Chianti, too, but director Luca Vitiello of Bertinga explains that “good canopy management protected the clusters and careful ground-working allowed the vines to recently complete veraison, a bit late perhaps, but with no excessive stress. These are the foundations for an excellent harvest, which we are looking for in the next days of September for the Merlot vineyards and the first half of October for Sangiovese.”  

Moving into Montalcino, Emilia Nardi, owner of Tenute Silvio Nardi, tells us that “thanks to our 2020 post-harvest operations, the vines enjoyed a plentiful supply of water, which allowed them to handle this season’s lack of it. Right now, the fruit shows surprisingly good balance and the vines good canopy development.”

Heading towards the Tuscan coast, where the vineyards of the Tenuta di Ghizzano lie in the Pisan hills, Ginevra Venerosi Pesciolini declares herself satisfied, since “the white grape varieties are in very good shape indeed. For some of the reds, however, the situation is somewhat more complicated. The Merlot is already in the cellar, and the quality seems quite high, but we’re hoping for a bit more rain, which would give our Sangiovese perfect phenolic ripeness.” Rains have already been of providential help this year, and “our clay-rich soils were able to absorb the rains we saw in May, which helped the vines cope with the summer drought.”   

In Riparbella, the just-emerging Colline Albelle operation uses one of its tools, dry-farming, to prevent heat stress. Winery director and winemaker Julian Renaud explains that “we also mow the cover-crop in mid-May, leaving everything on the ground, we keep canes short to prevent evapo-transpiration, do no leaf-pulling, and we utilise biodynamic preparations. All that helps us maintain optimal balance in the vineyards and a very gradual ripening process. This year, we expect about a 15-day delay in starting our harvest.” 

Along the same coast, in Bolgheri, Ornellaia director Axel Heinz, notes that its unique configuration of quite deep soils with high percentages of clay and limestone encourages the vine roots to go deep in search of water, which helps them resist the long stretches of dryness here. In addition, “Our sunny, dry conditions help the early-developing white varieties to fully ripen.” And finally, a drop in temperatures created “ideal conditions for the final stage of ripening, thus giving the red varieties all the time they needed to reach perfect ripeness.”

In the Maremma, the Fattoria Le Pupille team can draw a sigh of relief at what promises at this moment to be a great vintage. “The rains in mid-July gave us a welcome boost, relieving the heat stress and bringing the growing year to a blessed close.” A stance of hope, therefore, from Ettore Rizzi, estate agronomist and oenologist of the estate founded by Elisabetta Geppetti.

Also in the Maremma is Castello di Vicarello, where the hillslope position of the vineyards was proof against the spring freezes, and in the summer ensured them cool night-time temperatures that warded off heat stress. Brando Baccheschi Berti evinces pronounced satisfaction over fruit quality: “Wonderful acidities and full berries, proof that our old, deep-rooted vines are holding up well. My impression is that it’s going to be a beautiful vintage.” 

In the Val d’Orcia, finally, with benchmark operation Tenuta di Trinoro, a textbook-perfect vintage is expected. Here, too, the difficult weather brought challenges, but director Calogero Portannese expresses strong confidence in those “significant day-night temperature variations, which encouraged impressively-high quality in the fruit. Still, the harvest is a ways off yet, and we have to wait to see what autumn will finally bring us.”  

SICILY and SARDINIA

Over the sea in Sardinia’s Gallura district, Massimo Ruggero, managing director of Siddùra, explains that the area did experience the spring freezes, but the impact was not severe, “thanks to our particular climate here in this valley, our crop was down just slightly compared to the previous year. Overall grape health is good, and the final crop should almost equal that of 2020.” 

Let’s conclude our journey in Sicily. Mount Etna suffered a torrid, dry summer, and Vincenzo Lo Mauro, director of Passopisciaro, helped the vines by supplying night-time emergency irrigation. “The Chardonnay harvest started early, right after mid-August. The grapes were in wonderful condition, heathy and aromatic, and they’ll give us a very intense, firm-structured wine. Regarding the reds, we’re hoping the heat will drop and that we’ll receive some rainfall, which will help them get to that perfect point of ripeness.”

And now, there’s nothing we can do but wait.

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2019

Style and identity in the name of Bolgheri, released to market on 1 September

Ornellaia presents the 2019 vintage of Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, produced by the prestigious Bolgheri estate as an expression of the dedication in the vineyard, with a careful attention to every single detail in the cellar.

The precious cuvée of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot blends the individual traits of each varietal in a complex synergy of aromas. Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia has honed its identity year after year and is now an important and enjoyable expression of the appellation.

“Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2019 is a product of the attention paid to every stage in the winemaking, which enabled us to maximize the aromatic potential of the grapes,” explains Axel Heinz, Estate Director. “The result is a smooth and silky wine with elegant tannins and a lengthy, savoury finish.”

The wine stands out for its immediacy and vivacity, without ever losing sight of the estate style. Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia also reveals the character of the vintage a few months prior to the release of its elder sibling, Ornellaia.

The 2019 vintage was distinguished by variable weather conditions, alternating between cold spells and extended hot and dry periods. Following a winter within seasonal averages, budbreak occurred in the first week in April, but the cold, rainy conditions throughout April and May delayed the flowering. The summer proved to be hot and sunny with above-average temperatures and a lack of precipitation. The rainfall towards the end of July returned temperatures to the seasonal norm, creating optimal conditions for ripening the grapes.

The change between sunny and wet spells accelerated the ripening and especially the development of the skins. Softer and more permeable than usual, the grape skins guaranteed optimal colour and tannin extraction. Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2019 is currently characterised by “fresh notes of ripe red fruit, accompanied by a lively balsamic vein and the allure of cypress berries and eucalyptus,” comments Ornellaia’s winemaker, Olga Fusari.

The 2019 harvest of the red grapes started on 5 September before continuing into the first week in October, due to the cool temperatures and night breeze ensured by the closeness to the coast. The grapes, which were gathered by hand, underwent further culling on a double selection table in the cellar. In addition to manual selection, optical selection was also introduced in 2016, which ensures the perfection of every single grape after being destemmed. 

Every variety and parcel is vinified separately. The malolactic fermentation begins in steel and is completed in barriques where the wine is left to age for about 15 months. The wines are blended after 12 months in the barriques, allowing the individual varietals to give their maximum contribution to the expression of the vintage and the appellation. 

The impressive synergy between the verticality and freshness of the Cabernets, the rounder and deeper character of the Merlot and the body of the Petit Verdot make “Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia” a complex wine with a typical Bolgheri identity, elegance and considerable ageing potential.

Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2019

All the elegance of the Mediterranean

Upbeat and generous is how Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2019 makes an appearance after a year in the cellar divided between wood, concrete and steel and 12 months bottle ageing. Predominantly Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of Vermentino and Verdicchio, this Ornellaia white wine is an elegant expression of the care and style maintained by the estate. The grapes grow in small parcels along the Tuscan coast surrounded by Mediterranean shrub, gravel lanes and maritime pines.

“Poggio alle Gazze 2019 is the result of a late harvest,” winemaker Olga Fusari comments. “The extended harvest times proved favourable to the aromatic expression of the wine, which we find in the intense notes of citrus and exotic fruit accompanied by scent of freshly mowed grass and asparagus. The palate is vibrant and refreshing with a lingering mineral finish.”

2019 was characterised by highly variable conditions, which alternated periods of cold and rain with bouts of drought and heat, resulting in a ten-day delay in the budbreak. Growth resumed in June after long, sunny days. The weather remained fine for the rest of the summer, with the exception of two days of rain in late July, which restored the temperatures to the seasonal average and provided perfect conditions for the gradual and full ripening of the bunches. The Sauvignon Blanc harvest began on 19th of August and continued until the first days of September, while the Vermentino and Verdicchio, as later ripening varieties, reached peak maturity in mid-September.

The care taken with the grapes and their growth in the vineyard before cellaring reflect a deep respect for the ecosystem aimed at maintaining its stability, nurturing the integrity of the soil and the self-regulation of the vines. Everything at Ornellaia is done with attention and awareness centred on sustainability, which includes vineyard management at nature’s pace and the wellbeing of the winery’s employees.

Combined with the coastal microclimate, these elements result in the uniquely personable wines produced at Ornellaia: a chorus of multiple voices that convey the beauty, influence of the sea and light. The winemaking processes pay the utmost respect to the grapes and the result is always beguiling. “Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia owes its elegant Mediterranean style to the unique microclimate that we have here at Ornellaia,” Estate Director Axel Heinz explains. “This authentic gift of nature enables us to craft a wine that vaunts a sumptuous body with ripe, fruity notes in a style of great finesse, which is the hallmark of Ornellaia.”

After this long journey from vineyard to bottle, the 2019 vintage will occupy centre stage in a new project in the finest restaurants along the Italian coast. For “Ambasciatori di Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia” (Ambassadors of Poggio alle Gazze), 10 chefs will devise a special dish to showcase the personality of the wine. The restaurants will include a vertical tasting of four vintages of Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia on the wine list and an especially paired recipe on the menu.

Ornellaia Bianco 2018

The latest vintage of Ornellaia’s signature white is released to the market.

Say Ornellaia and shades of ruby red and silky texture spring to mind, but there’s another side to the Bolgheri winery, a limited-edition jewel that serves as the alter ego of the Tuscan wine sharing the same name: Ornellaia Bianco. This year, the 2018 vintage is being released to market. 

An intriguing and balanced cuvée in a deep shade of straw yellow, Ornellaia Bianco interprets the spirit of the Bolgheri estate with the grace and light that define this bucolic place. The grapes originate from a unique mélange of land: three small north-facing parcels, woven among the red-grape vineyards, which bestow a crystalline quality and hints of the Mediterranean shrub, sea breezes and a sumptuous style on the wine. Ornellaia Bianco stands as testimony to Bolgheri’s undeniable capacity to grow white varietals.

Ornellaia Bianco 2018, a Sauvignon Blanc-led blend with a touch of Viognier, displays “aromas of exotic fruit accompanied by mild hints of finely roasted vanilla, with a rich and fragrant palate perfectly balanced by a savoury tanginess,” comments the estate’s winemaker, Olga Fusari.

“2018 was rather harmonious, consisting of rain and sunshine in useful and necessary measures,” explains Estate Director Axel Heinz. The spring nurtured and revived the canopy with many showers, which was duly replaced by a summer of sunshine, in which the area’s typical breeze kept the vines healthy and dry. “In August, the various microclimates were accentuated by scattered showers,” Heinz continues. “This resulted in marked differences in the ripening stages of the grapes, which we harvested at very different times, starting after the 15th of August and continuing until the 13th of September. It was perhaps the longest harvest in the history of Ornellaia.

This wine is a product of meticulously harvested grapes picked in several stages before being fermented and set aside to refine for 10 months on the lees. Ornellaia Bianco does not undergo malolactic fermentation, therefore enabling its fresh character and Mediterranean identity to shine through. 

The desire to convey the estate’s exceptional qualities has shaped Ornellaia’s philosophy since the beginning, and Ornellaia Bianco 2018 keeps the banner flying high, ready to inspire wine enthusiasts with evocative images of the beautiful Tuscan coast.

Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2019

 

Vibrant and expressive, released on 1st March

Many components define the style of Ornellaia, the renowned Bolgheri estate, but the underlying philosophy is reflected in all the wines produced on the estate. Le Volte dell’Ornellaia is no exception. A predominantly Merlot-based cuvée, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2019 is “a vibrant, expressive and well-balanced wine, the perfect introduction to Ornellaia for every wine lover”,according to estate director,Axel Heinz.

2019 was characterized by a highly variable climate, which alternated cold and wet spells with long bouts of drought and heat. After a normal winter, budbreak took place in the first week of April. The rainy conditions throughout April and May slightly delayed flowering compared to usual, but plant development recovered in June due to bright days. All summer long, the weather remained hot and sunny, except for two days of rain in late July, which readjusted the temperature to the seasonal norm with ideal conditions for the gradual and complete ripening of the grapes.

The harvest began with the Merlot on 5th September and the last of the Cabernet reached the cellar on 4th October. As usual, in the last week of September, falling temperatures preserved the vintage’s finesse and aromatic freshness. The different grapes were fermented separately in small steel tanks in order to maintain their varietal characteristics. The wine was then aged for 10 months, partly in barriques used previously for Ornellaia and partly in concrete tanks.

Versatile and immediate, “Le Volte dell’Ornellaia combines a Mediterranean expression of generosity with structure and complexity,” winemaker Olga Fusari comments. “With its bright ruby red, intense scents of red berries and rose petals are clearly distinguishable on the nose, while on the palate the taste is full-bodied and enveloping, characterized by dense tannins and a vibrant acidity which make this a pleasing and enjoyable wine”. Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2019 will be available on all markets, ready to bring joy to wine lovers on these early sun-filled days.

Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia” Red coral for the artist’s interpretation of the vintage’s character

Jan Fabre for Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista

“The 2018 vintage resulted in wines of particular harmony,” comments Axel Heinz, Estate Director of the Bolgheri winery. “Synergy and interaction among the varied terroirs on the estate created proportion and complexity. The outcome is a rounded and silky wine in which all the elements blend together in an expression of grace and beauty.” In tribute to this sense of proportion and symmetry, Axel Heinz has called the character of Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia”.

Belgian artist Jan Fabre was called upon to interpret this trait in his role as an eclectic and innovative figure on the international art scene. Continually seeking convergences across a range of disciplines, Fabre offers an original and personal interpretation of visual art, taking cues from theatre, literature and the world of symbolism.

Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia” is the expression of a perfectly balanced vintage. After unusually hot, dry seasons, the earth finally received the rainfall and winter cold needed to rest and reset the vine’s lifecycle. The spring enjoyed occasional showers, which renewed the protective layer of the vineyard, while the summer proved dry, encouraging fruit set and culminating in veraison on clear, sunny days in late July. Healthy grapes benefitting from a superb balance of acidity and sugars were harvested between 31 August and 8 October.

Taking inspiration from Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia” as a “divine gift of nature and a balance of symmetry and proportion,” Jan Fabre used his trademark style and coral, the precious golden red of the Gulf of Naples, for the sculptures that top three Salmanazars (9 litres): A Candle of Mercy, The Crown of Kindness, and The Heart of Virtue. “I believe that art should conciliate ethical values and aesthetic principles,” explains the Belgian artist. “For this reason, I decided to use forms such as the heart, crown, candle and wings in the sculptures for Ornellaia 2018. These are symbols of passion, virtue and purity, which come alive by means of twigs and red coral pearls; in “A Candle of Mercy” or “The Heart of Virtue” they liquefy, like the melting grace of Ornellaia wine.”

In addition to the coral artworks for the 111 precious large formats of Ornellaia, Jan Fabre has also designed a special label for the 750ml bottles and a site-specific installation for the winery’s dining room Orciaia: a set of drawings inspired by the sculptures and their symbolism.

Accompanied by the other large formats, only one of the three Salmanazars of Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia”, which was named by the artist “The Crown of Kindness”, will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in September 2021. Collectors around the world will be able to place bids online on the lots and have their purchases delivered directly from the evocative Bolgheri winery.

For the third consecutive year, profits will be given to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s “Mind’s Eye” project.

Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine says: “This is our 13th partnership with Ornellaia for their annual Vendemmia d’Artista project, which is so special to us because it supports worthy artistic causes and combines the brilliance of the estate’s wines with the visual ingenuity of the artists who take part. With its emphasis on the senses, the Mind’s Eye project has been the ideal beneficiary these past three years. We look forward to offering a range of bottles from the 2018 vintage “La Grazia”, illustrated by Jan Fabre, in our online sale later this year, headlined, as ever, by a unique Salmanazar. As in previous years, we expect the lots to attract an international group of bidders who wish to purchase these exclusive bottles and enjoy unique experiences.”

The profits made by Vendemmia d’Artista allow the Mind’s Eye program to be extended both on site at the Guggenheim as well as online and ensure that its excellence continues to guide museum programming in different parts of the world.

“With the continued support of Ornellaia, the Guggenheim has been able to amplify the reach and resonance of our Mind’s Eye program,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “Ornellaia has helped us remain connected to our visitors through increased access programming and the creation of a new digital sensory guide that shares the experience of being at the museum with an ever-widening global audience. We speak for the many beneficiaries of Ornellaia’s generosity in expressing real gratitude.”

Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of the Bolgheri winery says: “Since the introduction of Vendemmia d’Artista project in 2009, we have donated more than 2 million euros. It is deeply rewarding to see the program develop and know that the work we are doing gives the blind and persons with low vision an opportunity to discover contemporary art through the use of the senses. At the same time, the Mind’s Eye program will soon offer the possibility to extend the same model not only to other museums belonging to the Guggenheim Foundation, but also to art institutions in the rest of the world, thereby making art accessible to even more people.”

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2018: A classic wine from a classic vintage

 

Ornellaia presents the 2018 vintage of Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, the second vin produced by the Bolgheri estate and an accomplished wine, appreciated by connoisseurs around the world. 

 

The first vintage of this prized cuvée was in 1997 and, year after year, this wine has established itself as a leading expression of its appellation, Bolgheri Rosso DOC. 

 

The character and personality, which vaunt the signature style and savoir-faire of Ornellaia, combine promising ageing potential and inherent amiability. In this latest vintage, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia exhibits aromatic complexity and beguiling tannins, reminding us of the Bolgheri wines from the 2013 and 2010 vintages.

 

2018 benefitted from balanced conditions with spring rainfall, abundantly restocking the water table that had been put to the test during the previously hot summer. After a wet spring, the mild and sunny summer escorted the grapes through to the harvesting weeks in almost perfect conditions. The sugar and acidity developed slowly and the grapes, aided by the well-hydrated soil, reached the right dimensions. September saw high temperatures during the day and cooler conditions at night, which enabled the grapes to preserve their aromas. “After a number of dry years, the conditions in 2018 gave a decidedly autumnal touch to the harvest, the perfect premise for a particularly balanced vintage of great aromatic complexity.”

 

Each individual parcel of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot was harvested and vinified separately. After the first 12 months of refinement in barriques, the wine was blended before ageing for a further three months in wood and subsequently bottled as Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia.

 

Winemaker Olga Fusari describes it as a “wine of great aromatic complexity, a distinguishing feature of the vintage. Amidst aromas of berries, blackberries, raspberries and red cherries, floral overtones of eglantine unfurl alongside spiced notes of pink pepper and liquorice. This is a charming and well balanced Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, well structured, with a crisp and flavourful finish.

 

As we wait for the debut of Ornellaia 2018 expected in the spring, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2018 reveals the hallmarks of this vintage, while providing intense pleasure by the glass in a promise of joy and evolution over time. A classic wine from a classic vintage that fully expresses the Bolgheri DOC territory.

 ORNELLAIA VENDEMMIA D’ARTISTA 2017 “SOLARE” AUCTION RESULTS

THE AMOUNT OF $315.000 WILL BE DONATED TO THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM FOUNDATION IN NEW YORK IN SUPPORT OF

THE MIND’S EYE PROGRAM

 

 

Bolgheri, 10 September 2020 – Yesterday evening, Marchese Ferdinando Frescobaldi, President of the prestigious Bolgheri winery Ornellaia, and Giovanni Geddes, CEO, personally handed a cheque for $315.000 to Karole Vail, Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The donation was possible thanks to the Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017 “Solare” edition and sales of the prized limited-edition bottles designed by artist Tomás Saraceno.

 

For the last twelve years, Ornellaia has been furthering the Vendemmia d’Artista project, which supports foundations and museums around the world through the union of art and wine. Since last year, thanks to a collaboration with the Guggenheim, it has raised funds to support an equally innovative initiative: the Mind’s Eye program at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

 

The “Mind’s Eye” program was created by the Guggenheim’s Education Department to gift the joy of art to visitors who are blind or have low vision. The appreciation of art, like wine, involves all the senses. This was the idea that inspired Ornellaia to donate the profits from the annual Vendemmia d’Artista auction to this program.

 

Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of Ornellaia, commented: “The huge success that the Mind’s Eye program is having, also thanks to our donations, fills us with pride, especially when we observe how the same model can extend not only to other museums belonging to the Guggenheim Foundation, but also to other art institutions in the rest of the world, ensuring that this excellence continues to guide museum programming for the blind and persons with low vision. And to all people across the world.”

 

At the end of the auction, which was held online by Sotheby’s from 1 to 9 September, Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation said: Through the continued support of Ornellaia, the Guggenheim has been able to offer greater access to our programming and to deepen audience engagement. We extend our gratitude to Ornellaia for recognizing the importance of programs such as Mind’s Eye and for their generosity.”

 

Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017 “Solare”

 

The Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project celebrates and describes the character of every new vintage of Ornellaia. Every year, starting with the release of Ornellaia 2006, a contemporary artist crafts a site-specific artwork and a set of limited-edition labels, inspired by a word chosen by the estate director, Axel Heinz, to describe the vintage.

“Solare” (radiant in English) is the epithet chosen by Axel Heinz to describe the 2017 vintage of this wine: “It was a year of extremes, in which sun and heat played a decisive role. By adapting to the conditions with more precise and flexible practices, we succeeded in voicing the bold personality of this vintage.”

Based on the descriptor, Tomás Saraceno gave his interpretation of Ornellaia 2017 Solare. The artist sought inspiration in the alliance between the Sun and populated systems of life, inviting greater care and attention to the most important source of our planet’s energy; the Sun, which is depicted in the evolution of an eclipse. The issue of sustainability is explored through floating spheres such as “PNEUMA 4.21×105”, the sculpture that tops the Salmanazar, and the special thermodynamic labels, which like the ecosystems in which we live, are heat sensitive.  

Mother nature waits for no-one: the promising 2020 harvest at Ornellaia is underway

2020 is a year we are unlikely to forget but, in the vineyards of Bolgheri at least, conditions so far this year give hope for an outstanding vintage.

 

With the exception of a few particularly cool nights in March, the spring was almost perfect: sunny, with some rain at the right time. The conditions ensured correct and consistent growth in the vineyards, resulting in a slightly earlier budbreak, only one week earlier than usual.

The fruit set was assured and laid the foundations for a generous harvest that has now been confirmed in August.

 

The summer commenced with a June that was wetter than usual, forcing the Ornellaia team to conduct considerable vineyard management to limit and protect the vegetation at the height of its growth. July balanced the circumstances, given the lack of rainfall, slowing down the development of the vines just in time for the veraison, which occurred during the last ten days of the month.

 

As the months under Covid-19 unfurled, the organization in the vineyard and cellar were swiftly adapted to protect Ornellaia’s employees. “Back in April,” explains Estate Director Axel Heinz, “we reorganised the cellar, where about 20 people work, whereas distancing is natural in the vineyards. We changed our working methods without altering our operation and without compromising our standards of quality. It has been a significant challenge.”

 

The harvest started about a week earlier than usual, on 13th of August, with the first bunches of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The red varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot) are expected to be harvested between the last few days of August and the first week of September.

 

 “The watchwords for this first harvest after the Covid-19 lockdown are ‘confidence & resilience,’” continues the Director. “Our commitment is to work as usual, interpreting the vintage to the best of our abilities while preserving the style and identity of Ornellaia.”

 

Hopes are high for the 2020 vintage, but, like every year, it will be the weather conditions in September that decide the definitive quality of the vintage. Meanwhile, the harvest continues…

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