Cantina di Fonterutoli: harmonious balance between nature, land and the old village

Architect: Agnese Mazzei

“ Here the difficulties of a very complicated design was only partly made easier by the fact that we were ‘playing at home’: 75% underground cellar, surface area of 10,000 m2 and natural gravity grape process. The three floors are on the same level (no steps); fork-lift trucks are used everywhere; on the barrel cellar floor the rock has been left exposed through large doorways; water gushes from the rock, creating a striking effect and, more importantly, giving the space the humidity it needs to store wine.

The sides of the cellar, which consist of several overlapping arches, were covered in simple local clay bricks that were shaped according to the design by our architectural studio. What is obtained is a new and original chiaroscuro effect.

A large, central, semi-circular space welcomes the grapes, which fall from the piazza into the vat room, the centre of gravity of all of the cellar’s activities. All visitor areas and office lead off from the vat room. The cellar is striking due to its classic contemporary style, functions and spaces, traditional materials have been used in completely new ways, the functionality is exceptional (according to the users themselves). The cellar appears suddenly without infringing upon that harmonious balance between nature, land and the old village.

Visitors are welcomed and inviting on a journey of growing amazement, eventually reaching the lowest level, where the barrel cellar moves everyone with its borderline sacred and inviolable space. In this cellar, everything is true. Nothing has been done for marketing’s sake. The wine is as good as it is because it is made in a place where everything has been designed to emphasize and improve it.” Agnese Mazzei