Ornellaia, the Super Tuscan estate owned by Italy’s Frescobaldi family, has revealed designs by Swiss artist John Armleder for its 2012 wines, as market data shows Italian wineries have become increasingly popular with collectors.

Armleder, born in 1948 and who has exhibited work in Switzerland, the US and UK, created a series of individual designs for 100 double magnums, 10 imperials and one salmanazar of Ornellaia 2012.

Among them, Armleder has encased the neck of one bottle in a clear material to give the impression of dripping wax or running water (see above). In another, a splash of bright red adorns the bottle’s label. The designs have been grouped together under the name L’Incanto – or ‘the enchantment’.

It is the seventh time that Ornellaia has commissioned artwork for its new vintage. Several other wine estates have employed similar tactics, and in particular Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, which has commissioned bespoke labels on its new vintages for several decades.

Nine of the Ornellaia 2012 wines will be auctioned by Sotheby’s on 23 April, with proceeds to go to charity. The 2012 release comes amid evidence of stronger interest in Italian wine among collectors and investors.

Sotheby’s reported an average 47% increase in the average bottle price of Italian wines at its auctions in 2014, to $253-a-bottle. That put it ahead of the Rhone, which increased by 14% to $227, but still below average bottle prices for Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux.

In its latest market report, fine wine trading platform Liv-ex said Italy made up 5.7% of trades by volume in January.
This was mainly thanks to demand for Guidalberto and also Sassicaia wines, Liv-ex said.

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Written by Chris Mercer