Ornellaia reveals artist designs for 2016 vintage

American artist Shirin Neshat has been commissioned by Tuscan estate Ornellaia for limited edition designs of the 2016 bottles.

This is the eleventh edition of Ornellaia’s Vendemmia d’Artista project, where an artist is commissioned each year to design limited edition bottles.

Neshat created an art installation for the estate, customised a limited series of 111 large format bottles and designed a special label that, one example of which, will be found in each Ornellaia 2016 case containing six 750ml bottles.

The theme of the 2016 is ‘La Tensione’ (tension), and Neshat’s concept centres around the idea of wine as a moment of social sharing.

‘In the work created for Ornellaia, I inscribed a poem by the legendary poet, Omar Khayyām (from 10th century,) titled: “Without pure wine I cannot exist.”,’ said Neshat.

‘He has written more than any other Persian poet about the relationship between wine and spirituality (Erfan).’

Neshat is a photographer, filmmaker and video-artist , and her early work focused on the political and social conditions of Iranian and Muslim life.

‘2016 represents another immensely successful vintage highlighting all the virtues of Bolgheri’s climate: abundant sunshine, without excessive heat, a dry summer to allow the grapes to achieve perfect ripeness and concentration, and just about enough rain to avoid stress,’ said Axel Heinz, Ornellaia’s estate director.

‘All these elements combine to yield a wine that shows lush ripeness and crisp firmness, opposing forces creating a sense of dense raciness we like to describe as ‘tension’”.’

The 2014 designs were by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto and the 2015 by South African artist William Kentridge – who has also designed the Mouton Rothschild 2016 label.

Sotheby’s auction

As part of the Vendemmia d’Artista project, 111 large formats are auctioned by Sotheby’s for charity. These include 100 three-litre double magnums, 10 six-litre Imperials and a nine-litre Salmanazar.

This year’s charity is the ‘Mind’s Eye’ project with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which helps individuals who are blind or partially-sited experience art through their other senses.


Look out for a vertical tasting of Ornellaia wines, coming soon on Decanter Premium