Celebrated Soave producer Pieropan is due to unveil its new winery in April 2022.
Dubbed ‘Leonildo Pieropan‘ after the estate’s pioneering late owner, the winery is considered groundbreaking for its eco credentials and use of materials – and is largely hidden under a hill, with just the frontage visible.
Pieropan’s project began in 2015, when the family realised they had outgrown the existing winery in the centre of Soave town, and subsequently acquired a site in the hills among the Soave vineyards.
Designed by architect Moreno Zurlo from AcMe studio, the underground aesthetic of the new winery is intended to give it a sense of harmony with the surrounding landscape.
It also provides an energy efficient building. Created with local materials, including Brass, a calcareous stone from Vicenza, and Euganean trachyte, the structure will weather over time to further integrate with the surroundings.
It is covered by a vineyard planted with grape varieties known for their high resistance to fungal diseases, allowing a significant reduction in pesticide use, the winery said.
Teresita Pieropan said, ‘The idea, from a landscape point of view, is elementary in its simplicity: to lift a strip of the slope and “hide” below the winery and its considerable volume.’
Inside, the winery is organised to meet the demands of production. Rooms that need the presence of air and light, such as for drying, vinification, bottling, laboratory analysis and office space, open on the only window, looking towards the valley.
Rooms dedicated to ageing and storage are all completely underground and benefit from natural thermal and humidity stability, the group said.
Paved areas outside have been limited, allowing replanting of almost all the vines that were uprooted during the construction process, it added.
To accompany the opening of the modern winery, Pieropan has created a special wine, ‘Calvarino 5’.
This blend of five vintages – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 – represents the five years it took to build the winery. Aged on the lees in cement, the wine was bottled at the end of 2020.
High-profile wineries in other regions have also sought to redesign their cellars with sustainability issues and the local environment in mind. In 2020, Château Cantenac Brown announced plans to create an ‘earth’ winery in Bordeaux.