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Rioja winery sues architect for €2m over leaky roof

The owner of Rioja's Ysios winery says it has 'no choice' but to file court action against renowned architect Santiago Calatrava Valls, after suffering from repeated leaks in a roof he designed for the winery.

‘Looks impressive, but…’ Ysios

Calatrava’s wave-like roof at Ysios looks impressive, but it can’t keep the rain out, according to the Rioja Alavesa-based winery. Aluminium parts also come loose when the wind blows and temperature changes causes fixtures to tear.

Repeated problems and failed attempts by Calatrava and his team to fix the roof mean Ysios owner Domecq Bodegas is now seeking a total €2m from the architect, plus his namesake company, his associate project managers and building works group Ferrovial.

Besides designing Ysios, which opened in 2001, Valencia-born Calatrava has designed many structures worldwide, including the Peace Bridge in Calgary, Canada, the Turning Torso building in Malmo, Sweden and the controversial Ponte della Costituzione in Venice.

‘The company has no choice but to take court action while the right to do so is still in effect,’ a spokesperson for Domecq Bodegas told Decanter.com, highlighting the ‘serious deterioration’ of the winery due to leaks and the parties’ ‘failure to assume responsibility’.

Domecq Bodegas, a subsidiary of French drinks giant Pernod Ricard, wants the money to cover the costs of a new roof. ‘The new roof will retain the uniqueness of the winery and the same visual aspect, as it will be finished in aluminium,’ said spokesperson Marian Carreira Enjamio.

An expert report commissioned by Domecq Bodegas found that responsibility for the leaks lies with all parties involved in building work. Independent experts also found that attempts by those same parties to fix the roof ‘not only failed to solve the problem but have actually worsened the situation’.

Carreira Enjamio added that ‘the wine we produce is not affected thanks to the effective measures taken in the winery to maintain optimum temperature and humidity for wine production. The problem is one of image.’

Written by Chris Mercer

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