Each year millions of wine enthusiasts travel the globe in search of memorable tasting experiences. And architecture-loving Oenophiles (wine aficionados) are likely to seek vineyards that not only produce outstanding libations, but also those with impressive architecture. With world-famous wines and evergrowing international renown, the vineyards of South America accommodate thousands of wine tourists each year. Chile and Argentina currently sit in the top 10 wine-exporting countries; Chile exported $1.9 billion worth of wine in 2016 and Argentina exported $816.8 million in the same year.
Separated by the Andes, the valleys surrounding Argentina’s Mendoza and Chile’s central valley (including Elqui, Limarí, Aconcagua, Maipo, Casablanca, Colchagua, Cachapoal, Maule and Curicó valleys) attract a high number of enotourists. The wineries and vineyards featured below have moved away from the traditional image of the historic country house in both aesthetic terms and (sometimes) in the use of materials in the winemaking process. These properties also exist in natural harmony with the surrounding landscape to make the most of sunlight, air circulation and topography for the construction of wine cellars, hotels, tasting rooms, lookouts and viewing points, and research centers. The new and vibrant architectural designs serve as innovation inspiration in their production of the wines as well.
Below we present our selection of the 20 (plus a bonus) of the most outstanding works of architecture in the famed wineries and vineyards of Argentina and Chile. The majority are open to visitors for wine tastings and tour.
1. Casa de Uco
Architecture: Designed and developed by Alberto Tonconogy (the father of the vineyard’s founder, Juan Tonconogy) Architectural Studio, the resort’s modern rustic appeal stems from its natural materials and locally-inspired architectural elements. Conceived as a slab, the hotel’s thick, angular roof seems as if to have been formed by the movement of the mountains. To combat the regions seismic hazards, the building is constructed in separate and isolated structural parts, creating visible and expressive expansion joints to protect the resort in the event of an earthquake. With top of the line amenities and spa, the hotel isn’t the only reason to visit Casa de Uco. Alberto Tonconogy also designed the “bodega” — the place where the wines are produced and bottled. The telescoping building displays harmony with the surrounding mountains, with recessed, peaked roofs that follow the lines of the landscape.
Stand out wine: El Salvaje Malbec, Salvaje embodies Malbec in its most natural form. An expressive wine that comes from the unique terroir in the Uco Valley, in Mendoza, Argentina. Every powerful bottle pays tribute to the rich landscape and native flora and fauna of the region. In Spanish, Salvaje means Wild.
More information: http://www.casadeuco.com/en/
2. Zuccardi Winery in Valle de Uco
Architecture: The plan to design a winery for top quality wines was developed in Paraje Altamira, in the district of San Carlos at 130 km to the south of Mendoza city. The area, which has been recognized worldwide, is ideal for wine growing because of the spectacular natural setting. The architectural proposal responds to two essential objectives: on the one hand, a building which is functional to the agronomical needs together with the enological aspect always following the strict technical and operational requirements that the process of high-quality winemaking demands. And on the other hand, the touristic aspect, where the visitor plays a leading role and together with the impressive landscape makes everything possible. The building emerges directly from the soil and becomes part of the mountain, seeking integration and visual balance which do not affect the landscape. The winery is almost completely made of reinforced concrete in sight, exploring different finishes. Big slopes of hydro washed cyclopean (with great rocks) concrete, with local sand and gravel, emerge from the ground with a tectonic strength.
Stand out wine: Zuccardi Zeta, Zeta is a real tribute to the name Zuccardi. This wine leaves its mark of character from its first harvest in 2002 and became an icon for the winery and a classic for Argentina due to the numerous awards it has received.
More information: http://www.zuccardiwines.com/
3. Viña Tabalí
Architecture: The design of the winery at Viña Tabalí is inspired by the ancient cultures of the diaguitas and the molles, who would submerge their dwellings in gullies to protect them from the wind. With this objective, the wine cellar was constructed in a gully, with a design of made of steel and contemporary lines that mimic the natural hills in the surrounding area, a clear example of a design that seeks to integrate with its surrounding natural environment. The winery is unique as its tanks are located in the open air (as opposed to in a storeroom) which allows for the capture of sea breezes that flow in for the Valle Limarí. Additionally, it boasts an underground room full of barrels and a large mural that depicts the ancestral residents of the Valle del Encanto, an archaeological site adjacent to the winery where cosmic rituals took place.
Stand out wine: The 2015 Roca Madre Malbec from the Río Hurtado, was awarded 96 points in the 2017 Chilean Guide “Descorchados”, run by the wine critic and journalist, Patricio Tapia. This particular wine comes from one the highest mountain wineries in Chile. It was chosen as the “Best Malbec” for the second year running.
More information: https://www.tabali.com/
4. Viña Errázuriz
Location: Panquehue, Valparaíso Region / Stand out building: Wine Cellar/ Architect: Claro Arquitectos
Architecture: The winery’s main building, Bodega Icono Don Maximiano (2010), was built completely with white concrete with titanium dioxide pigmentation and boasts a capacity to produce 347,000 liters of wine. The prominent curves in its structure have various purposes, one is to separate it from the octagon structures which characterize the existing installations. The spiral form of the curves is a representation of the concept of gravity and how the building is submerged in the ground. The conditions of the buildings main body and the workings of gravity allow the fruit and liquids to move while capturing the valley breezes. In order to control the temperature and lighting, the wine cellar takes friendly actions with its surroundings taking advantage of the geothermal and solar energies. It should be noted that the seventh edition of the World Wine Atlas of Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, included this wine cellar as a “referent” for modern and sustainable facilities of the New World.
Stand out wine: Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve (Harvest 2015) is the first wine produced by the vineyard and its first harvest dates back to 1873. It bears the name of its founder to pay tribute to his pioneering spirit. Its varietal composition changes from year to year, its aim is always the same: to elaborate the finest and elegant wine with a Cabernet Sauvignon base, reflecting the quality and potential terroir of the Aconcagua valley.
More information: http://www.errazuriz.com/
5. Viña Seña
Location: Valparaíso, Valparaíso Region / Stand out building: : Quincho Mirador / Architect: Germán de Sol
Architecture: The Quincho Mirador (barbecue lookout), designed for barbecues and tastings, emerges as one of the three meeting places to visit at Viña Seña, all part of a Master Plan developed by Architect Germán del Sol. His objective was to turn the vineyard into a place that seduced travelers from Chile and the world, inviting them to experience the natural and cultural beauty of the Chilean countryside. The architecture seeks to give value to the maicillo fields located in the surrounding hills, whose large hawthorns give shade. The contours of low walls, finished in white, look to relate the lookout with the landscape in which it is inserted. The viewpoint was inspired by the spirit of pucará or pre-Hispanic fortress, where the roof is not a parrón, it is the sky.
Stand out wine: In 1997, Seña Cosecha 1995 was launched, constituting the first Icon of Chile, marking a milestone and paving the way for the creation of Ultra Premium wines in the country. Seña is a Chilean ensemble of Bordeaux style, composed mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon, which provides its structure, while the Carmenere gives it its Chilean identity. Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot complete the mix.
More information: http://www.sena.cl/
6. Viña Casas del Bosque
Architecture: The Casa Mirador is situated on top of a small hill surrounded by vineyards in the Casablanca Valley. The pavilion seeks to have an image of a mix of vernacular and modern. It is made up of two volumes of stratified colored concrete, separated by an equivalent space. The monolithic structure ceiling and its pyramidal form connect both volumes. From the living room, a horizontal window frames the panoramic view of the vineyards and the quincho is located in the middle of a walled courtyard. The only source of energy from the project comes from a photovoltaic system.
Stand out wine: The Gran Estate Selección and the Premium Gran Bosque are wines from the Casablanca Valley, a unique terroir, and birthplace of quality old vines that give life to the best and most sought after Cabernet Sauvignon red grapes.
More information: http://www.casasdelbosque.cl/
7. Viña Matetic
Location: Fundo Rosario, Lagunillas, Valparaíso Region / Stand out building: Wine Cellar / Architect: Laurence Odfjell
Architecture: The design of the Viña Matetic winery generates a gravitational and energy-efficient system that exemplifies respect and connection with nature. The winery seems to disappear as it is closely integrated with the landscape. Passing the entrance hall, there are three glass enclosures that allow you to look at the dependencies of the sunken tanks, and a large terrace that allows the view towards the vineyards. Down the spiral ramp that submerges into the earth, you can see the wine production process. The winery has small tanks with a maximum capacity of 5000 liters are fed by a gravitational process from the terrace.
Stand out wine: The EQ SYRAH is the first Syrah (Shiraz), coming from a terroir of cold weather in Chile, thus giving rise to a new category for the country. The EQ Syrah vintage 2004 (91 pts.), was the first Chilean Syrah to be chosen as one of the TOP 100 wines of the world by the prestigious magazine Wine Spectator, in 2006.
More information: http://www.matetic.com/
8. Viña Almaviva
Architecture: The winery design seeks to combine industrial work, in a simple and clear manner. The covers are based on a series of undulating curves that try to harmonize its exterior image with the surrounding landscape, at the same time responding to the requirements of different sizes and heights of each enclosure. The winery was conceived on the basis of “a fast and easy-to-grow construction system”, which was the product of the company of the French vineyard Baron Bhillippe de Rothschild and Viña Concha y Toro de Chile, who contemplated the construction of new wineries for the installation of a first-class wine processing plant.
Stand out wine: the Almaviva 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon / Carmenère. The 1996 Almaviva harvest was a unique premiere wine for a Chilean wine. It was made in conjunction with Mouton Rothschild, one of the Bordeaux’s Premier Cru Classé. Almaviva continues to be one of the best terroirs for Cabernet in Chile.
More information: http://www.almavivawinery.com/
9. Viña del Maipo
Architecture: This project arose from the need of Viña Maipo to have a space to receive their visits, focusing mainly on their clients and specialized journalists who come interested in seeing and touring the vineyard. From this, the Tasting House was developed, which is inspired by its forms and foundations by the variables of the place, particularly the esplanade with two marked geographical features: the river basin and the hill. The house is located at the foot of a hill following the geometry of its skirt and using it as a backrest, thus generating “a forward and a back” to the property, favoring views towards the opening of the surrounds and the basin, then closing off towards the hill. The architectural form is based on a simple cradle volume that responds to the sequential aspects of the visit: the tasting room, the living room, the dining room and the terrace.
Stand out wine: The Vitral Reserve Syrah is a deep color with purple nuances of plum and blackberry aromas, flavors and notes of chocolate, full texture and soft tannins.
More information: http://www.vinamaipo.com/
10. Viña Concha y Toro
Location: Pirque, Metropolitan Area / Stand out building: Wine Cellar / Architect: No information
Architecture: The Concha y Toro vineyard is a century-old winery that does not stand out because of an architect in particular or for the innovative of its construction. But rather, its traditional enclosures keep the popular legend of Casillero del Diablo, making it the most visited Chilean winery and the second most important tourist spot in Chile in terms of number of visits per year. Its construction made of “Cal and Canto”, material, is of Spanish origin and was typically used in Chile in the XVIII and XIX centuries. The winery has endured through the passage of time, tremors and earthquakes, without damage. This mixture of lime, sand and egg white was used to adhere the bricks and adobes of the cellar, generates a larger structure next to huge arches. The cellar, 14 meters deep, has a single door and several vents. The temperature inside varies between 14 degrees in winter and 17 degrees in summer without having air conditioning. It has a maicillo soil that is watered every week to maintain a high humidity that varies between 70% and 100%.
Stand out wine: Don Melchor is the most recognized Chilean icon wine in the world. It was ranked with 94 points, standing out as the best Cabernet Sauvignon of the 2014 harvest in Chile’s latest report published by The Wine Advocate, website of noted critic Robert Parker.
More information: https://www.conchaytoro.com
11. Viña Ventolera
Architecture: The Vinos Ventolera winery is located at the highest point of the estate and was built using renewable materials, under the premise of having an optimum environmental and gravitational conditions to produce premium wines. The winery aims at producing wine in a sustainable way, taking advantage of the wind, slopes, and sunshine, and the other the natural energies produced by the site itself. The winery construction seeks to create a dialogue with the different parts of the winery with the wind generator, ordering the program according to the cradles; those of greater crust like the vintage yard and the fermentation room hall, the central piece of the winery, and then the smaller crust like guard, services, cellars and the cold room sectors.
Stand out wine: The 2013 Cerro Alegre Sauvignon Blanc is the first vintage wine produced by Ventolera. It is a sauvignon of very high range and very limited production. It comes from the coastal valley of Leyda that has been validated in the world as an outstanding source for quality white sauvignons. It has an aromatic complexity with fresh notes of tomato leaves and smoky and mineral aromas.
More information: http://www.gvvterroirs.com/
12. Viña Haras de Pirque
Location: Pirque, Valle Maipo, Región Metropolitana / Stand out building: : Wine cellar / Architect: Jaime Burgos
Architecture: The Viña Haras de Pirque winery´s structure was inspired by a large horseshoe, which symbolizes the confluence of a passion for horses and wine. The winery buildings climb in an iconic way up the slope of the hill in which they are located. As for the materials, the construction is made of concrete with color incorporated pigment. The winemaking process is done in a gravitational way.
Stand out wine: The Cabernet Sauvignon HUSSONET is named in honor of one of the most successful fine blood racehorses in Chile owned by Haras de Pirque. The wine stands out for its great identity as a Pirque terroir.
More information: http://www.harasdepirque.com/
13. Viña Chocalán
Location: Melipilla, Metropolitan Region / Stand out building: Wine cellar / Architect: Marianne Balze & Teodoro Fernández (Landscape)
Architecture: The Chocalán Winery is built on the hillside with the aim of taking advantage of its location to be able to perform a gravitational winemaking process to produce high-quality wines. The project sought to harmonize the oenological concept with an Architectonic design, mimicking the curves of the surrounding hills in an attempt to tastefully integrate the buildings with their surrounds. The interior of the wine cellar allows for the development of the wine cycle, while the exterior is coated with glued laminated wood with exposed concrete.
Stand out wine: Chocalán´s Origin Syrah Gran Reserva (Harvest 2014) was a finalist in La Grande Degustation of Montreal in 2016, being in position number 9 of a total of 150 Syrahs from around the world. This Syrah is concentrated and spicy, with shades of cassis, violets and dark chocolate, reflecting the terroir potential of the coastal zone of the Maipo and San Antonio valleys.
More information: https://chocalanwines.com/web/
14. Viña Pérez Cruz
Location: Huelquén, Valle de Maipo Alto, Región Metropolitana / Stand out building: Bodega / Architect: José Cruz Ovalle
Architecture: The Viña Pérez Cruz vineyard was designed with the aim of obtaining the best possible quality, using natural and organic materials. The construction was entirely put together with native wood of the radiata pine, creating arches with the branches of the trees that allow for a wind passage between them. It also has bases of pirca, as was typical the Inca´s original constructions in the area. Through the use of laminated wood, a space of 143 meters in length and 11 high was created, reaching a total of 6,000 square meters of cellar that is composed of two central naves. The use of curved wood permits the temperature to be maintained in the cellar, generating air currents which allow a temperate and optimum climate for producing the best wine. The cellar has an underground guard room where the temperature and humidity are naturally controlled and where there is capacity for 5,000 barrels. The use of skylights and interior corridors give a touch of naturalness and environmental care.
Stand out wine: The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva is a wine that comes entirely from the Liguai Fund and has helped position Viña Pérez Cruz on a worldwide scale. This year received 95 points at the Decanter World Wine Awards and was awarded “Best value Chilean Red Bordeaux Varietals”
More information: https://www.perezcruz.com/
15. Viña Morandé
Location: Casablanca, Valparaíso Region / Stand out building: Productive services / Architect: Martín Hurtado
Architecture: The winery´s Masterplan sprawls over 1000 Ha of ravines, water reservoirs, hills, and vineyards. The project gave way to the Productive Services buildings of the Viña Morandé, which emerged as one of the first initiatives. The idea was to generate a coherent order that contemplates all the actions of a wine project for one of the most outstanding wineries in Chile. The productive services buildings were designed with a geometric and rigorous order which contrasts the nature of sinuous forms of the topography in which it is inserted. It is composed of two inclined and transverse volumes that surround a large inner courtyard, like a body not built that frames a straight horizon. It proposes a structural system based on economic and local materials that could be used in future constructions within the different places of the wine field.
Stand out wine: The 2012 Morandé Gran Reserva Syrah received the “Best Chilean Red Wine” in the “Best Wine” category in the Korean Wine Challenge contest in which 814 wines from 18 different countries took part.
More information: http://www.morande.cl/web/
16. Viña VIK
Architecture: The bodega VIK, designed for both wine production and to allow for visitors to walk through the winemaking process and taste its result, is a visual experience that redefines the wine experience. The design of the cellar has a single transparent fabric roof, which allows natural light to penetrate the cellar and thus operated without artificial lighting. The access to the cellar is via a large square with a small gradient of 2 degrees and water running over the space, which delivers an additional element of cooling. Some footbridges cut this square, allowing visitors to walk through this water-filled landscape. Most of the building is underground for the natural cooling of the wine during the process of elaboration of the same, maintaining a constant temperature of 57 degrees through the use of the natural thermal amplitude of the valley.
Stand out wine: VIK Wine is an elegant and complex ensemble of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah. Each year its production corresponds to the best blend of the harvest.
More information: http://www.vik.cl/
17. Viña Clos Apalta
Location: Apalta, Valle de Colchagua, Región del Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins / Stand out building: Bodega / Architect: Roberto Benavente
Architecture: The Clos Apalta Vineyard is nestled like a birds nest in the hillslopes. The architecture achieves an exceptional integration to the natural environment. The construction of 4600 m2, executed largely with the same rock extracted from the Cordillera de Los Andes. From its initiation, the project counted on the advice of the French wine expert Michel Rolland. Its design allows for a totally gravitational vinification process. Its design is in elliptical form with a facade of 24 beams of wood of raulí and whose meaning is the process of 24 months while the vinification lasts. The process inside the warehouse goes from level to level. On the first floor is a viewpoint and terrace overlooking the constellation of the southern cross, in the second is the yard of the vintage. Then in the third level, the extracted grapes are located in 21 wooden vats to start the process of fermentation and once the new wine is ready, it descends to the fourth floor where they are stored in 400 barrels of French oak for their second year of guard. Finally, in the fifth level, assembly and bottling take place.
Stand out wine: Clos Apalta is an icon wine, made organic and biodynamic. Its harvesting process is totally by hand and its wine are not clarified or filtered.
More information: http://www.lapostollewines.com/
18. Viña Montes
Location: Valle de Colchagua, Bernardo O’Higgins Region / Stand out building: Wine Cellar / Architect: Claro Architects
Architecture: The winery was inaugurated in 2004 and was designed under the principles of Feng Shui, which orders the elements in the correct position so that everything converges and is strengthened. The building has a capacity of 2,300,000 liters for Viña Montes Icons wines. It is one of the few wineries where all the vintage is made on the roof for a gravitational production from the deck towards the vats. This warehouse seems to be submerged since it was covered with earth, leaving a green mantle that rises up to the ceiling. Being located at the bottom of the vineyards, it provides a panoramic view of the upper slopes, melted into the hillside and its attractive natural surroundings, as well as the wine processes that develop in its interior.
Stand out wine: The Montes Alpha M, is the first “Ultra Premium” wine from Chile. Along with the Syrah Montes Folly and the Carmenère Purple Angel, they are the three wines that have had instant success and represent Viña Montes’ obsession with creating the best wines of the highest quality.
More information: https://www.monteswines.com/es/
19. Viña Cono Sur
Location: Chimbarongo, Valle de Colchagua, Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins Region/ Stand out building: Wine cellar / Architect: Claro + Westendarp Architects
Architecture: The Viña Cono Sur Winery boasts the highest technology and has all the necessary tools to provide the oenological equipment for the production of high-quality wines. The building has a total capacity to produce 12 million liters in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and the storeroom can keep 4,000 barrels also equipped with temperature and humidity control. The construction consists of frames types, with a light of 20 meters and a free height of 7.8 meters, with a distance between them of 6 meters. The structure is made of pillars type drawer and straight with a variable section.
Stand out wine: The Pinot Noir Línea Premium Single Vineyard y Ocio is Cono Sur´s Iconic Pinot Noir In 1999 the Southern Cone started the “Pinot Noir Project” with the idea of producing the best Pinot Noir of Chile through a vinification that followed the old traditions of the Burgundy.
More information: http://www.conosur.com
20. Viña Vía
Architecture: The tasting room (La Sala de Degustación) was conceived by the winery´s architect as a response to the need of the vineyard to have an infrastructure that would be able to reveal to visitors the geography and characteristics of the San Rafael Fund vineyard. This space had to act as a contemplative retreat for tasting the vineyards wines, which was disconnected from the bustle of the wine production, and the other tasks and programs of the winery. Under this premise, the project was located in the largest of the three existing lagoons within a field of more than 1,500 ha, which also has a native forest and the view of the Descabezado volcano, the vineyards, and its landscape. It was decided that the room and its terraces would float on the water of the lagoon to enhance the view to its natural attractions. The tasting room hangs from the upper beam by the tensors of the metallic structure supported on 4 central pillars and recessed to the quincho without touching the water and the nature of the place. Meanwhile, the service vessel was placed on the ground as well as the access vessel with the shape of a cross turned at the edge of contact with water.
Stand out wine: Las Almas is one of the most iconic wines of Viña Vía. Its vine, Carmenére, is grown only in Chile and ensures the highest quality grapes grown in the San Rafael Vineyard are used, delivering a fruity wine with ripe tannins
More information: http://viawines.com/
Bonus: Fábrica de Barricas Nadalie
Location: San Bernardo, Metropolitan Region / Stand out building: Barrel Factory / Architect: Martín Hurtado
Architecture: The French oak barrel factory for Nadalie wines, arises from the study of the production process used and that defines the logical sequence of their work. It proposes a unique workshop around a central courtyard of lighting and ventilation that establishes a pedestrian perimeter and that directly connects the workshop with the offices in the public front of the facilities. The interest of this project is to reconcile the simple and clear order of an industrial workplace, with a sequential, direct and elegant route for an eventual visitor. It is an exclusive factory, innovative in its production process, incorporating within the design the ease of growth by stages. Two materials, wood, and concrete are used, which are deployed to accommodate each use according to their qualities.
More information: http://www.nadalie.cl/