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Ornellaia's 2016 Vendemmia d'Artista Auction Raises $312,000

Posted on September 16, 2019

Venice, Italy— One of Italy’s most highly regarded estates, Ornellaia, is pleased to announce that on September 13 at the headquarters of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the spectacular Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, a ceremony was held to marked the conclusion of the Ornellaia Vendemmia d'Artista 2016 "La Tensione" online auction, hosted by Sotheby's. The initiative, conceived by Ornellaia in collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, made it possible to collect $312.000 with profits entirely allocated to the "Mind's Eye" program.

The "Mind's Eye" program, conceived by the Guggenheim’s education department, helps blind and visually impaired people to experience art through the use of all the senses. This promotes the development of creative impressions, emotional connections and memories, the perception of which lasts over time. As in art, the appreciation of great wines requires the involvement of all the senses. The sharing of this idea has led Ornellaia to support the growth of this particular program. The donations collected through Ornellaia’s Vendemmia d'Artista project enable the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to further develop the activities of the "Mind's Eye" program with the aim of spreading the model to other art institutions, ensuring that its excellence continues to guide the museum's programing for the blind and visually impaired throughout the world.

During the closing ceremony of the auction, which gave bidders the chance to win nine precious 6-liter Imperials and the only 9-liter Salmanazar of Ornellaia Vendemmia d'Artista “La Tensione” 2016, designed by the internationally renowned artist Shirin Neshat, Ornellaia’s CEO, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaia declared with satisfaction: "The appreciation of great wines, as well as the enjoyment of art, requires the involvement of all the senses, and that's why we decided to support a high-value project like “Mind's Eye”. In so doing, we are able to help adults with disabilities to experience art by means of activities which, through the use of the senses, provide a model of access to art that can be implemented worldwide and a legacy for future generations”. Words shared by Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, who added: "The founding mission of the Guggenheim has been to collect and exhibit art that was not simply modern, not just new, but revolutionary. Thanks to Ornellaia, we are able involve an even wider public in this mission".

Tension is the character chosen to define the wine produced by the 2016 grape harvest, a highly successful vintage which, according to Ornellaia’s Estate Director, Axel Heinz "highlights all the virtues of the climate of Bolgheri: abundant sunshine, not excessive heat, a dry summer which allows the grapes to reach a perfect level of ripeness, concentration and sufficient rain to avoid water stress. All these elements combined allow us to obtain a perfectly mature and opulent wine, firm and intense; opposite forces create a sense of deep vigour which we like to call "tension".

These are the notes on which Shirin Neshat worked to provide his interpretation of Tension. The artist was inspired by the Persian poet Omar Khayy?m, who claimed that wine should be "enjoyed during our short time on earth". This theme is shared using elements of Middle Eastern culture such as female faces, hands and bodies decorated with Persian calligraphy and henna decorations in continuity with the poetics of the artist.

About Ornellaia 

Ornellaia’s philosophy considers the birth of the wines to be the truest expression of their terroir. The grapes for Ornellaia are selected by hand, and picked in the estate's vineyards in Bolgheri, on the Tuscan coast. The varying natures of the estate's terroirs, marine, alluvial and volcanic, are ideal for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The Estate extends over 115 hectares along the Tuscan coast, just a short distance from the medieval hamlet of Bolgheri and the famed cypress-lined avenue ‘Viale dei Cipressi’. The constant work of the Ornellaia team and the ideal microclimatic and geological characteristics have brought the wines great international success since the first vintage of Ornellaia in 1985. In 2001, the 1998 Ornellaia was declared Wine of the Year by the American journal Wine Spectator. In 2011 the German publication Der Feinschmecker awarded Ornellaia its most sought-after award, the ‘Weinlegende’. Ornellaia has received considerable recognition in the national and international press, and is consistently ranked among the top estates by Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, James Suckling, Antonio Galloni, Bruce Sanderson and the Italian Wine Guides: Gambero Rosso, Espresso, and Veronelli

About Vendemmia d’Artista

The Ornellaia Vendemmia d'Artista project celebrates the exclusive character of each new Ornellaia vintage. Every year, starting with the release of Ornellaia 2006 in May 2009, a contemporary artist has signed a work of art and a series of limited edition labels, drawing inspiration from a word chosen by the winemaker and which describes the character of the new vintage.

The project provides that in each case of Ornellaia, one of the six bottles (750 ml) bears the label created by the artist. As in previous years, the project includes a limited edition of 111 large-size bottles (one hundred 3-litre Double Magnums, ten 6-litre Imperial bottles and one 9-litre Salmanazar) numbered and signed personally by the artist. Every year a selection of these bottles with exclusive labels, designed and signed personally by the artist and extremely sought after by art and wine collectors, are auctioned at SOTHEBY'S, for both charity and commercial purposes; the proceeds are donated to art foundations around the world. From ORNELLAIA 2006 to the present day, a total of over two million dollars has been shared out between the Whitney Museum in New York, the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the H2 Foundation in Hong Kong and Shanghai, the Royal Opera House in London, the AGO Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York.


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