Visitors to the Langhe, Piedmont's prime winemaking region, can add another venue to their itinerary. Ceretto, one of the region's top producers, opened the doors to a new educational wine center May 16, located in its Monsordo Bernardina winery.
According to Roberta Ceretto, who looks after Ceretto's cultural projects, the focus of the center, located on the outskirts of Alba, will be to introduce visitors to the wines of the Langhe, including the region's most prestigious appellations, Barolo and Barbaresco.
"We looked to Napa Valley wineries for our inspiration, where wineries are equipped for real wine tourism," said Ceretto. "In the Langhe, we have beautiful scenery and great wines; all that is lacking is a bit of inspiration and organization."
The education center is part of a complete winery restoration project that took two years to complete. Visitors will learn about Langhe wines before enjoying a tasting.
At its heart is the Acino (or "grape berry"), a futuristic oval, transparent bubble, leading out from the winery's terrace, which gives visitors the chance to taste Ceretto wines while suspended over the vineyards. The center also contains a large hall, suitable for conferences, cultural events and presentations.
The Ceretto family is noted for constructing bold, contemporary architectural monuments within its various winemaking properties throughout the region.
Their 27-acre Bricco Rocche estate in Castiglione Falletto, home to Ceretto's top Barolos (Brunate, Prapò and Bricco Rocche), has a tasting room called "the Cube," a high-tech, tilted glass cube. In the nearby Brunate vineyard, is "the Chapel," a brightly colored restoration of an old chapel, painted by English artist David Tremlett and American artist Sol LeWitt.
"When my grandfather was setting up the company 80 years ago, he erected functional buildings," said Ceretto. "Whenever we build today, we try to incorporate something that's both contemporary and of artistic merit."
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