After a long period of study and joint project design by developer Jesús Baigorri and architect Iñaki Aspiazu, the project was executed following criteria aimed at achieving product quality above all: returning to traditional systems; recovering gravity as the main ally to avoid use of pumps, ducts, and other machinery which might damage the grapes; and maintaining the selected grapes in perfect state for fermentation.
The dominant spirit in the final work, despite its formal qualities, is practical, due to its subordination to material functionality criteria, very far from the gratuitousness nature of many formalist works.
One of the foremost objectives was the minimisation of the impact of a production building with such an intense activity on the natural environment of the Álava village of Samaniego. For this reason, the implementation of the architecture in the landscape was subtle, adapted to the existing topography: activity takes place underground, from a position of respect and subordination with respect to its environment.
A service and parking platform was created below the A-12 Vitoria-Logroño road, maintaining the protection distance. Visitors to the Winery cross a bridge to access a glass box that is separated from its surroundings by a water sheet, showing a wonderful view of the vineyards, the village of Samaniego, and the Cantabria Mountains.
This box, which is empty in order to emphasise its environment, welcomes visitors, insulating them from the external world. It seeks to provide a peaceful atmosphere before the tour of the Winery, which is meant to educate and surprise visitors viewing the various production processes.
This crystal glass lantern is covered in zinc, which provides a single focus of attention and reference. It is grounded on concrete walls covered in wooden boards that rise out of the ground, protecting it from sun exposure.
The lower level includes a reception area, a projection room, a wine tasting room, an exhibition area, and a wine and artisanal product shop. The administrative area and the laboratory are also on this level. Partitions are transparent, thus allowing full permeability between the various spaces.
The entire production area can be seen from this level. All the stages of the wine making process take place in this large space, which can be viewed in a didactic order that starts with grape reception and follows with grape selection, fermentation in tanks, pressing, and end in the Barrel Room, in a detached area that provides the ideal conditions for ageing.
The cross-section provided the basis for the work, bringing together the ground profiles, the access points for grape reception, the various production processes, and the product exit. The cross-section thus served as the drawing board and basis for the project process, unlike traditional projects based on the ground layout.