Ornellaia Celebrates 30th Anniversary of First Vintage (1985) and 10th Anniversary of Vendemmia d’Artista

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Ornellaia 2015 Vintage is dubbed “Il Carisma” 9 rare lots will be auctioned off during a gala evening at the Victoria & Albert Museum on May 23

Ornellaia Carisma 2015 by William Kentridge

To commemorate the 30th vintage of iconic Italian wine Ornellaia and the 10th edition of the Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project, the iconic Bolgheri estate invited world-renowned artist William Kentridge to create special-edition labels centered on the theme of “carisma,” or “charisma.” The art, created to represent the character of the vintage itself, will adorn a limited number of Ornellaia 2015 wine bottles. Continuing its partnership with Sotheby’s, Ornellaia will donate 9 rare lots to be auctioned off during a gala evening at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and all proceeds will be used to support the arts and art education at the V&A.

For this year’s edition of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista – a project launched in 2009 to showcase the unique relationship between fine wine and contemporary art – South African artist William Kentridge developed a site-specific art installation, designed a limited series of 111 large-format bottles, and created a limited-edition label that will appear on one of the six bottles in each case of Ornellaia. As explained by William Kentridge, the images on the labels depict the work of winemaking, specifically the unique combination of craft and processes involved in the vendemmia, or the wine harvest.

“The secateurs come from a memory of the one occasion I took part in a Tuscan vendemmia… when I spent six months in San Casciano outside of Florence…” Kentridge recounts. “The aspects of wine-making that combine both manual craft and mechanical processes suggested the transformation of people into machines and machines into workers…. The drawings are done on pages from various old Italian cash books found in flea markets and second-hand shops in the Tuscan area.”

The theme “Il Carisma,” or “charisma,” was selected for the 2015 vintage, as it perfectly captures the stunning spirit and energy of this wine. Its rich, deep color suggests a wine of great texture and intensity, while the fruit-rich nose shows both ripeness and freshness, with hints of classic balsamic and spice. On the palate, it is rich, dense, and full-bodied, with an exceptionally tannic texture that is simultaneously dense and velvety along the palate. The lengthy finish concludes with an impression of firmness and delicate hints of spice.

The classic flavor profile and exceptional character of this particular vintage can be attributed to the fact that 2015 was a particularly well-balanced harvest season, with relatively normal, almost textbook-like weather patterns. Winemaker and Estate Director Axel Heinz explains, “Like people of great ‘carisma’ (charisma), wines of great vintages know how to impose themselves naturally, without force, their balance allowing them to shine without having to flaunt themselves.”

On May 23, the spotlight will shift to the celebratory event, a benefit auction featuring 9 rare lots, which will include the special bottles created by William Kentridge for the Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma. Stephen Mould, Sotheby’s Senior Director and Head of the European Wine Department, will preside over the gala dinner and auction, and all funds raised will be donated in their entirety to the host sponsoring the event, the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London.

V&A Director Tristram Hunt states, “The V&A is thrilled to host Ornellaia, Sotheby’s, and the renowned artist William Kentridge, as they present the 10th edition of Vendemmia d’Artista. We are honored that Ornellaia have chosen the V&A for this spectacular event and we are hugely grateful for its generous support.”

Stephen Mould continues, “I admire how William Kentridge interprets Ornellaia 2015 “Il Carisma” through his allegorical language – the artworks he has created for the bottles and the estate transform the spirit of Ornellaia through visual art and make concrete his interpretation of Ornellaia 2015’s character. This vintage, born during an optimal harvest season, is set to be one of Ornellaia’s greatest.” Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine, further elaborates, “Sotheby’s Wine is proud to participate in our tenth collaboration with Ornellaia’s superb Vendemmia d’Artista art program… These unique large-format bottles will find homes in new cellars and will always remind their new owners of the joys of bringing wine, food, art and friendship together.”

Ornellaia CEO Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja concludes, “Today, as Vendemmia d’Artista marks its 10th year, it continues to attract funds for the restoration of artworks belonging to our universal heritage. In just first nine editions we have succeeded in donating almost two million euros across the globe; just a small drop perhaps, but there is much more to come.”

About Vendemmia d’Artista
Vendemmia d’Artista celebrates the unique character of each new vintage of Ornellaia. Every year since the release of Ornellaia 2006 in May 2009, a contemporary artist creates a site-specific work of art and a series of limited edition labels, drawing inspiration from the word chosen by the Winemaker to describe the character of the new vintage. The Vendemmia d’Artista project includes a label created by the Artist for a single bottle in each wooden case of Ornellaia (containing six 750ml bottles). As in previous years, the project provides for a limited edition of 111 large-size bottles (100 Double Magnums (3L), 10 Imperials (6L) and 1 Salmanazar (9L) each individually numbered and personally signed by the artist.

About the Victoria and Albert Museum
The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections – which span over 5,000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium – continue to intrigue, inspire and inform. The Museum holds many of the UK’s national collections and houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewelry, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance.

Media Contact
Claire Hennessy
Colangelo & Partners, Italian Portfolio Director
chennessy(at)colangelopr(dot)com

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Eleonore Podda
Colangelo & Partners
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