Ornellaia Presents the 10th Edition of its Vendemmia d’Artista Project on the 30th Anniversary of the First Vintage, 1985

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William Kentridge Interprets Ornellaia 2015 “Il Carisma” Benefit auction of Ornellaia Wines at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London brings total of £123.000 (€ 140.000). Ornellaia has raised more than 2 million euros to benefit art foundations and museums across the globe through the project to date.

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Ornellaia was in the spotlight at a benefit auction of 9 lots comprised of special bottles created by William Kentridge for Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma - Vendemmia d’Artista. Stephen Mould, Head of Sotheby’s Wine, Europe, presided at a gala dinner and auction which raised funds to benefit the host sponsoring the event, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, directed by Tristram Hunt.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Vendemmia d’Artista project, Ornellaia invited South African artist William Kentridge to interpret the defining character of the vintage, “Il Carisma” (Charisma). Kentridge is internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, sculptures, animations and performances, which he uses to transmute sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories.

Kentridge also created a site-specific masterpiece for the estate, customizing a limited series of 111 large-format bottles and designing special edition labels, including a special edition label for a unique Salmanazar bottle (9 litres) using circular anamorphic digital print. In addition – to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Vendemmia d’Artista project – the special edition label will be reproduced on all Magnums and on the lids of their wooden cases. The drawings on the labels were executed on the pages of old Italian cash books found in flea markets and second-hand shops in the Tuscan area.

The centrepiece of the project is the wine: Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma. The 30th vintage of Ornellaia truly lives up to its name. The fruit of a particularly well-balanced harvest season, 2015 is without doubt one of the great Ornellaia vintages. The characteristic deep color announces a wine of great texture and intensity, followed by a fruit-rich nose that is ripe and fresh at the same time, emphasized by classic balsamic and spicy hints. It is rich, dense and full-bodied on the palate, with an exceptional tannic texture. Dense, velvety and refined, this texture extends throughout the palate. The lengthy finish concludes with an impression of firmness and delicate hints of spice.

“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.”
Axel Heinz, Winemaker and Estate Director.

“The images on the Ornellaia labels are essentially about the work of making wine, and mainly of the vendemmia, the grape 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 Florence with my family. This made me understand the human labour involved in making the wine; though what I remember most strongly is the pleasure of the lunch prepared in the vineyards by the local farmer’s wife. A depth of flavour made by the combination of work and terroir. The aspects of wine-making that combine both manual craft and mechanical processes suggested the transformation of people into machines and machines into workers. This is part of an ongoing series of drawings and other work about human labour. The drawings are done on pages from various old Italian cash books found in flea markets and second-hand shops in the Tuscan area.”
William Kentridge.

“South African artist William Kentridge is a true Renaissance Man, a modern-day da Vinci who can lend his hand to drawing, printmaking, animation, sculpture, set design, opera, performance – the list goes on! The designs he has produced for Ornellaia combine so many elements of his work, including his repurposing of old Italian cash books and ongoing exploration of human labour and mechanics, which lend themselves so well to the tradition of winemaking, and to the history and impeccable standards of the Ornellaia estate in particular. The labels he has designed for Ornellaia draw on his Shadow Procession series, as seen in the public mural ‘Triumphs and Laments’ on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, and his latest performance work ‘The Head and the Load’, which premiers in London this summer. One lucky bidder will even get to take home an anamorphic digital print, which only assumes its proper form only when reflected in a mirrored cylinder, in this case making clever use of the form of the Salmanazar wine bottle itself. I think it is no underestimation to say Kentridge is one of the most exciting and versatile artists in the world today, as evidenced in this very special project.”
Hannah O’Leary, Sotheby’s Head of Modern and Contemporary African Art.

“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 honoured that Ornellaia have chosen the V&A for this spectacular event and we are hugely grateful for its generous support.”
Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, Victoria & Albert Museum.

“Sotheby’s Wine is proud to participate in our tenth collaboration with Ornellaia’s superb Vendemmia d’Artista art program. We have enjoyed incredibly special events in New York (2010 & 2017), Hong Kong (2012), London (2013), Toronto (2014), Basel (2015) and Los Angeles (2016), each of which was wholly unique and exciting, in the same way that every vintage has its own distinct character. The evening combines great wines and great works of art, culminating in a live benefit auction, where we will raise funds for the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). 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. This is a time for fun, celebration and generosity.”
Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby's Wine.

“Sotheby’s is honoured to support the 10th anniversary edition of Ornellaia’s Vendemmia d’Artista, a wonderful project which stimulates the senses with its unique fusion of art and wine. The marriage of one of Italy’s greatest wines with a leading contemporary artist for an excellent cause is a celebratory event, and this year’s special edition scales the heights in bringing together an exceptional vintage, the renowned artist William Kentridge, and a world-famous and beloved museum.”
Stephen Mould, Senior Director, Head of Sotheby’s Wine, Europe.

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

The curators of the Vendemmia d’Artista project are Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, Director of Maxxi Museum in Rome, and Maria Alicata.

About Vendemmia d’Artista

The Vendemmia d’Artista project celebrates the unique character of each new Ornellaia vintage. Each year since the release of Ornellaia 2006 in May 2009, a contemporary artist has created 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 signed by the artist. Each year, a selection of the custom-created bottles, with their labels designed and signed personally by the artist, is the object of both charity and for-profit auctions conducted by SOTHEBY’S, all extremely coveted occasions by art and wine collectors; the auction proceeds are donated to art foundations around the world. From ORNELLAIA 2006 to the present, we have donated a charity auction total of more two million euros, which have gone to the Whitney Museum in New York, the Museo Poldi Pezzoli 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, Fondation Beyeler of Basel, Hammer Museum of Los Angeles and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation of New York.

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 5000 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.

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Claire Hennessy