For a few years now, wineries and vineyards have been factoring architecture into their brands as a way to increase the exclusivity of their offerings. When visitors come to a winery, not only can they expect to sample some of the delicious wines produced on site, but they can now also have contemporary gastronomic experiences, luxurious stays in boutique hotels attached to the vineyard, and tours of the grounds and wine-producing equipment. To top it all off, these new features are often housed in sleek, modern buildings that epitomize the sophistication of viticulture and all its trappings.
Such is the case with a new winery complex in Krasnodar Krai, a Russian wine town in the country’s North Caucasus region near the Black Sea. Located on a hilltop, the new winery of the locally famous Gai-Kozdor wine label was envisaged as a one-stop-shop for visitors to the area, and it includes not only the winery and wine production facilities, but also a museum, entertainment and hospitality areas, and an educational sector. This type of complex is common in many modern wine towns, from Bordeaux in France to Mendoza in Argentina, and the Russians are keen to hold their own against their international counterparts.
The winery was designed by Russian studio Kleinewelt Architekten. One of the firm’s three founders, Nikolay Pereslegin, explained: “Gai-Kodzor wine is served in any neighboring restaurant, so it was necessary to come up with some ideas that would attract visitors. It is not just a winery, it should be a culture center with its lecture hall, cafe, observation deck and, prospectively, a small hotel. Such a versatile approach is unusual for Europe, to say nothing of Russia.”
The complex is indeed imposing, and everything about it — from its siting at the crest of a hill overlooking the rolling landscapes around it to its planar, pavilion-like appearance achieved by concrete and glass — puts the Gai-Kozdor Winery in a league of its own. The 1500-square-meter complex boasts a strong connection to the external environment by incorporating internal patios and atria into its organization and using large swathes of glass to allow visitors a visual connection to the exterior while they are inside tasting wines. The winery’s pavilion-esque appearance is also due to the fact that it’s been set into the ground to help it blend in more and prevent it from obscuring the natural topography of the landscape.
A large timber deck extends around the perimeter of the winery, allowing guests space to relax and enjoy the sunset. These timber decks also extend into the building’s internal patios, creating a material connection between circulation spaces. Inside, visitors will be guided to different tasting spaces depending on which wine they’re going to sample. These areas are all treated differently to reflect the qualities of the particular wine they offer. Guests can also be taken on tours of the complex and given an in-depth overview of the wine production process from start to finish, as the vineyards from which the grapes are harvested lie just beyond the building itself.