Mezzacorona’s Cittadella del Vino – an architectural and social project

Mezzacorona Cooperative winery in northern Italy
Mezzacorona Cooperative winery in northern Italy

Mezzacorona has, since 1904, been a beacon of quality-driven sustainable winemaking in northern Italy. The cooperative winery – which currently has 1500 members, through which it manages 2900 hectares – has set a benchmark for socially and environmentally aware practices over its 120 years of history, seeing itself as custodian of this unique landscape and community.

The company’s growth and evolution drove, in the last decade of the 20th century, the need to expand, think strategically about how to optimise the use of resources, and increase overall efficiency and scalability. It seemed inevitable that Mezzacorona should have facilities which, while answering to the functional and technical requirements of a modern winery, would also reflect the fundamental values that drive the cooperative.

Tasked with this brief was architect and urban planner Alberto Cecchetto, who set about designing the new winery in the early 1990s. Instead of a single building, Cecchetto devised a village-like compound for an unused 11-hectare plot nestled between the hills of Trentino and the vineyards of the Piana Rotaliana. The different functional units – production winery, sparkling cellar, auditorium, offices, warehouse and shop – dialogue with each other and with the Alpine landscape.

Vineyards at Mezzacorona cooperative winery in northern Italy

The project came to life between 1995 and 2000, becoming a physical expression of Mezzacorona’s philosophy and success. The essence of the project adhered to the principles of sustainability and function-based design, with the relationship between the building and landscape creating a specific sense of place.

Cecchetto took inspiration from Trentino’s building traditions and local materials to shape a contemporary project, in harmony with the surrounding vegetation and stoney hills. The use of lightweight wood and galvanised iron structures contribute to the building’s low carbon footprint, while the cellar is buried for natural temperature and humidity control, minimising energy use.

The soil on top of the winery is planted with an experimental vineyard, inviting the landscape to become one with the structures; for this, after all, is the home of ‘Alpine wines’ in which the wild aromas of the Trentino hills and the mineral backbone of their escarpments play a central role.

Above all, the Cittadella del Vino represents the consummation of a shared dream; the place where the expertise of winemakers bring to fruition the long hours toiled by all of the growers that work this land. Each one of them is an irreplaceable piece of the terroir that makes Mezzacorona wines unique.


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