Italian wines have a new place of excellence: the L’Astemia Pentita winery owned by Sandra Vezza, who, as the owner of Gufram, wanted it to be pop and brimming with design

The ultra-modern and pop wine cellar of L’’Astemia Pentita, with walls covered with vine-leaf macro-pattern. It covers a surface of 8,200 sq m, eight times as much as the above-ground building.

In Barolo, the land of the most precious vineyards of the Langhe area, in Northern Italy, Sandra Vezza inaugurated L’Astemia Pentita, a 30-hectare winery with an innovative and sensational cellar, making the dream of a lifetime come true.

Sandra Vezza on the 'Mickey dei Sogni' maxi armchair by Gufram, designed by Studio 65 in 1972, conveys the idea of ‘out-of-scale’

Climbing the Cannubi sweet hill, among very orderly rows of vines with beautiful autumn colors, we are struck by two overlaid “cases” of wine, decorated with graphic elements typical of wine containers: they are the sculptural winery Astemia Pentita, designed by architect Gianni Arnaudo with an exterior counter-current aesthetic. Two wood-clad concrete parallelepipeds house, above ground, a wine shop, a tasting room and a reception.

L’Astemia Pentita rises among the hills and the precious vine rows of Barolo, UNESCO World Heritage site, in Piedmont (Italy)

The 400 square meters of the above-ground volumes stand above the underground part of the cellar, which spreads over two floors on 3,200 square meters, where all the phases of the production process are carried out. A top-down “fall” system accompanies the distribution of the spaces, embellished with decorations recalling grape harvest, bottling, storage and packaging of the bottles.

The passage from the wine cellar of L’’Astemia Pentita leading outdoors

The natural materials such as raffia, rope or very thin gravel used for the interior are traditional and chosen by Sandra Vezza, owner and creator of L’Astemia Pentita. She personally converted to the pleasure and taste of wines, has even designed bottles as a tribute to people, portraying smartly dressed gentlemen and ladies, and the stands, out-of-scale shapes of half-cut bottles.

A room of L’’Astemia Pentita with stands designed by Sandra Vezza and Chignon chairs, designed by LucidiPevere, 2017, for Gebruder Thonet Vienna

“Dynamic even when still,” (this is how her grandmother used to describe her as a little girl), Sandra Vezza, with her great passion for art, design, architecture, wanted to set up the cellar with contemporary audacity, combining the warm aesthetics of Giò Ponti’s Leggera chair or the Chignon chairs by LucidiPevere with some iconic pieces by Gufram, a brand she acquired in 2012, including the Cactus, the Bocca sofa, the Roxanne armchair, the giant Mickey dei Sogni armchair.

Barolo Cannubi DOCG by L’’Astemia Pentita'

She started managing the company founded by her husband producing food-grade and pharmaceutical gelatin as a very young woman and has been working in the world of design with the historic and irreverent Gufram brand, now Sandra Vezza completes the Made in Italy circle, dedicating herself, as an authentic “repentant teetotaler” (this is the meaning of “astemia pentita”), to the excellent wine of her land, producing ten wines, including Barolo Cannubi DOCG, Langhe Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto d’Asti, Riesling and the little known Nascetta, the result of the recovery of native vines. [Text Giulia Bruno – Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti]

Iconic collectible bottles designed by Sandra Vezza, representing a man and a woman in formal attire: the masculine and the feminine sides of wine

L’Astemia Pentita can be visited by appointment, in Barolo, via Crosia 40; wine shop open 7 days a week 10:00 am – 6:30 pm.