Norman Foster & Partners
The Bodegas Portia is located in the Ribera del Duero, one of Spain's foremost wine-producing regions, approximately 150 kilometers north of Madrid.
The project was an opportunity to look at the building type,
using the natural topography of the site to aid the winemaking
process and create the optimum working conditions, while reducing
the building's energy demands and its visual impact on the
The winery is designed to take advantage of the sloping terrain,
using gravity to aid movement of the grapes within the building,
maximizing efficiency and minimizing damage to the grapes. The
concrete structure is clad in shingles of Corten steel.
The building's trefoil design expresses the three main stages of production: fermentation in steel vats; aging in oak barrels; and finally, aging in bottles. These are controlled by an operations hub at the core.
The wings containing the barrels and bottle cellar are partly
embedded into the ground to produce the most favorable
environmental conditions for aging the wine, while the fermentation
wing is exposed, allowing carbon dioxide to be released. The
wineyard has a production capacity of one million bottles per
The site has extremely cold winters, as well as hot summers with limited rainfall. The deep overhang of the roof canopy provides shade and the building is designed to regulate the internal temperatures, at the same time as reducing energy demand.
By partly embedding the building within the landscape, its
visual impact is minimized and the passive environmental benefits
are maximized - the roof incorporates photovoltaic cells and the
thermal mass of the concrete structure helps to control interior
At the heart of the winery a raised public gallery extends into
glazed mezzanine areas, which project deep into each wing, allowing
visitors to enjoy elevated views of the different processes.
Between the wings is a light-filled public reception and
administration area, where extensive terraces and pools of water
overlook the vineyards. Lined with deep-stained old wine barrel
slats, the public areas are designed to evoke the rich tradition of
winemaking in the region.
Bodegas Portia is our first winery, so we had no preconceptions about how it should work. It was an opportunity to start from first principles - to examine the different stages of wine production and to try to create the ideal conditions for them to unfold. The wine was the starting point, as well as the beautiful setting in Ribera del Duero. Using materials that draw on the region's winemaking traditions, with public spaces open to the landscape, will enhance the visitor experience.
Facts about Bodegas Portia
Gross area: 12,500 m2
Nadine Pieper Bosch
Ana Agag Longo
Juan Gabriel La Malfa
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer:
Photographed by Thomas Mayer
Last updated: December 19, 2013
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