Renowned Artist Yutaka Sone Interprets Ornellaia 2013 ‘L’Eleganza’ for the 8th Edition of Vendemmia D’Artista; Benefit Auction Raises 114,000 Euros With All Proceeds Donated to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles

By Warren Woodberry Jr.

Ornellaia, one of Italy’s iconic estates, recently announced in Los Angeles the fulfillment of its 8th edition of Vendemmia d’Artista, a project that showcases the marriage between the world of contemporary art and fine wine.

The wine maker held an exclusive benefit auction at the Hammer Museum in West Beverly Hills which included nine special-edition bottles created by Japanese artist Yutaka Sone to capture the essence of Ornellaia 2013 ‘L’Eleganza’ (Elegance).

Launched in 2009, Vendemmia d’Artista celebrates the unique character of each new vintage of the estate’s flagship wine, Ornellaia, by commissioning an artist of world fame to interpret a theme chosen by the estate and Vendemmia d’Artista art curators Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, Director of the Maxxi Museum in Rome, and Maria Alicata.

“Spring 2013 was much cooler than normal and resulted in later budding and delayed flowering, compared to previous vintages,” explained Axel Heinz, Ornellaia’s winemaker and Estate Director. “In the end, this was a great advantage, since a prolonged summer followed these cool temperatures, offering us textbook growing conditions and perfect ripeness at harvest time.”

Heinz, added what is striking about Ornellaia 2013 is that it has a long and delightfully aromatic finish, which leaves a lasting impression of elegance for the taster.

Sone created a site-specific work of art that is now part of the Ornellaia estate’s contemporary art collection, and exclusive bottle labels, individually signed, that went to dress the 109 large-size bottles of Ornellaia: 100 3-liter double-magnums, 8 6-liter Imperials, and a single 9-liter Salmanazar. In addition, he created a special 750-ml bottle of Ornellaia that will be included in every six-bottle wood box.

“When I began this project, and as I have worked with marble all my life, I knew exactly where I needed to go to interpret L’Eleganza of Ornellaia 2013 vintage,” said Sone. “I decided to visit the marble quarries of Carrara where Michelangelo used to take the stone for his celebrated sculptures. My two dear friends, Luc Tuymans & Rirkrit Tiravanija, accompanied me on this special journey and together we enjoyed a picnic in this magical place, high in the mountains, surrounded by the pure white marble cliffs facing out to the sea and beyond. For me this place epitomizes the sublime elegance of nature and it inspired me as we shared food, great wine, conversation and our close friendship. As you see from the labels I have created, I wanted to interpret the values of sharing, of friendship and the extraordinary uniqueness of this experience.”

The auction took place as part of a gala dinner during which Andrea Fiuczynski, EVP/Chairman, Sotheby’s Americas, oversaw the bidding. The auction raised about $130,000 US, with all proceeds going to the Hammer Museum. Proceeds will benefit the exhibitions, collections, and nearly 300 annual public programs that are free to the public.

“The Hammer Museum is thrilled to partner with Ornellaia, Sotheby’s, and the renowned artist Yutaka Sone to present this collaboration,” said Ann Philbin, Director of the Hammer Museum. “We are honored that Ornellaia selected the Hammer to benefit from the wine auction this spring.”

This well executed affair invited notable LA socialites to join in the celebration. Despite a balmy spring eve, guests were delightfully engaged in social conversation, admiring the artist’s works and wines.

Ornellaia’s Vendemmia d’Artista project has now donated over $1.5 million euros to art foundations around the world including the Whitney Museum in New York, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the Royal Opera House in London, and the H2 Foundation in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

“The Vendemmia d’Artista series is a wonderful way of combining the characteristics of each vintage of Ornellaia with a world class artist’s interpretation of that specific year,” said Jamie Ritchie, Sotheby’s CEO & President, Americas & Asia.

Later this month the Italian Embassy in Tokyo will host a celebration in honor of the 150 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy, during which the Ornellaia 2013 ‘L’Eleganza’ bottles will be introduced and exhibited.




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