Biggest wine museum opens
5 July 2004
BRIONES — The world’s largest wine museum has opened in the La Rioja region of north-west Spain, it was reported Monday.
King Juan Carlos inaugurated the Wine Culture Museum which was the brainchild of collector Pedro Vivanco, a wine scholar with a long-standing family tradition.
The work that Vivanco and his family have been engaged in for years helped them bring together more than 5,000 items that together explain the history of wine, spanning thousands of years.
The museum was the brainchild of Vivanco, son and grandson of Rioja wine producers, who, after studying enology – the study of wine and the making of wine – and helping run the family business, found time to amass books, works of art and equipment related to the world of wine.
His vast collection is exhibited in a way that explains the cultivation of the grape vine, the harvest, the aging in wooden barrels, the archaeology of wine and the art of decanting, serving and drinking wine.
The new museum’s collection includes a 17th-century grape press, an Egyptian stele of Sheni-Nafer (dated between 945 and 715 BC), a horn-shaped Persian wineglass from the 6th century BC and an antique Chinese wine-mixing pitcher.
A section of the collection even shows, in more than 4,000 items, the evolution of the corkscrew, with older models dating from the late 1700s.
Vivanco wanted to open a wine museum after seeing several others on his trips through Europe.
But he wanted the biggest in the world in Spain, to educate visitors from the beginning to the end of the long process of making good wine.
The building housing Vivanco’s collection was designed by architect Jesus Marino Pascual and its modern and multifaceted design nevertheless retains its ties to the classic architecture of the Rioja wineries.
In his tour of the new museum, King Juan Carlos, accompanied by Agriculture Minister Elena Espinosa and Rioja region leader Pedro Sanz, stopped in the hall called “To Be Born, to Grow and to Mature,” perhaps the most spectacular of the five areas of the building.
This hall takes up the large central nave where the largest items have been placed, such as a five-metre tall 18th-century grape press from the Rioja town of Badaran.
Another hall, named “Art and Symbol,” contains a collection of archaeological items and works of art, including a Roman bust of the god Bacchus (1st or 2nd century), numerous paintings from various eras, such as Pablo Picasso’s “Bottle of Wine” and Spanish impressionist Joaquin Sorolla’s “Entre dos luces” (Between Two Lights).
Before sharing a bottle of Rioja wine with his hosts and other guests, the king commented on a plaque commemorating the inauguration of the museum, which will also have a foundation to research and disseminate wine culture.
The museum, which opened to the public two weeks ago, is located on 200,000 square meters (49 acres) of land where the Vivanco family has also built a new wine cellar for reserve and aged wines.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news