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Herdade do Freixo


Nestled in this endless virgin rolling Alentejo landscape, Herdade do Freixo winery is located just outside the whitewashed, terracotta tiled town of Redondo. Here wine is stored at a cool 40 metres hidden underground in what resembles an minimalist concrete nuclear bunker. In order to reduce any visual impact on the Syrah vineyard above, local architect Frederico Valsassina designed a series square monolithic shafts around the gaping rectangular entrance way and a protruding conical funnel at the structure’s very centre allowing plenty of air and light to enter the cellar at what is the highest vantage point of the 300 hectare estate.  Below the surface a spiral concrete ramp echoes the Guggenheim Museum in New York with access to the three levels of the building lit by the skylights providentially placed so that you do not miss a trick of what goes on throughout the process. This bright high tech interior with huge gleaming stainless steel vats could pass as the lair of a Bond villain but instead is where you can see the grapes being unloaded before being processed, the wine stored in oak barrels and eventually bottled. Although entirely buried, the building is self sufficient relying on gravity and natural light to minimise the energy consumed using the highest quality  technology for winemaking thanks to chief oenologist Pedro Vasconcellos e Souza.


RUPERT EDEN

Photographer & Storyteller



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