Ornellaia’s 10th anniversary ‘Il Carisma’ art and wine project raises €140k

Auction house Sotheby’s has sold nine lots of Ornellaia with labels by South African artist William Kentridge, raising €140,000 during a celebration at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

South African artist William Kentridge reached back into the memory of his family’s participation in a Tuscan grape harvest, and combined it with handwritten pages of old Italian cashbooks retrieved from flea markets, to fashion his drawings for the labels of the vintage 2015 Ornellaia “Il Carisma,” the 10th anniversary of the winery’s project which blends art and wine.

Last night (24 May) nine lots of the Ornellaia Kentridge bottles were auctioned by Sotheby’s for €140,000 during a celebration in London at the Victoria & Albert Museum. That brings the total that Ornellaia’s Vendemia d’Artista project has raised to support art foundations and museums worldwide to more than €2 million.

Kentridge commented: “The secateurs [grape shears] come from a memory of the one occasion I took part in a Tuscan vendemmia, when I spent six months in San Casciano outside Florence with my family. This made me understand the human labour involved in making the wine; though what I remember most strongly is the pleasure of the lunch prepared in the vineyards by the local farmer’s wife”.

The special label will also appear on 111 large-format bottles, including a special edition label for a Salmanazar bottle (9 litres) using circular, anamorphic digital print. In addition to being used to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Vendemmia d’Artista project, the special edition label will be reproduced on all magnums and branded on the covers of their wooden cases.

The London ceremony, a gala dinner and auction which raised funds to benefit the host museum, was presided over by Stephen Mould, head of Sotheby’s Wine, Europe, and Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Ornellaia winemaker Axel Heinz was also part of the ceremony.

“We have enjoyed incredibly special events in New York (2010 and 2017), Hong Kong (2012), London (2013), Toronto (2014), Basel (2015) and Los Angeles (2016), each of which was wholly unique and exciting, in the same way that every vintage has its own distinct character,” said Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of wine for Sotheby’s.

Curators of the project Vendemmia d’Artista of Ornellaia are Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, director of Maxxi Museum in Rome, and Maria Alicata.

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