Super Tuscan Tentuta dell’Ornellaia has chosen Chinese artist Zhang Huan for its limited edition Vendemmia d’Artista 2009 series. As reported on thedrinksbusiness.com, interpreting the theme of equilibrium, reflecting the character of the 2009 vintage, Huan has created a series of works around the figure of 6th century B.C. Chinese philosopher Confucius.
Entitled “Questioning Confucius,” Huan’s works include a steel sculpture of the Chinese thinker, which has been placed in the winery’s courtyard. He has also created a limited series of large format bottles, including 100 double magnums (3L) featuring a Confucius image and quotation on the pursuit of wisdom, and 10 Imperials (6L) of the philosopher during different stages of his life.
The jewel in the crown is a single Salmanazar (9L) with an oval steel sculpture engraved with the philosopher’s portrait (pictured). "Confucius thinks people should find their own position and move forward instead of disturbing the natural order of things. It is wrong to overdo it,” said Huan. “The theory of harmony between man and nature tells us to respect nature and the universe so as to establish a world of equilibrium where we can live together peacefully,” he added.
The Vendemmia d’Artista series was launched by Ornellaia in 2009 with the goal of recovering the tradition cultural patronage popular during the Renaissance. On 27 April, the winery will host a Sotheby's charity auction at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong, where 21 of the 111 limited edition bottles, including the Salmanazar, will be auctioned off. The net proceeds of the event will be donated to the H2 Foundation for Arts and Education.
"Every year we commission a great artist to produce a work that captures the essence of the wine, the nature of the vintage, and its personality,” said Ornellaia’s chief executive Giovanni Geddes. “In four editions of Ornellaia Vendemmia D'Artista we have raised over €600.000. A drop in the ocean, but we are proud to have been able to contribute,” he added. Based in Shanghai and New York, in addition to sculpture, Huan works as a performance artist and photographer.
This is not the first time a Chinese artist has been chosen to create a wine label for a high profile property. In 2010, Château Mouton Rothschild asked Beijing-based artist Xu Lei to design its 2008 label – a blue-hued ink drawing of the Château’s signature ram standing on a rock. The number eight is considered particularly lucky in China, as the Chinese word for eight (ba) is similar to the word for prosperity (fa).