Last weekend, while I was at the Collisioni festival in Barolo, Piemonte, I visited Barolo’s Wine Museum, housed in the sumptuous Falletti Castle overlooking the vineyards of Barolo.
Interestingly enough, for me at least, the museum prides itself on the way in which its designer and curator François Confino “has designed a stimulating voyage that combines scientific content and poetry.”
The curation of the museum was fascinating, as it uses very simple displays to portray its vision. Unlike many wine museums, it is sparse in its use of language, rather relying on imagery and sensory experience to send a message to visitors. This approach serves to educate the visitor, but in a subtle way, preferring to suggest than to inform.
My personal favorite exhibition was one dedicated to the hands that produce Barolo wine. The walls were lined with gorgeous black and white photographs of hands working in all aspects of wine production, all in a room containing only a player piano, meant to elicit an appreciation for the hands that are integral but invisible. I thought this was a beautiful and simple concept, and paired with the stunning photographs left a lasting impression.
There was also, to my pleasure, an entire floor of the museum dedicated to wine in culture – art, cinema, food, and literature, which, I think, encourages visitors to appreciate the impact that wine has had in all facets of culture, due to its importance and interrelatedness with history, to which the museum also devotes considerable space.