All of us, wine lovers, are well aware of its complicity with our 5 senses:
1) Its colours that, through the sense of sight, magically recall the infinite stretches of vineyards blessed by the sun
2) Its aromas, floral or fruity, aromatic or spicy that caress our smellevoking memories and emotions
3) IIts flavor, whose intensity, persistence and balance becomes a real delight for the taste
4) The pop up of a cork releasing the aromas or the sound of wine poured on a crystals glass is stimulating our hearing
5) Eventually, the touch that during tasting recognizes consistency or softness is completing the sensory experience
But there is a sixth sense to taste this millennial and mysterious drink: the poetic one..
This sense is less defined and touches the roots of our history and existence. In the small village of Barolo, in Langhe, this experience is of great importance and among the thousand places where this is possible, WiMu (Wine Museum) stands out, located inside the historical castle.
Thought and set up by the architect François Confino within the walls of the millenarian Falletti Castle, this museum stands out not only for being the only one in Italy, but among the best in the world. As stated by its creator, it is not born from the desire to explain “how wine is made”, but rather from the intention to highlight “the relationship between us and wine”. This relationship starts from the simplicity of its elements and makes sure that the visit is an engaging experience able to express the majesty of wine together with the humility of its origins.
As a real journey to discover the roots of wine, the visit starts from the highest floor of the museum to get down to basement..
The third floor is dedicated to the simplest elements but at the same time essential for wine: nature.
Its halls are dedicated to those features that mark the cycle of life and production, emphasizing the elements that allow such a prodigy to occur rather than the production techniques. The protagonists of this stage are the cycle of the seasons(reproduced with the Carousel of the Seasons) and the cycle of the moon: the real metronome that sets the times for the working of the Vines and for the light of the sun. Another element highlighted is planet Earth with a specific zooming on Langhe. There is no shortage of evocative installations such as the first room that opens the visit: a dark room illuminated with light bulbs that tries to reproduce the running of time, with an original piece of art fixed to the ceiling.
The second floor is dedicated to wine and its history, with some rooms that show its relationship with several forms of art.
The first part traces the history of the wine from the ancestral times of Mesopotamia to the present day. Within this journey thought history the attention is driven towards the key role that this beverage payed in the sacred rituals: with results that in some cases are even excessively cruel. Another fundamental aspect of wine is for example its importance from a commercial point of view: it has pushed some populations to undertake long and dangerous journeys in order to satisfy the demand for this valuable product.
The whole visit is accompanied by pictures that captures different eras and civilizations, all well described by captions. Great care is dedicated to the involvement of children with interactive games where history is made easy.
Continuing the visit one discovers the relationship between wine and different forms of art, such as cinema, poetry and music: this is made possible thought the playing of parts of films, songs and poems. Last but not least, painting and the tradition of food are well involved in this interactive journey.
The first floor is dedicated to the people who lived the castle. From the Marquis Carlo Tancredi to his wife Juliette Colbert (the venerable Marchesa Giulia of Barolo): Important characters not only from the economic, political and cultural point of view, but also from the philanthropic one. They funded the Barolo College, an institution that ensured education to the poorest children.
There is also a reference to historical characters who walked these rooms: Silvio Pellico (great friend of the Marchesa and her family) and Camillo Benso Count of Cavour, key figure of the Italian Renaissance. But the skillful eye of the creator of this journey not only shed light over e nobility, but devotes some space to those who have constituted the soul of the country. Evocative pictures bring back to life some old inhabitants of this land, and technology gives them voice to tell their stories.
The top floor: the basement, concludes the visit with a nice video lesson on wine held among some old school benches, recreating an ancient atmosphere. And as from the heart of the Earth proliferate the roots of the vines, in the same way the basement of the building hosts the Enoteca Regionale del Barolo: founded in 1982 and dedicated to this sensational wine and its more than 200 producers scattered in a dozen villages.
Approaching to the end of this unique experience that lasts around one hour and a half, one comes out enriched with a greater awareness of wine and the elements that lead to its making.
It’s a journey consisting of simple elements combined with extreme taste and supported by technology that strengthens the experience. The whole visit is framed by the magnificent location of the Falletti Castle: only one of the countless ancient buildings that populate these hills making the panorama even more evocative.