Designing Paradeis

Written by Sami-Jo Adelman
Artwork Diego Soprana

Week 48

Founded in 1823, Alois Lageder is synonymous with quality winemaking, sustainability, biodynamic agriculture and vast artistic expression. Their Vineria Paradeis best showcases this holistic approach through its display of highly individual wines marked by distinctive terroir, fine regional cuisine, and moreover incredibly chic design.
Vineria Paradeis stands directly on the old square in the village of Magre, at the southern end of the South Tyrolean Wine Road. The ancient walls of the building – Casòn Hirschprunn – lend a unique historic aesthetic to the winery exterior. Yet, as you step through the door, a modern interior full of luxe décor and refined decorative trimmings awaits. The symbiosis of history, design, and elegant architectural style offers the perfect backdrop for wine-tastings and wine shopping.
The sleek interiors are the work of Allmeinde Architektur (Allmeinde Commongrounds), an Austrian design and culture collective spearheaded by Katia Polletin and Gerold Schneider. The duo operates an artist residency and culture venue in a renovated mountain barn on the edge of Lech, a resort village in Austria’s Vorarlberg region. Their minimalist Alpine design style and sensitivity for preserving old structures was highly regarded by the Lageder’s, particularly Veronika Riz Lageder (Alois Lageder´s wife), a choreographer and film director, who too had a hand in the design and creative execution of the interiors.
In fact, all the furnishings have been touched by Veronika in some way. In the Verkostungsraum (main dining room) there is a selection of reedy metal-framed chairs that have been upholstered in delicate quilted floral patterns. It was Veronika’s idea to create this look; she drew inspiration from covering a chair from her seaside holiday home with assembled fabric samples. Sixteen of these chairs envelop the main wooden dining table. Above, there is a striking artwork of three etched charcoal faces tinged with blood red, yellow and blue overlays entitled “Why Me” by Erik van Lieshout, a Dutch contemporary artist widely known for his cartoonish drawings, which is part of Alois and Veronika’s private art collection. Both Veronika and her husband Alois have always maintained a strong interest in art and design. Up until the start of 2010 Alois Lageder was, for ten years, President of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MUSEION) in Bolzano.

To enter Paradeis you must first past through the Weinschenke (the tasting room and bar) and then onto the Vineria (wine sales-room), which is replete with a fireplace and wine shop/delicatessen. The portfolio of wines is divided into three groups – the Classic Varietals, the Terroir Selections, the Farms – a selection based on both the quality of the wines and their origin.
A large wooden shelf holds a selection of condiments, oils, jams and other delicacies from different Italian regions produced according to biological principals. There are also several local products from South Tyrolean farm cooperatives. Vineria Paradeis Chef Alessandro Miragoli has a good working relationship with several of these farmers and the certified BIO restaurant inside the winery, promotes the use of their local and organic foods. The menu offers light, modern, plant-based cuisine that changes with the rhythm of the seasons.
Next to the fireplace there is a round wooden table bounded by six comfy armchairs, created by Katia and Gerold. Veronika chose the fabrics; three are upholstered in plum coloured leaf patterns, and the others are salmon pink and white with fish arrangements. A handful of shabby-chic wooden stools complete the collection. In the cooler months, the fireplace is the ultimate hangout in the company of a glass of fine wine.
During the warmer seasons of the year, the cobble-stoned inner courtyard, hidden within ancient walls covered with crawling emerald vines, welcomes visitors with its cypresses and blossoming lemon trees, and fragrant perfumes of jasmine and pomegranate. The romance of the natural realm is palpable. It is the perfect spot to soak up the sunshine with a floral Gewürztraminer in hand.
At the foot of a steep slope above Magrè, which bears the same name – Paradeis – lies a large, century-old park. It was Alois Lageder’s desire both to preserve its old-growth trees and to create a new garden in their shadow. Lageder employed Australian garden architect Donald Leevers to execute this dream. The garden is full of hortensia and daphne, periwinkle and viburnum, English holly and European beech. It is possible to take a guided tour of the Hirschprunn estate garden in the company of English gardener, Nicholas Evison. Guided tours of the vineyards and wine cellars are also highly recommended.