Emilio Ferro | Barolo To Heaven Act II | Photo: Maurizio Beucci | © 2020 Fondazione Radical Design

October 1, 2020
Temporary installation
Terlo Vineyards, Barolo, Italy

On the night of 1 October 2020, Emilio Ferro continued the journey which started in 2019 with BAROLO TO HEAVEN, staging the second act, through a temporary site-specific installation for the 2020 harvest in the Terlo vineyard, whose prized grapes give life to the precious Barolo from the Astemia Pentita winery.


Starting from the desire to proceed with a nocturnal harvest to best enhance the organoleptic properties of the grapes, the need arises to illuminate the rows and encourage harvesting. Fondazione Radical Design invited Emilio Ferro to work on a common idea of experimentation: a project where light was able to tell an intimate and crucial phase of wine production in an unprecedented way.


Night-time harvesting is not commonly practiced but, in addition to ensuring better conservation of the aromatic set of grapes, it retains all the charm of certain ancient rituals. The peasant wisdom teaches that the plant reacts to thermal stress by swelling the berries during the day and retracting them at night, collecting and concentrating the odorous compounds that make the skin more elastic and therefore the bunch of grapes more manageable. During transport to the cellar, the berries will therefore run less risk of breakage and early fermentation that could compromise the quality of the wine.


The ancient gesture of harvesting the bunch of grapes, the slow and repeated progress of a knowledge that is perpetuated with the passing of the seasons, the skilled hands that care for nature to transform its fruit into precious nectar. There is all the elegance of the Langa in the rows shrouded in darkness and dotted with lights, as if to create a vineyard suspended above the village of Barolo: a luminous island that floats in the night and inhabits the ridge of the hill, only to go out at the end of the harvest.

The photos of the BAROLO TO HEAVEN Act II suspended vineyard were taken by Maurizio Beucci, director of Leica Akademie Italy, while the images and aerial shots are by Diego Gianuzzi.


The workers called to harvest become part of the installation itself: the lights needed to give shape to this nocturnal dream are transported in red baskets like those that will return full of grapes before the following dawn. Equidistant from each other, the LEDs are positioned between the 32 rows of the Terlo vineyard to give rhythm to this singular harvest of light with their silent presence.


An out of the ordinary harvest: an extreme gesture of care and respect for the times of nature that allow you to fully grasp the potential of the fruit. The light creeps into the stillness of the night and enhances the regular geometry of the cultivated hill, to tell the poetry of the smallest of things.

Emilio Ferro | Barolo To Heaven Act II | Photo: Maurizio Beucci | © 2020 Fondazione Radical Design

Emilio Ferro | Barolo To Heaven Act II | Photo: Diego Gianuzzi | © 2020 Fondazione Radical Design

Emilio Ferro | Barolo To Heaven Act II | Photo: Maurizio Beucci | © 2020 Fondazione Radical Design