Czech wines are perhaps historically less renowned than many of their old-world counterparts, but a growing number of vineyards in the region of South Moravia have quickly put the country on the viticultural map. This revived tradition, combined with Czechia’s robust design culture, has resulted in wineries that are as notable for their vintages as they are for their architecture (Chybik + Kristof’s Lahofer Winery and Winery Nešetril by ORA are both standouts). In Kurdějov, a small town just outside of Brno, the recently opened Gurdau Winery, designed by Aleš Fiala, exemplifies this same marriage of viticulture and design.
Though founded in 2012, the winery — named after the village’s original moniker, Gurdau — takes an old-school approach, derived from German settlers who brought their techniques to the area in the 16th century. Sustainability and respect for the land remain top of mind, combining natural conditions and processing techniques. With its unique closed microclimate, steep slopes and ideal exposure, the village was historically one of the most important wine suppliers to Mikulov and Brno, and the aristocratic courts of Moravia. The owners planted seven hectares of vineyards on the site — the first vines on the slope above the village — renewing an age-old tradition.
The winery is located in the centre of the vineyard, which cultivates Riesling, green Veltliner and Pinot Blanc grapes (alongside blue varieties of Frankincense, Dornfelder and Merlot planted in 2021) that are then processed into a wide range of aged, sparkling and sweet wines. “This is both purposeful and poetic, as it steps back from the village and offers soothing and enchanting views,” the architects explain. It is also a practical choice, reducing the need to transport raw materials and workers across the vast site. But the location of the building, while the most operationally efficient, meant the architecture had to be thoughtfully integrated into the landscape.
To that end, Aleš Fiala conceived of the building as a gentle ripple in the terrain, a “hill between hills” formed by a parabolic concrete roof. Planted with 150 shrubs and mature trees that will improve the microclimate, the organically curved structure acts as an extension of the landscape. Its impact will only become more pronounced with time: Once the vegetation has grown in, the building will be almost invisible from a distance, blending seamlessly with the terroir. Where the roof touches down to the ground, large elliptical cut-outs frame the verdant landscape, creating a pleasing interplay of industrial concrete and lush greenery.
The ground floor of the two-storey complex is used for customer-facing programs such as tastings, seating areas and sales, rendered in a palette of oak and acacia wood. The glass façade lets in natural light and heat while providing connection to the landscape, changing the visitor experience throughout the seasons. Oak slats in front of the expansive triple-glazed windows work alongside the roof overhang and exterior pergolas to prevent overheating in the hot summer months, while in the cooler seasons, an air-to-water heat pump keeps spaces comfortable. The versatile interior contains both social spaces and areas for quiet contemplation over a glass of wine. The cavernous underground level, meanwhile, comprises the production and storage facilities, as well as the wine archive.
Spacious terraces and the green roof offer sweeping views of Kurdějov, the Pálava protected landscape area in the distance, and the plains stretching towards Austria. The winery also boasts two humble apartments for occasional overnight stays, whose cylindrical forms and wood-clad interiors recall the wooden barrels used for aging wine.
With its precision, craftsmanship and attention to detail, Aleš Fiala has designed a contemporary structure that exhibits the utmost respect for its context — both the region’s cultural traditions and the landscape that informs them. In connecting the building with the terroir, Gurdau Winery becomes one with the site from which its wines are produced.
Local firm Aleš Fiala artfully integrates the Gurdau Winery’s concrete structure into the rolling landscape.