The Bazaltbor Winery is located at the foot of Badacsony, the highest southern Witness Hill in the Tapolca-basin.
The steep regions between the base of the hills and upper regions have often been transformed into terraces, as the loamy basalt debris is not only excellent for growing vines but also provides the body and rich mineral aromas of the wines with their beautiful acid background characteristic of this landscape.
The wines of the Laposa-Cellar following the millennium became well known amongst Hungarian wine drinkers under the brand name “Bazaltbor” or Basalt wine. During the development, besides increasing the scale, the aim on both an architectural and viticultural level was to modernize and maintain the making and presentation of the basalt wine.
The important question was with what formal method can the building, which is of a relatively large-scale compared with its environment, be managed. The single reference point can only be the earthbound architecture of the vine (the press house and the retaining wall) as well as nature itself. Being bound to the earth as a result of the program should be taken literally: building shall take place downwards along the gravitational principle, so that the grapes are exposed only to the most necessary procedures.
This way only a quarter of the total area of the vinery is above ground, the rest is contained in the belly of the hill. On this basis we cannot work with architectural tools, forms, structures and clear archi(tectonic) matches in a traditional sense, but at the same time we cannot reject them entirely either. The viticultural building has to be like a model, but the hierarchic organisational structure is not an exclusive factor for this.
Following the principle of being like a model the transition between the facades and the roof is made invisible by the homogenous cladding of prefabricated concrete panels, indented with a slightly transformed pattern of grapevines climbing and twining around them.
Where natural lighting was needed in the interior spaces the panels were replaced by glazed areas covered in metal panels, perforated with the same grapevine pattern.
Inside the model, the structural order and the sequence of the spaces follow the wine making process in both a vertical and horizontal sense. The processing building, which is partly submerged, consists of a technological wing of more industrial nature and a barrel shaped cellar covered by a layer of diagonally placed brick. The interior is exposed concrete with tanks and machinery made of stainless steel.
At ground level the technological wing has two separate entrances, for receiving the grape and for delivering bottles. The two-story reception area, which also houses bottle maturation in the southern direction and is linked to the cellar wing, also has entrances from the road and from Lake Balaton.
The external air technology unit and the aggregated technological cooling system are located close to the central core.
Millions of years ago violent volcanic activity took place at the deepest part of the Pannon Sea. As a result of these volcanic activities, that interrupted the limestone sediments, burning lava erupted to the surface through the cracks resulting from crustal movements. It soon solidified, covering and protecting like an armor the sandy-clay island hills hiding beneath. These heights have resisted both wind and ice due to this basaltic armor, and stand witness even today to the height of the “original” land surface.
The Witness Hills illustrate the original height of the previously eroded and weathered area. These hills do not form a chain, but are solitary islands that stand alone preserving a specific stratification that arose from the former Pannon sea.