This Ornellaia project demonstrates the benefits of social sustainability

Jan 20, 2020

There are many benefits associated with social sustainability, and the ones that come from activities related to the art world are tangible. Ornellaia’s Vendemmia d’Artista (VdA) is proof of this, which has gone from being a simple anniversary dinner to one of the most effective sustainable art projects in the world.

La Vendemmia d’Artista 

The VdA is a social sustainability project that celebrates each new Ornellaia vintage. Every year, the Vendemmia d’Artista sees a different international artist create a work of art for the estate, and a number of limited-edition labels for the Ornellaia brand. Inspiration for these pieces comes from the oenologist who followed the vintage, he is given the task of selecting a word that best exemplifies the character of the wine. The word is then passed onto the artist, who must translate it into artwork. Once created, some of the bottles are numbered and signed by the artist, thereafter, they are auctioned off, and the proceeds of the sales are donated to a charity initiative linked to the art world. The latest Vendemmia d’Artista, saw the participation of Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, and donated its proceeds to the “Mind’s Eye” program, a Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s project which aims to help blind and visually impaired people experience art through the use of all senses. It is now in its eleventh year, and thanks to its relevant themes, as well as great support by high profile beneficiary foundations, the Vendemmia d’Artista has become an excellent example of social sustainability in the wine sector.

The Art Infusion Effect 

The Artist’s Harvest falls perfectly within the Arts-Based Initiative (ABI) category, i.e. a category that engages in all those managerial interventions that employ one or more forms of art with two precise aims: the consummation of an artistic experience within an organizational context and the transformation of a work of art into a corporate resource. Usually, an ABI increases the value of the company’s infrastructure or products, and its adoption has the ultimate goal of improving company performance. This type of initiative is the application of the Art Infusion Effect, a phenomenon that shows how much visual arts can positively influence consumers’ evaluation of a given product. The “effect” proves how products with artistic components are automatically perceived as luxurious and, consequently, preferred over others. This inclination stems from the common tendency to associate art with a quest for excellence and therefore, the value of uniqueness, status and exclusivity that most consumers covet.

The benefits of social sustainability

Therefore, communicating through art and culture can be an important marketing tool that helps to build the image of a creative, innovative and excellence-oriented company. But that’s not all. For a company, art is the right tool to create social sustainability both within and outside the working environment.  Four main advantages of social sustainability can be seen when a company invests in culture:

  • The quality of the working environment

An art collection in the workplace stimulates creativity, personal growth, socialization and the development of critical thinking in the spirit of employees. In a nutshell, a project like Vendemmia d’Artista can transform an office into an environment that helps employees express individual potential and thus, highlight one of the main traits of social sustainability: the well-being of workers.

  • Increased social impact of the company

Investing in a work of art means investing in the cultural heritage of the society in which you operate. It means engaging in corporate social responsibility and improving the relationship with the community and the territory in which you work.

  • The optimization of visibility and corporate prestige

A carefully designed art collection, consistent with the company’s mission and vision, promotes a positive image return. A company that transforms culture into a resource is automatically perceived as careful and responsible, and this only increases its visibility and prestige.

  • The tax advantage

A company that decides to invest in a social sustainability project linked to the art world enjoys tax advantages, as do those companies that finance and support cultural initiatives. Part of the investment in culture can be deducted from the company’s income for tax purposes.

Since its creation, Vendemmia d’Artista has both donated millions of dollars to various art foundations around the globe, and consolidated Ornellaia’s image in the wine sector and beyond, as well as helped to strengthen the company’s economic sustainability by making it one of the leading figures in the field of cultural sustainability. It is clear that a project of this magnitude cannot be set up by every winery out there, but nonetheless, it is a model to strive for and the benefits that social sustainability has brought to Ornellaia can also be achieved by smaller wineries.


At wine2wine 2019, Tim Banks, Sales and Marketing Director at Ornellaia, told us everything about the project. You can watch his presentation, here