Found: The Vine Wall at La Bodega
Historical homes are like treasure troves, revealing not only fascinating stories but also curious design objects. Case in point: the wall at La Bodega in Tenerife. This open-plan, loft-like space is part of Hacienda Cuatro Ventanas, an estate built in the 17th century during the island’s plantation boom, its stone walls and timbered beams withstanding centuries of constant use and wild Atlantic weather.
In 2011, owner Alberto del Hoyo decided to restore the property and turn it into a hotel, with the help of designer Antonio del Real. The interiors were brought back to life inspired by the estate’s history — a process that piqued del Hoyo’s interest in design. In 2015, he took on the transformation of the final room on the property, the wine cellar. In Spanish, la bodega.
Look inside La Bodega today, and you’ll notice an unusual wall behind the bed. As del Hoyo explains, the intriguing twisted, sculptural installation is a tribute to the island’s wine-making tradition, composed of old vines native to the richly agricultural La Orotava region.
Historically, the Canary Islands were a strategic location for merchants, with the trade winds forcing English and European ships to make a stop there before crossing the ocean. “The area around the property, like almost the entire north coast of Tenerife, was planted with vineyards, mainly from the Malvasía grape,” he tells us. “The ships were supplied with precious wine from the Canary Islands to mix with water and thus avoid diseases such as scurvy. And of course to avoid rebellions on board!”
Thus, the hacienda, in the 17th century, dedicated much of its land to winemaking, and this room was, until recently, where the resident family stored their wine. These days, the wine is produced on another vineyard estate, and the land around the hacienda is, says del Hoyo, “a beautiful green blanket of banana trees.”
His concept for the vine wall grew out of a desire to create something that showed the beauty of the local wine tradition and history, for lovers of design. “The local wine plants in the north coast of Tenerife are unique,” he explains, “a ‘braided cord’ agriculture. The vines are intertwined in a very beautiful shape and are more than nine meters long.”
He enlisted a trusted carpenter to help him build the wall. “We selected the best vines and stacked them one on top of the other,” he recalls, “fixing them to a wooden wall. The hardest part was probably choosing which vine to put in each place so that the puzzle would fit perfectly.”
The result blends in with the rest of the space, which contains objects recovered from the old cellar room, as well as parts of an old wine press from a nearby vineyard. Additional pieces were inspired by wine production: lamps that echo the machine filters used to remove the skins of the grapes, and colorful hanging boxes that resemble those used to collect the grapes at harvest time.
“I wanted all the phases related to viticulture and wine making to be present in the design of the room,” says del Hoyo. “The harvest is an important part of the world of wine, generally a day of work and celebration with the family.”
Alberto del Hoyo describes himself as “a true lover of wine culture”, and his devotion is exhibited clearly in this uniquely conceived space that celebrates Tenerife’s agricultural history. To book a stay among the vines, visit La Bodega here.