by Kate Armstrong Posted on November 03, 2018
Fab Lab Barcelona was the first city to sign-on to the Fab City 40 year roadmap to have cities produce everything they consume by 2054. This year we asked the question, if cities are going to produce everything they consume, does that also include wine? You may question the necessity of maker-made wine, but for Fab Lab Barcelona, part of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) the question only presented a massive research opportunity at the intersect of culture, history, biology, technology and community. So how can we make almost anything…including wine?
Winemakers Lab is a ten-week intensive winemaking course that covers everything from harvest to fermentation and bottling, merging the ancient knowledge of winemaking with maker technologies such as digital fabrication and lo-fi sensors. It engages the expertise of educators from Fab Lab Barcelona with specialist input from head-tutor, Vino Guru and co-founder of Winemakers Lab Miguel Figini.
Catalonia has an ancient relationship with winemaking. Archaeological evidence suggests a history dating back as early as 1550 BC. The Roman rule had major influence on winemaking in the region with the Roman occupation in Spain headquartered in Tarragona, just south of Barcelona. This history and it’s contemporary legacy is well known by Winemakers Lab co-founder, principal tutor and Vino Guru Miguel Figini, who channels the rich history of Catalan wines into the weekly classes. Miguel is an educator, with a background in IT and consultancy for companies in business development. As a passionate local to the Catalan region, he felt a need to connect with other wine and food lovers, and started Espai Del Vi Català in an effort to gather wine producers and lovers from across Cataluña, and to create a community in which the richness of the Catalan wine tradition could be celebrated.
Winemakers Lab focuses on the process of winemaking, and engages maker technology to enable these technical processes at home. Classes cover introduction to viticulture, biology, harvesting and fermentation and are coupled with digital fabrication, Arduino, data capture and analysis, sensor technology. The combination of these two fields present an at-home solution for perfecting wine, it is monitored, analysed and stabilized before being bottled. Of course, classes also cover the appreciation of wine with sommelier skills and tasting to capture the social importance of wine and it’s place in the Catalan culture.
Photos by Manuela Reyes