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Fine vintage lured Gehry to winery project

Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry opened a futuristic winery in Spain on Monday, eight years after being wooed to the project with a vintage created the year of his birth.

Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry opened a futuristic winery in Spain on Monday, eight yearsafter being wooed to the project with a vintage created the year of his birth.

Gehry, a star architect who unveiled a design for a new museum in Paris last week, says he was at first reluctant to take the commission for the small winery project.

But owners of the Marques de Riscal winery in the northern Rioja district took Gehry to the oldest cellar, called "the cathedral," where bottles dating from 1862 are stored.

A bottle with a 1929 vintage — his birth year — convinced him it might be worthwhile to keep flying from his home in Los Angeles to design the building.

The result is an $88-million US hoteland winerydisplaying Gehry's trademark curving lines and garlanded with cascading titanium ribbons.

A canopy of pink, gold and silver titanium ribbons shade the sandstone hotel building.

"It's a marvellous creature, with hair flying everywhere, which launches itself over the vineyards," Gehry said at the opening, according to El Pais newspaper.

Marques de Riscal is the oldest winery in the town of Elciego within Spain's northern Rioja wine region. The new project was opened by King Juan Carlos.

It is the second Gehry building in Spain. The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, also in the Basque region, is one of his most famous projects.

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