The Cellar Cooperatiu de Cornudella de Montsant is considered one of the “Cathedrals of Wine” built throughout Catalonia, and especially in the province of Tarragona, between 1910 and 1920. These cellars were one of the clearest representations of Noucentisme modernism particularly in rural areas (Noucentisme was a Catalan cultural movement of the early 20th century that originated largely as a reaction against Modernism, both in art and ideology, and was, simultaneously, a perception of art almost opposite to that of avantgardists). The main architects of these wineries were Pere Domènech i Roura (son of Lluís Domènech i Montaner) and Cesar Martinell (disciple of Antoni Gaudí).
Cesar Martinell (1888-1973) thought that for Cornudella and many other villages, he would design a winery both entirely rational and innovative. An entire building, full of architectural spectacle, and yet with huge functionality.
On the main facade we find native stone and brick as decorative elements – not only constructive – four lower vents, a midpoint opening and the magnificent upper zone with four diamond shaped windows on each side and three central, separated by pillars of brick and forming a latticework with ceramic decoration.
The building consists of a central nave topped with a gable built from wooden beams and covered with traditional Arab ceramic work. The nave is divided into two large floors where we find the two levels of vats. The vats are evenly distributed on each floor, in rows of seven. In total twenty eight concrete vats make up the original Martinell draft, fourteen on each floor. A peculiarity of this winery is the pseudo rectangular vats on the higher level.
On the lower floor, the vats are cylindrical and are located at the centre of the nave. It is accessed from covered side decks with parabolic arcs starting at ground level. These arches and the buttresses that separate them are what support the weight of the upstairs vats.
It should be noted here some of the most important parts of the functional architecture. First, the air vents, enabling the expulsion of harmful gases produced through fermentation and to regulate the temperature. And finally, that most of the processes are carried out by decantation, i.e. gravity or strength.