File under: Questions I never though I'd ask

By Mike Pomranz
Updated March 12, 2018

Though wine aficionados love to wax poetic about everything from terroir to vintage to aging, one influential factor that helps determine the quality of your vino often gets overlooked: the setting. When and where you select to do your sipping can significantly change your perception: For instance, enjoying a glass outside a beautiful French chateau may make your wine that much more amazing. Meanwhile, drinking wine in a small hotel shaped like giant anus… Well, let’s just say that hopefully the experience isn’t as crappy as it sounds.

This coming Friday, The Consorzio Vini di Romagna, a group that promotes the wines from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, will be holding its annual When Wine Meets Art wine tasting in Belgium at the Verbeke Foundation Sculpture Park, a massive outdoor art space probably most infamously known as the home of the CasAnus Hotel, a one-bedroom rental property built to look like the human digestive system, massive anus and all. Yes, if you so choose, this might be your chance to drink wine inside a giant recreation of a human rectum.

The CasAnus Hotel itself is nothing new: It was created by Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout back in 2007 as part of a larger project dedicated to the human body. The bizarre “hotel” (probably better thought of as the oddest Airbnb you’ve ever seen) has remained popular since, reportedly attracting at least a couple hundred overnight guests each year. But as far as an official wine tasting in view of the ‘Anus, this might be a first. “After ten years of organizing ‘classic’ wine tastings, often very boring for both wine producers and visitors, we started thinking of different ways of experimenting with wines,” Alice Bown, the event’s spokesperson, told the site Munchies.

Indeed, on the event’s Facebook page, the group states that this is “not your everyday winetasting.” It’s also suggested that there’s “no more suitable place to present these refined wines in Belgium than in the unique setting of the Verbeke Foundation.” Though whether saying there’s “no more suitable place” to show off your wines than at a sculpture park known for having a giant anus is a compliment or not is definitely up for debate.

To be fair, the Verbeke Foundation Sculpture Park has plenty of other attractions besides the CasAnus. In fact, the foundation bills itself as “one of the largest private initiatives for contemporary art throughout Europe.” But think about it this way: If you’re tasting a wine, and it has one really distinct flavor, that note can be pretty hard to overlook. At the Verbeke Foundation Sculpture Park, that note is an anus hotel.