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Unique place, unique solutions: the ORMA whisky manufactory at the Corvatsch lift station, Switzerland

01 of November '23

Two Swiss whisky aficionados, Rinaldo Willy and Pascal Mittner, have chosen a spectacular setting as the site for the production of their liquor - the highest distillery in the world. It can be visited at the Corvatsch mountain cable car station. Insulating glass units equipped with a SWISSPACER warm spacer provide an excellent view both when looking outward and inward through the glass. In addition, they guarantee excellent energy efficiency.

Two friends - Rinaldo Willy from Engadine and Pascal Mittner from Chur - set themselves an ambitious goal in 2010. They decided that they would do their best to make Switzerland famous for its whisky production. They were aided in their project by ORMA, a whisky developed and awarded worldwide, which is produced locally in the region. The water is sourced from springs near the middle station of the Corvatsch cable car, and the barrels are sourced from the surrounding wine regions, such as Veltlin and Bündner Herrschaft. The whisky is stored in a number of different locations in the region: deep underground in the cellars of castles and monasteries in the Engadine Valley, in underground cellars and wooden warehouses in Grisons, and in the cave of the Corvatsch mountain station.

Okna zostały wyposażone w potrójne szyby MGTherm Öko Star i ciepłe ramki dystansowe SWISSPACER Ultimate

The windows have been equipped with MGTherm Öko Star triple glazing and SWISSPACER Ultimate warm spacer bars

Photo: Filip Zuan

We wanted to create a whisky that carries the atmosphere of the country and region into the bottle, Mr. Willy and Mr. Mittner explain.

Each single cask edition, therefore, exhibits different coloration and varies slightly in flavor depending on the local climate or the wine barrel in which it was matured. The name of the whisky's production technology also alludes to the company's philosophy: the word "ORMA" in Rhaeto-Romanic means "soul," emphasizing the origin of the liquor and pointing to the history of the canton of Grisons.

Whisky production under unique conditions

When the opportunity arose two years ago to use an empty storage room at the Corvatsch mountain station, two visionaries seized the opportunity and planned to build the world's highest distillery in this unusual location. One might think that this was simply meant to be a marketing ploy, but the choice of location was nevertheless dictated by other factors: at an altitude of 3,303 meters above sea level, the distillate's boiling point is 10 degrees lower than at sea level. This translates into significant savings, especially since the system is also tempered directly by the cool mountain air. Of greater importance to whisky production, however, is the fact that the lower distillation temperature preserves more flavors and provides greater bouquet complexity. These unique attributes will undoubtedly convince Swiss whisky enthusiasts.

Szczególnym wyzwaniem była dostawa elementów okiennych o powierzchni rzędu dziesięciu metrów kwadratowych

A particular challenge was the delivery of the window pieces, which are on the order of ten square meters in size

Photo: Filip Zuan

Impressive view

The location of the new ORMA distillery is equally impressive. The facility is surrounded by the Bernina massif, near the Corvatsch glacier overlooking the unique landscape of the Upper Engadine lakes. Such a location makes a visit to the single malt whisky distillery a unique experience for all the senses. Guided tours for small groups, combined with liquor tastings, are organized to the distillery three times a week.

To allow visitors to savor the breathtaking landscape, and to provide them with an equally exciting experience when viewing the distillery's interior, the facility's owners decided to use large-format windows with highly energy-efficient double-glazing when remodeling the storage rooms.

- To allow visitors to enjoy the fascinating mountain views, as well as the equally interesting interior of the distillery, the facility's owners decided to use large-format windows with highly energy-efficient insulating glass units

Photo: Filip Zuan

Insulating glass units in extreme conditions

The windows were equipped with triple glazing with MGTherm Öko Star thermal insulation glass from MGT Mayer Glastechnik. The insulating glass has the best thermal insulating properties and meets the highest energy, quality and aesthetic requirements, even under the extreme weather conditions expected at the mountain station. All Öko-Star insulating glass units are equipped with the technologically advanced SWISSPACER Ultimate spacer - currently one of the best warm spacers available on the market. It minimizes thermal bridging at the edge of the glass and significantly reduces the risk of condensation.

We are now using the SWISSPACER Ultimate spacer solution as standard, says Harald Lerchster, proxy and sales manager at MGT Mayer Glastechnik. - We are simply convinced of the excellent performance and the aesthetic appearance, i.e. the matte surface of the frame. The high stability of SWISSPACER Ultimate ensures that the frames are exceptionally parallel to each other, guaranteeing long life and durability.

Nawet w ekstremalnych warunkach klimatycznych wysoka stabilność profilu SWISSPACER Ultimate zapewnia równoległość ram

Even in extreme climatic conditions, the high stability of the SWISSPACER Ultimate profile ensures the parallelism of the frames

Photo: Filip Zuan

Construction site at a height of more than 3,000 meters

The largest window has an area of more than 10m2 and dimensions of 4900×2100 mm. Such a format posed a huge challenge - not only because of the limited space on the construction site at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters above sea level, but also because the window components had to be delivered by helicopter.

By ultrasonically welding the spacers, MGT Mayer additionally ensured the perfect appearance of the corners and optimal load transfer of the insulating glass units used at the ORMA distillery.

We process more than 50 tons of glass used in almost all areas of construction applications every day, but this project will certainly be remembered for a long time, " states Harald Lerchster.

For more information, visit the company's {tag:Manufacturer} page on the A&B portal.

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