A five storey multi-function building set among Mourvèdre vines, each level designed to entice and excite the senses.
This Thursday, 14 December will see the opening of the long-anticipated d’Arenberg Cube in the heart of South Australia’s McLaren Vale.
The AUD$15 million glass-encased steel and concrete puzzle structure was inspired by the Rubik’s Cube, and represents the realisation of a 13-year-old dream held by d’Arenberg’s chief winemaker, Chester Osborn. The development has already been likened to Tasmania’s MONA art gallery, with hopes of attracting tens if not hundreds of thousands more wine tourists to the region.
The five-storey, multi-function Cube has been built with the assistance of a $2 million State Government Regional Development Fund grant, and represents the collaborative efforts of ADS Architects, Sarah Construction and CPR Engineers. The Cube features several bars, a restaurant run by Michelin-trained chef Brendan Wessels and head sommelier Joshua Picken, private tasting rooms and various interactive winemaking installations. The quirky building design is paired with magnificent views of the rolling hills of Willunga and the 19th Century homestead that houses the existing cellar door.
Playing to our strengths – regional tourism on the up
Tourism to regional Australia is on an upward trajectory with visitors increasing on average by 4.1 per cent per annum over the past five years. As a result, attracting investment into regional leisure destinations is now a major priority for the Australian Government, spearheaded by Tourism Australia and Austrade’s regional investment attraction strategy. Food and wine is integral to the Australian tourism experience, with just under 100 million visitors to regional Australia engaging in food and wine tourism activities each year. Importantly, the use of an anchor tourism product can transform a small regional town into a destination.
The d’Arenberg winery is responsible for approximately one-third of McLaren Vale’s premium production, making it the busiest cellar door in the region, often reaching capacity with 50,000 visitors per year. Osborn, a fourth generation family member of the winery, has been the driving force behind the attraction. Motivated to preserve and grow his long-running family business, Osborn predicts as many as 500,000 annual visitors – a tenfold increase on current figures. The winemaker has already employed more than 50 new staff to cater to the expected increase in demand.
New news is such a big thing in destination marketing, especially when it comes to developing regional tourism centres. Entrepreneurial thinking can transform our regional areas and encourage more visitors to explore beyond our country's main gateways.
Potential game changer for the region
The Cube aims to deliver one of the best and most unique fine dining and cellar door experiences in the State, if not the country. McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is confident that the development will further improve the diversity of McLaren Vale’s offering. “The d’Arenberg Cube will not only increase visitation, (but) influence further investment attraction and job creation. Wine tourism is vital to the sustainable growth of our region’s and State’s economies, and The Cube affirms McLaren Vale’s position as a premier wine tourism destination, globally.”
The addition of such an attraction to McLaren Vale is a potential game changer, putting the region and broader State on the map for wine aficionados worldwide. For Tourism Australia’s Managing Director, John O’Sullivan; "New news is such a big thing in destination marketing, especially when it comes to developing regional tourism centres. David Walsh's MONA in Tasmania and Bruce Munro's Field of Light at Uluru and now Osborn's d’Arenberg Cube in McLaren Vale - these are all great recent examples of how entrepreneurial thinking can transform our regional areas and encourage more domestic and international visitors to explore beyond our country's main gateways.”
The d’Arenberg Cube - a project 13 years in the making - is open to the public from Thursday, 14 December 2017.