In a world exploding with culinary trails and extraordinary food experiences, it is hard to imagine what can captivate discerning travellers and foodies. And yet, as the calendar flipped over to 2018, d’Arenberg vineyard in Mclaren Vale, South Australia unveiled the Cube. An idea, which was born in the mind of the eccentric chief winemaker Chester Osborn 14 years ago, finally found form in the shape and is touted to be the ultimate food and wine destination.
The Cube is for travellers who have a thing for exquisite food and wines served up at a charming historical vineyard. There are breathtaking views and amazing sensory experiences to look forward to as well. Here are 5 reasons why you just can’t leave the d’Arenberg Cube out of your next Australian vacation:
* For its unprecedented architectural marvel: The green and white glass-empanelled building seems almost like an optical illusion that stems from the design and makes it appear like it is floating above the vineyard. The top two levels of the structure are askew, rotated on their axis, like a half-solved puzzle. The structure is a larger-than-life replica of a Rubik’s cube, designed to symbolise the complexities in wine-making.
The entrance to this trippy restaurant unravels itself with unique folding origami doors that give you the feeling that you will be transported to another world once you have passed through them. As you go from one floor to the next, the visit begins transforming into a journey — one that ranges from wine to art and technology to nature through the distinct designs of every level in the five-storey structure. The architectural brilliance is topped off with sprawling panoramic 360° views of the McLaren Vale region from every floor, complete with the charming coastline on one end and rolling hills of Willunga on the other.
* For the sheer amount of buzz it has created: The inception of the idea came more than a decade ago when Chester Osborn began to tinker with ways to expand the d’Arenberg winery. When construction of the towering structure began four years ago, wine lovers and travellers began whispering about this multi-million dollar puzzle and what’s to come. The Cube has been called Willy Wonka’s Wine Factory, the Mad Hatter’s House, and Chester’s Folly for its sheer brilliance and rarities.
Thousands of tourists flock to the Cube every day, just to get a picture of the beautiful structure But none of these are as exciting as meeting the man behind the mayhem — Chester Osborn with his bright flowered shirts and electric personality.
* For its remarkable sensory experiences: As soon as you enter the Cube, you embark on a sensory journey like no other. Each of the five levels have been designed with experiences that heighten and excite the senses. The ground floor greets you with a number of different rooms starting with a ‘wine fog room’ where visitors are immersed in a thick fog of the wine of the day.
Next to this is the ‘fruit room’ which is covered from floor-to-ceiling in fruits and flowers on the walls and image projections across the floor, and includes 30 aroma containers that diffuse individual scents matching the tastes of white and red wines. Another room includes dangling VHS tapes and moving projections of people crushing grapes. The building includes public and private tasting rooms, several bars, an art gallery and a glass-empanelled restaurant overlooking the McLaren Vale region. Breaking free from the traditional ambiance found in fine dining restaurants, The Cube explodes with colours by intricately weaving them into different aspects of the restaurant’s furniture. You will also find a 3-D printer installed in the kitchen, a first-of-its-kind used in any Australian restaurant to make food.
* For the d’Arengberg vineyard: d’Arenberg is one of the oldest family-owned vineyards in McLaren Vale, founded in 1912. The family continues to produce many of its wines using traditional methods passed on through generations and produces some of the most full-bodied, aromatic, fruit-flavoured wines. The winery not only serves some of the best wines in Australia, but also boasts of quirky and eccentric wine labels.
Trading the more upmarket wine names for lighter fun ones, each of d’Arenberg’s carefully crafted wines own a distinct name, some of which include The Dead Arm Shiraz, The Money Spider, The Stump Jump, The Dry Dam Riesling, The Broken Fish Plate, The Blind Tiger and Stephanie the Gnome to name a few. Arguably, this is one of the many factors that lend the vineyard its charm.
For the stunning Fleurieu Peninsula region: Once you are done, you will find yourself standing in one of the most picturesque regions surrounding Adelaide. For all the things it has to offer, The Cube remains only one of the many thrilling experiences to discover in the McLaren Vale region located in the Fleurieu Peninsula.
A 45-minute drive from Adelaide to the destination will tell you that Fleurieu Peninsula is not just about the wine but is also home to scenic expanses of land, rolling hills, gorgeous valleys, an alluring coastline and amazing Australian wildlife. The region is replete with beautiful beaches where you can either unwind or jump into the crystal clear waters to try your hand at snorkeling, diving and kayaking. The nearest beach is just a 10-minute drive away from The Cube. Now how’s that for diversity of experiences?