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d’Arenberg to build giant ‘Rubik’s cube’ visitor centre

Australia's d'Arenberg winery is planning to build a AUS$11m, multi-storey tasting room and restaurant complex in the heart of its vineyards, modelled on the design of a Rubik's cube.

d’Arenberg’s plans include a multi-storey tasting room

D’Arenberg winemaker Chester Osborn told Decanter.com this week that he hopes to begin building the futuristic, cube-shaped facility in spring next year.

He has received planning permission, but is waiting to hear whether the local government will assist with funding.

Current designs for the centre include 100 television screens to greet tourists upon entering, stairs with mirrored walls and mosaics of d’Arenberg wine labels on windows. The bottom floor of the building would also be mirrored ‘so that it looks like the building is floating on the vines’. The centre would have a tasting room, restaurant and function room able to fit 190 people.

‘I’ve had this idea for about 10 years,’ said Osborn, insisting he was serious about the project while pointing out a rectangular patch of land cleared for construction in the heart of his McLaren Vale estate.

‘We’re 100% going to do it. We almost did it five years ago, but then the crash happened. The design is modelled on a giant Rubik’s cube, but I’ll call it the d’Arenberg cube. It’s because to me wine is a puzzle and the Rubik’s cube is probably the most famous puzzle in the world.’

The move comes amid the rising importance of tourism and cellar door sales for many Australian wineries in several different regions.

McLaren Vale has around 70 cellar doors, while neighbouring Adelaide Hills has around 50. ‘It’s about 10% of our sales, so it’s very important,’ said Osborn.

Cellar door sales have also flourished further in Mornington Peninsula, just south of Melbourne. ‘It’s about 25% of our sales and it’s growing,’ said Lindsay McCall of Paringa Estate.

‘It’s also a great chance for us to show how our wines go with different food,’ added Jeremy Maygar, winemaker at Mornington Peninsula’s Ten Minutes by Tractor, which has a cellar door restaurant consistently ranked among the best places to eat in Victoria state.

Written by Chris Mercer

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