d'Arenberg Cube - Innovative wine tourism practices

13 December, 2019 - Mariette Morris

d'Arenberg and the Cube

I don't think I could ever imagine d'Arenberg without its Cube. The Cube hovers proudly above the McLaren Vale landscape and has become emblematic of the winery's accomplishments. It provides a genuine feast for the senses, resulting in d'Arenberg becoming the top must-do for wine lovers visiting the region.

Thanks to the wide range of innovative offerings at the Cube, and perhaps in part to the atmosphere created by the physical structure itself, d'Arenberg winery are the winners of the 2020 Wine Tourism Experiences category in the Best of Wine Tourism Awards.

A Real Life Rubik's Cube

The globally recognised puzzle symbol, the Rubik's Cube, was the inspiration behind the construction of the iconic d'Arenberg Cube building. The cube is home to an eclectic mix of art pieces and plays an integral role in the many innovative tourism experiences that d'Arenberg has on offer for visitors to the McLaren Vale region.

As I gaze up at the Cube itself, I am in awe of the impressive structure that stands before me. The building really does resemble a larger-than-life Rubik's cube, constructed from concrete and steel, and encased in green and white glass panels. The panels of the Cube are arranged in a geometrical pattern for a striking effect. The two top levels of the cube have been rotated on their axis, to appear as though the puzzle is still being solved.

D'Arenberg's enigmatic Winemaker, Chester Osbourne, has always viewed winemaking a little like a puzzle. There are so many different aspects (or pieces) that must come together in order to create a wine that is complex, clever and of course delicious.

The Cube was completed in 2017, bringing to life a 3D model that Chester had built when he had first envisioned the puzzle concept in 2003. The Cube that exists today is actually an exact replica of that original model which beautifully encapsulates Chester's personality and the d'Arenberg brand philosophy.

Layers of experiences

The Cube is filled with an array of sights, sounds and smells that make it truly unique from any other winery. The entry level of the building is where you will find the Alternative Realities Museum, a contemporary art space inspired by Chester's approach and beliefs about an individual's unique experience and perception of taste. Put another way, Chester believes that everyone has an alternative reality when tasting the same wine. What one person tastes in the wine, will be different to what the next person tastes.

The museum houses a large collection of Chester's private art pieces, a virtual fermenter, a wine aroma room and a 360° video room.

The Salvador Dali Exhibition houses a wide range of bronze sculptures by the renowned Spanish surrealist, and adds another layer of complexity to the eclectic list of d'Arenberg experiences. Giving the space a more local flavour, a number of paintings by Australian Artist, Charles Billich are also being exhibited. I'm reliably informed that a number of new and exciting pieces are to be added to the exhibition just in time for Summer 2020.

Our perceptions of taste haven't been forgotten either. The d'Arenberg Cube Restaurant, now the second restaurant at the winery, allows diners to enjoy a degustation lunch with the option to enjoy paired wines with each dish. There is a real focus on presenting dishes that are visually stunning, but also taste amazing and champion local produce.

The Tasting Room is located on the top floor of the Cube with amazing views of the surrounding vineyards and rolling Vale hills. There are many experiences on offer in the tasting room, including a range of master classes and blending classes.

Diners can also enjoy lunch in a more traditional setting, at d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant, the original fine dining restaurant on the property.

Speaking of luxury, d'Arenberg offers two ultimate winery experiences that feature either a scenic helicopter or light aircraft flight, followed by a blending session and an eight-course degustation lunch paired wines at d'Arry's.

A tour at d'Arenberg can even be personally tailored to the special requirements and desires of a wine loving consumer. For example, visitors from interstate can arrange with winery to be collected from Adelaide airport in either the helicopter or airplane, and flown directly to d'Arenberg for a day of festivities. They can even be dropped off at the end of the day to local accommodation via the same transport – pretty impressive in my opinion!

The way of the future

For d'Arenberg, having multiple experiences on offer is the way of the future, and they believe it is not enough to simply have a wine and cheese pairing or a blending experience alone.

While there are many experiences on offer at d'Arenberg, not one of them is out of place. By having an array of very different experiences means there is really something on offer for everyone. The diverse and at times puzzling mix of experiences, ties in with the d'Arenberg philosophy and is in keeping with Chester's original concept.

Each experience on offer at d'Arenberg is a part of the larger plan, and each experience is needed in order to complete the picture and solve the puzzle.