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Published January 7th 2018
Architecture, art and wine with a view
The much anticipated d'Arenberg Cube is now open to the public and definitely worth a visit. The vision of d'Arenberg winemaker, Chester Osborn, has been ten years in its development stage and its completion is an architectural triumph and a whimsical delight.
Set amongst the vines, The Cube is a fun contrast to the natural environment, yet provides the opportunity for visitors to view the sweeping views over the Willunga Hills to the sea.
Visitors are charged a $10 entrance fee which includes a wine tasting experience on the fourth floor but there's plenty of other experiences to enjoy before that.
The first of many doors lead to a 'smell-a-rama' room with fruit and flower-covered walls. Flagons line the walls, each containing a wine-related aroma; think roses, chocolate, stone fruit, berries, lemon, melon and coffee. Visitors are invited to enjoy the sensory experience by squeezing the rubber bulb attached to each flagon, thus releasing a scintilla of scent related to wine aromas.
Visitors are directed along the journey by friendly staff who clearly love their job. A ride in the elevator is punctuated by a well-wishing staff member and then a welcoming staff member at each level.
There are cosy seating areas and lots of odd shaped windows, large and small, from which to enjoy the views.
The ultimate glass statement is a series of bars, designed and made by local Willunga glass wizard, Glenn Howlett, at his nearby studio. The glass top of each bar is embossed with vine leaves, representing one of five wine varietals. The stems, veins and shapes of the leaves can be seen clearly in the glass panels.
Wine tastings are generous and the staff are informative about each wine offered. Names of the wines are a linguistic delight and include such gems as 'The Cenosilicaphobic Cat', referring to the fear of an empty glass and 'The Athazagoraphobic Cat' referring to the fear of being forgotten'. Other wines are named after d'Arenberg family members or loved characters and staff are happy to share the stories of the names.
Visitors can purchase wine at the bar and collect it at a separate building close to the car park. This strategic arrangement means one can meander slowly downstairs, unencumbered by bottles and boxes, and enjoy the artwork and artefacts along the way.
When visiting The Cube, allow at least one hour, you may even want to book into the restaurant for lunch and linger a bit longer. There's a lot to experience and enjoy. Even the bathrooms are interesting.