After breaking the news of the d’Arenberg Cube back in December 2015, it seems like we’ve been waiting with anticipation practically forever. But finally the d’Arenberg Cube is opening its folding origami doors to the public and it looks like a psychedelic trip that you’ll never forget. If you’ve driven through McLaren Vale recently, there’s no doubt you’ve seen this structure towering above the trees and vineyards on d’Arenberg’s property, and trust us, you’ll want to stop by.
The concept of the Cube was born fourteen years ago and has been developed over last 10 years. Chester Osborn, the son of founder, d’Arry, who turns 91 next week, is the mastermind behind this trippy experience and is known for his eccentric personality, loud shirts and larger than life persona. There’s been comparisons between Chester and his Cube and Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory, and it’s clear to see why.
Below we’ve included a summary of some of the wild features and experiences in Adelaide’s newest tourist destination:
Looking through a hole in the wall, you can voyeuristically enjoy watching a dinner party full of debauchery and wickedness. Chester and half a dozen of his friends dressed in full 1920s garb and had a massive dinner party, and if you’ve ever met Chester, you wouldn’t be surprised that there’s a rumour he got naked at one point during the six hour filmed extravaganza.
With an entire room covered floor-to-ceiling with fruit, you’ll feel like you’ve literally stepped into Willy Wonka’s factory. While you can’t lick the walls to taste, there are glass vessels with different wine flavour notes to help develop your palate.
360º Cinema Room:
Be transported to a place that can only imagine in Chester’s mind. Stand in the middle of a room surrounded by a curved cinema screen, displaying the craziest things you’ve ever seen. You’ll see visions of the world filled with cubes, experience what it’s like to be inside the wine making process, and even see Chester as the man in the moon.
As you walk in the cube, there’s a walkway with a dozen speakers lining the path that are fed music from sensors in the vines. These sensors read the weather and when it’s sunny the speakers produce a noise representing sunniness – there’s also noises for cloudy weather, rainy weather, and more. Chester says the music is not for us, it’s for the vines so that when they hear the sunny music, they know to be happy.
Fine dining restaurant:
Managing to nab 2 world-class chefs from South Africa who have been working on menu since beginning of this year, the food is set to be as much of an experience as the rest of the Cube. Their sommelier, who has worked for Orana and Magill, has put together a wine list with 400 world-class wines, plus the full d’Arenberg museum range and collection.
The journey of discovery continues at every turn, with an art gallery, dozens of TV screens embedded into bars in the cellar door, and balconies on every floor that give you an exquisite view of the Willunga region. They’ve even got a 3D food printer in the restaurant! Everywhere you go in the Cube, you’ll be visually stimulated, which is the way Chester wanted it to be.
The huge glass structure could not have been built at any time other than now. Even five years ago, the technology didn’t exist to keep this structure from falling apart. The glass that wraps around the building would have shattered due to the white and clear panels intercutting the glass attracting heat any time in the past, but fortunately, a stronger glass has been created that has allowed this vision to come to life. If they had chosen to make it any later, the building regulations are changing and it would have meant the $10 million project couldn’t have gone forward.
Containing the winery’s new cellar door, a restaurant, and private function areas with numerous artworks and features throughout, the five storey masterpiece has the optical illusion of floating in a vineyard, with unique folding origami doors and each level having spectacular views overlooking the rolling hills of Willunga.
From this Thursday 14 December the building is open to the public, the cellar door is operational seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm. A $10 entry fee includes a standard tasting experience, with the option to upgrade to one of several premium tasting flights.
The restaurant will be open for lunch from Thursday to Sunday and the kitchen offers seasonally changing degustation menus, with an extensive wine list. Two levels of degustation dining are available, priced at $150 and $190, with different levels of wine matches for both, including a non-alcoholic pairing. They are accepting bookings from Thursday 14 December.
The existing restaurant on the property and McLaren Vale institution, d’Arry’s Verandah, will continue to serve lunch daily, offering both a la carte dining and degustation options.
Watch the video of Darry and Chester opening The Cube at their ribbon cutting ceremony with the Premier on Saturday below: