Food Drink

Tilbrook Estate opens new cellar door after bushfires devastated the winery

James Tilbrook is opening his first-ever cellar door after the 2019 bushfires devastated 90% of his Lobethal vineyards.

Photos: Andrew Teoh.

The Adelaide Hills bushfires in 2019 were devastating, and many Adelaide Hills residents are still feeling the aftermath of the natural disaster.

James Tilbrook of Tilbrook Estate lost more than most, with 90 percent of his vineyards destroyed, and the wine in his storage shed succumbing to the blaze.

However now, thanks to the community’s support and donations, and James’ determination, the SA winemaker has some happy news to share: Tilbrook Estate has opened a brand-new cellar door.

“We never had a cellar door so this is brand-new. This has been a good project for me to get my teeth stuck into that wasn’t depressing,” James says.

The building is designed to have zero net emissions through use of recycled, galvanised sheets and large solar panels.

James is thrilled to have the cellar door up and running and says the design is a “modern interpretation of an old traditional Adelaide Hills barn.”

While the cellar door is opening this Easter Saturday and James says his vineyards are starting to come back to life, it’s still probably a year or two before they get enough fruit off the vine to use their own grapes. In the meantime, they have the ‘Hope Label.’

“The Hope Label is basically wine that was either donated or supplied to us so we can carry on trading,” James explains.

“It’s not our wine, we lost all our wine in the fire. We had no wine, so this is something that gave us hope so we could stay in business.”

The cellar door has a serve-yourself mentality, with guests able to make their own platters with products from the fridge, drink the Hope Label wine and enjoy the sweeping views across the Onkaparinga Valley.

James says they are currently building a kitchen where they will be able to do things like artisanal pizzas, and they hope that that will be ready by June.

Tilbrook Estate are also in the process of building their winery again, so they will be able to make wine on site.

The cellar door will be open Saturdays and Sundays.

To keep up to date check out their website here.

You can find Tilbrook Estate at 1856 Lobethal Rd, Lobethal.

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