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Life

Cellar Doors Italian style

Like most producers in the world, Italian wineries are constantly looking at making better quality wine. In Italy in recent times, this search has become a study of the ‘fashion of form’ – uncovering the intricate concept of structure of wine to help conceive that perfect drop.

This thinking has also extended to ‘Turismo Enogastronomico’ (food and wine tourism) with spectacular results. Old estates have been transformed by a collection of famous Italian architects, so that the cellar door and winery has become as much the centre of attraction as the wine. It is a union between tradition and modernity, a road map that directs guests and the curious to an unexpected and beguiling journey.

These new concept wineries have been designed by architects and engineers in conjunction with Italy’s most famous contemporary sculptors, and using biodynamic principles so their designs are at one with their environment. Gone are the boring rusty tinned walls of decaying estates, ushering in is a new era of engineering that utilises the natural shape of the landscape as the centre of attraction. Buildings don’t just go up, they also flow out, around and even down inside the earth.

Natural inspirations

The choice of materials, most of the made from recycled or sustainable products, and the sensitivity for the surroundings have been critical elements in this architectural revolution.

The most precious inspiration for Arnaldo Pomodoro, one of Italy’s greatest contemporary sculptors and designers, was a turtle, a symbol of longevity and stability. In this case, the shell of the turtle became the domed copper roof of the Tenuta Coltibuono di Bevagna, a winery in Umbria. Pomodoro had produced many sculptures in his time, but this was the first for the wine industry and the success of the project reverberated on an international scale and set the tone for the design wave to come in the Italian wine industry.

Other wineries followed suit, embracing the art of the concept and seeing it as a way to reinvigorate tourism to the wine regions. Designers and architects Paolo Dellapiana and Francesco Bermond des Ambrois collaborated to conceptualise the Cascina Adelaide di Barolo in Cuneo, Piemonte. This amazing structure has been built into the hills, and from a distance it almost disappears into the countryside, perfectly camouflaged with the rest of the habitat – almost like a Hobbit house full of wine, if you will.

Structure and form

While many of the structures are dazzling from the outside, just as much thought and design has been applied to the internal workings. Everything from barrel halls to crushing rooms have transformed wineries’ inner workings into virtual exhibition halls. The new Antinori Cellar Door in the Chianti Classico area near Florence is a perfect example.

Designed by Mario Casamonti it is a truly unique structure. With a surface area of 24,000m2, it took eight years to construct, with an investment of 40 million Euro. The structure is developed horizontally rather than vertically, with the winery hidden in the earth. The production facilities and storage are spread across three stunning levels. And the interior design is simply breathtaking with terracotta vaults to ensure perfect temperature and humidity levels. 

The new world order

Where Italy once had wineries they now have monuments. And while there are still plenty of the old style ‘casale’ with moulded walls and giant dirty barrels, the way forward is for large, clean, bright and spacious structures with areas dedicated to each individual phase of wine production. 

This concept of wine and design seems to be resonating around the globe with architects working on amazing structures  from California to Chile, from Spain to France, from Alto Adige to Sicily, and even right here in Australia – think Chester Osborn’s big Rubik’s Cube plans for d’Arenberg in McLaren Vale. The future is now and it is an exciting time for those who appreciate design in architecture and in their wine glass.

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Wine
Pursuit of Perfection - Australian Pinot Noir
Words by Dave Mavor on 2 May 2017
Australia's established Pinot Noir regions are continuing to develop and evolve remarkable examples of this varietal. But for the big future of Aussie Pinot, we may need to look west. I'll admit it - not everyone is a fan of  Pinot Noir . But that fact, in itself, is what makes Pinot so enigmatic - aficionados swoon, swillers scoff. And this suits Pinot (and its lovers) just fine because in this land of the tall poppy, it is not always favourable to be too popular. That said, Pinot is one of the most revered and collected wine styles in the world, with the top examples from its homeland in Burgundy selling for outrageous sums of money. It is generally quite delicate (some say light-bodied), and it takes a certain development of one's palate to truly appreciate its delightful nuances, perfumed aromas, textural elements and supple tannin profile. It appears that if you enjoy wine for long enough, eventually your palate will look for and appreciate the more subtle and complex style that quality Pinot can provide. A good point that illustrates this comes from winemaker Stephen George, who developed the revered Ashton Hills brand. "A lot of older gentlemen come into the cellar door and say they love Shiraz, but it doesn't love them anymore," he says. "So we are getting some of my generation moving over to Pinot Noir, and the young kids of today are also really embracing it." THE ALLURE OF PINOT (FOR THE WINEMAKER) Winemakers love a challenge, and there is no doubt that Pinot is a challenging grape to grow, and even more challenging to make. The Burgundians have certainly nailed it, but they have been practicing for thousands of years, and this is part of the key. The cool climate of Burgundy has proven to be a major factor, as is the geology of the soils there, but they have also shown the variety to be very site-specific - vines grown in adjacent vineyards, and even within vineyards, can produce very different results. Vine age too, is critical. True of most varieties, but especially Pinot Noir, the best fruit tends to come from mature vineyards, considered to be around 15 years old or more. Yields too, need to be kept low to get the best out of this grape, as it needs all the flavour concentration it can get to show its best. Australian winemakers have taken these lessons to heart - gradually developing ever cooler areas to grow Pinot, working out the best soil types, and carefully exploring the ideal sites within each vineyard to grow this fickle variety. They're also working out the best clones and the most appropriate vine spacing, and then managing the vine canopy to allow just the right amount of dappled sunlight to reach the ripening bunches. Our vines are getting older, reaching that critical phase of maturity, and yields are managed carefully to coax the maximum from each berry. Once in the winery, the grapes need careful handling due to their thin skins and low phenolic content, so physical pump-overs are kept to a minimum. These days more and more winemakers are including a percentage of stems in the ferment to enhance the aromatic and textural qualities of the finished wine, and oak usage is more skilfully matched to the style being produced. THE STATE OF PLAY OF PINOT Australian viticulturists and winemakers are getting better at producing top quality Pinot with every passing year. And that quality is truly on show in our most recent State of Play tasting. It's been five years since we last had an in-depth look at Pinot Noir in this country. And what a change we've seen in that time! The overall quality of Australian Pinot is certainly on the rise. But what is perhaps the biggest development in the last five years has been the emergence of a potential Pinot giant  in the west . As you will see in our reviews across the following pages, the established Pinot producing regions such as the  Yarra Valley ,  Tasmania  and  Adelaide Hills  are still well represented in our Top 20, but they are joined by newcomers, the cool-climate  Tumbarumba  region of NSW, and an impressively strong showing from the  Great Southern  and  Pemberton  areas of Western Australia. In fact, five wines in the Top 20 are from WA - an amazing statistic given that there were none five years ago. THE EMERGING PINOT GIANT - WA We have seen a marked increase in the number and quality of Pinots coming from the West in recent years, particularly from the vast  Great Southern  area encompassing the five distinct sub-regions of Albany, Denmark, Frankland River, Mount Barker and Porongorup, as well as a secluded pocket of the South West around Pemberton and Manjimup. So what has led to the emergence of WA as a Pinot powerhouse? According to second generation winemaker Rob Wignall, whose father Bill pioneered Pinot production in Albany, there have been a number of small improvements that make up the overall picture. He believes that climate change has been a significant and positive factor, moving the region's climate into more of a semi-Mediterranean situation with mild summer days and a reduction in rainfall throughout the growing season, leading to improvements in disease control and better canopy management. In addition, Rob feels that better oak selection and winemaking practices such as 'cold soaking' of the must prior to fermentation have led to improvements in the finished product. He is also a strong advocate for screw caps, believing that the delicate fruit characters of Pinot really shine under this closure, and that they also enhance the age-ability of the wines. Luke Eckersley, from regional icon Plantagenet Wines in Mt Barker, points to the variations in micro-climates and soil types across the Great Southern region as a factor. "Pinot Noir styles are varied with complex savoury styles from Denmark; elegant perfumed styles from Porongurup; rich fruit driven styles from Mount Barker; big robust styles from Albany; lighter primary fruit styles from Frankland River," he says. Michael Ng, winemaker from Rockcliffe in Denmark, adds that the cool climate with coastal influences allows full flavour development in the fruit, while still allowing for wines of finesse and savoury complexity. And a bit further west, Coby Ladwig of Rosenthal Wines points to the steep hills and valleys of the Pemberton region creating many unique micro-climates that enable varied grape growing conditions, "allowing us to create extremely complex and elegantly styled wines from one region", he says. While neighbouring Manjimup, with an altitude of 300m and therefore the coolest region in Western Australia, has cold nights and warm days ideal for flavour enhancement. PERFECTING THE FUTURE In summary, Pinot Noir in Australia is in a healthy position, with the established regions in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia producing more consistent and ever improving results. Equally exciting are the emerging Pinot Noir regions such as those in WA, as well as Tumbarumba and Orange, that show that the future for Pinot in Australia is bright. So, if you find your Shiraz doesn't love you as much anymore, perhaps look to Pinot, and when doing so, glance west. THE WINE SELECTORS TASTING PANEL The wines in this State of Play were tasted over a dedicated period by the  Wine Selectors Tasting Panel , which is made up of perceptive personalities and palates of winemakers, international wine show judges and wine educators. With an amazing 140 years collective experience, they love wine and they know their stuff.
Wine
The Best Margaret River Wineries and Cellar Doors
Celebrated British wine critic, Jancis Robinson once remarked that " Margaret River  is the closest thing to paradise of any wine region I have visited in my extensive search for knowledge." Not only does it combine all the best qualities for viticulture and produce sublime  Chardonnay  and  Cabernet Sauvignon , but it's also downright beautiful! To help plan your trip to this internationally renowned wine region, we've selected a collection of Margaret River wineries that provide the best cellar door experience, plus we've included a handy interactive map down below. Wine Selectors Tasting Panellist, winemaker, and wine show judge,  Dave Mavor , is certainly a fan of the region, "Margaret River blows me away every time with the incredible quality of its wines."  "One of the reasons for its success is the Mediterranean-style climate, which means it doesn't experience extremes in summer and winter, ensuring superb growing conditions. With the addition of thorough viticulture and winemaking practices, you have what it takes to produce consistently high-quality fruit, resulting in many award-winning wines," Dave explains. Margaret River Wineries List Arima
Located down a dirt road in the northwest of Margaret River's famed Wilyabrup sub-region, Arimia is home to a small organically farmed vineyard, kitchen garden, and a cellar door restaurant. There's a great range of wines available on their tasting menu that encompass both Margaret River classics and emerging alternative styles to enjoy while you learn more about organic farming and winemaking practices. The excellent restaurant has a fantastic menu with ingredients sourced and produced on the property for a complete estate experience. 242 Quininup Road, Yallingup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm www.arimia.com.au Swings & Roundabouts Cellar Door and Taphouse
Swings & Roundabouts is arguably the hippest winery in W.A. with a great restaurant, blaring music, cosy open fires, and an expansive lawn to spend an afternoon in the Sun. The wood fired pizza and rustic Mediterranean-inspired restaurant menu matches perfectly with the excellent range of wines available to sample. And, if you're based in the township of Margaret River during your stay, then make sure you also visit the Swings & Roundabouts Taphouse. This funky restaurant and bar is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day visiting the Margaret River wineries with a spectacular range of wines available to sample on tap. Yes, you read that correctly. You can learn more about some of the  benefits of keg wine here  . 2807 Caves Rd, Yallingup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Tap House 85 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River Open Daily 12 pm to late Visit the Swings & Roundabouts website Hay Shed Hill
Located in the picturesque Willyabrup Valley, Hay Shed Hill produces single vineyard wines that express the character of this outstanding Margaret River site. There are over 25 wines available to sample, from classic Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay through to emerging alternate varieties such as Malbec and  Tempranillo   - all are perfectly matched to the Mediterranean tapas available in the Rustico at Hay Shed Hill restaurant. And, if you're a cheese lover then you're in luck, as Rustico have what might be the largest selection of European cheeses in the South West! 511 Harmans Mill Rd, Wilyabrup  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Hay Shed Hill website Howard Park
Less than five minutes drive from Margaret River's famous beaches, the Howard Park cellar is the perfect place to unwind after an early morning surf or swim. This striking modern cellar door is set on 138 hectares of native bushland, surrounded by the region's iconic marri and karri trees and spacious lawns where you are able to borrow a blanket or bocce set and enjoy a glass or bottle of wine under the West Australian sun. You'll have the unique opportunity to sample and compare wines from both Margaret River and  Great Southern  wine regions, with excellent wines featuring grapes sourced from Howard Park's four individual estate vineyards. 543 Miamup Rd, Cowaramup  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Howard Park website Killerby Wines
Nestled on the ridge of Yallingup and only 10 minutes from Dunsborough, the Killerby Wines cellar door is home to picturesque views over the Wildwood Valley on Caves Road. A visit here will allow you the chance to immerse yourself in the history of the family in the region over the past 90 years and an opportunity to taste the premium range of award winning wines. With sweeping views across the vineyards and Wildwood Valley, the Tuscan style Cellar door and terrace is the perfect setting to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy our wines on the large lawn area. 2715 Caves Rd, Wilyabrup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Killerby website Hamelin Bay Wines
Nestled on a hilltop amongst a beautiful vineyard with views over an idyllic lake, sits the Hamelin Bay winery and cellar door. Hamelin Bay 's wines are estate grown and, with 11 Royal Show Trophies and medals too numerous to count, they have built a reputation for producing wines of distinction. Sample their spectacular wines accompanied by a platter of local produce, while you relax outdoors on the verandah. McDonald Rd, Karridale -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 4:45 pm Visit the Hamelin Bay website Redgate Wines
Bill Ullinger, an ex-Lancaster Bomber pilot, established Redgate in 1977. As for the name Redgate, in keeping with Bill's character, there was once a property close by that had a reputation for producing very good moonshine. In recognition of the service that this farmer offered the community, Bill named his property and wines after the infamous red gate at the entry of that property. This picturesque cellar door is the perfect place to sample the exquisite (and highly awarded) Cabernet Sauvignon and oaked Chardonnay. 659 Boodjidup Rd, Margaret River -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 4:30 pm Visit the Redgate Wines website Credaro
Cesar Credaro's first foray into winemaking was to provide wines for the family table and those of his friends family's after arriving in Margaret River in 1922. 90 years later, Cesar's legacy of sharing excellent wines with friends and family, lives on at the charming Credaro Family Estate . With sweeping views across the vineyards and Wildwood Valley, this Tuscan style cellar door and terrace is the perfect setting to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy our wines on the large lawn area. 2715 Caves Rd, Yallingup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10:30 am to 5 pm Visit the Credaro website Vasse Felix
When Dr. Tom Cullity planted the first Cabernet vines in 1967 at Vasse Felix, Margaret River arguably got its start as a premium wine region. Today, this extraordinary estate and architectural marvel of a winery is a must visit during any trip to the region. With a famed restaurant, cellar door, wine lounge and a gallery brimming with one of the nation's largest private art collections, Vasse Felix is a destination in and of itself. Make sure to book one of the behind the scenes winery tours, that operate during the week, to learn more about how premium Australian wines are crafted. 2715 Caves Rd, Yallingup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the V asse Felix website Margaret River Winery Map Planning a trip to Margaret River? Download our interactive Margaret River winery map. To save on your browser or device,  click here. For more information on visiting Margaret River, be sure to visit the official  Margaret River region website  or stop by the Margaret River Information Centre in the centre of town. But, if you'd like to sample some of the wineries listed in this guide before you visit, explore our wide selection of Margaret River wines and find out more about the wineries listed here in our  Meet the Makers section  . And, with the Wine Selectors Regional Release program   , you'll experience a different wine region each release with all wines expertly selected by our Tasting Panel, plus you'll receive comprehensive tasting notes and fascinating insights into each region. Visit our  Regular Deliveries  page to find out more!
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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