The Cube, McClaren Vale Looks Amazing. But What’s Inside?

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The official name of The Cube McClaren Vale is the d’Arenberg Cube and it’s probably the most controversial addition to the landscape of Adelaide’s McLaren Vale wine region – ever.

A five-storey black and white cube that stands Transformer-like above the genteel fields of sprawling low vines of the d’Arenberg Vineyard that surround it, you can see it for miles. But while the outside is striking, the inside is erm, strange – so, if you’ve wondered, what exactly is inside The Cube in McLaren Vale – or anything else about visiting this amazing sight, we have the answer.

The D'Arenberg Cube in Mclaren Vale South Australia is like a Willy Wonka land of wine. Here;'s what's inside

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.

Where is the Cube McClaren Vale?

Let’s start with, where is McClaren Vale? It’s a wine region roughly 40 minutes drive of Adelaide in South Australia.

McLaren Vale is one of Australia’s best wine regions. While you’ll find wines made from both red and white grapes here, the region is best known for it’s Shiraz and McLaren Vale Shiraz is respected as one of the best in the world.

Once in McLaren Vale, the cube is on the land of the d’Arenberg winery – and despite looking like it was made by someone with Rubik blood running through their veins, it was actually the idea of by Chester Osborn, head of the d’Arenberg wine family. The exterior is supposed to represent the complex process of winemaking.

But once you get inside…. boy, has he let his imagination run away with him with this one.

If that sounds like I don’t like the d’Arenberg Cube, think again. It was the sole reason I wanted to go to McLaren Vale.

I mean I like wine, but I’m just as happy to drink it sitting outside a pub than in a winery while someone explains the finer points of what I should be tasting to me.

Pubs, however, don’t have mad sounding things in them like Inhalation Rooms or an Alternate Realities Museum and the d’Arenberg Cube does. Cue a day trip to Willie Wonka’s World of Wine.

Inside The McLaren Vale Cube

It costs $15 to get into the d’Arenberg Cube but, if you prebook in advance, that includes a full wine tasting.

As such most people head straight to the top-floor tasting room to work their way through the list, I, however, headed deep into Chester’s imagination and the Alternate Realities Museum!

The D'Arenberg Cube in Mclaren Vale South Australia is like a Willy Wonka land of wine. Here;'s what's inside

What’s The Alternate Realities Museum?

This rabbit warren of oddness starts with the Inhalation Room – where I was greeted by a sight straight out of a Kardashian wedding.

A wall of fruit lined one side, one festooned with flowers the other, both were studded with glass jars linked to old bicycle horns. In each jar was something scented – limes, coffee beans, lemons, and squishing the horns led not to a clown-like beeping noise, but a waft of whatever was inside.

It was fun, but a tad disappointing as I had been expecting a room rather like the Bombas and Parr room in London which allows you to actually inhale alcohol vapour but frankly, wandering around here inhaling booze fumes might seriously mess with your head –  it’s bonkers enough without intoxication.

The D'Arenberg Cube in Mclaren Vale South Australia is like a Willy Wonka land of wine. Here;'s what's inside

There’s a purple room designed to make you feel like you’re in a grape vat, a red room full of random modern art, some old technology dotted around (with peepholes in that you need to peer through), a curtain of old videotape I still haven’t quite worked out the function of – and strangest of all, pictures of Frankie Howard and Kenneth Williams everywhere!

It’s like being in the brain of someone who has a drunk a LOT of wine – quickly!

As I update this post in October 2020, there’s also currently a Salvador Dali exhibition at the McLaren Vale Cube.

This costs $25 to enter – which also includes your visit to the Cube itself. Book tickets for Dali at the Cube here.

The D’Arenberg Cube Cellar Door

Talking of speed, the clock was ticking, and so leaving the madness of the ground floor behind we took the lift to the fourth-floor tasting room. Now, this is stunning.

The D'Arenberg Cube in Mclaren Vale South Australia is like a Willy Wonka land of wine. Here;'s what's inside

Even if you don’t like what Chester has done with the rest of the place, you have to admire this.

It’s huge, light, bright airy and with stunning sweeping views across the d’Arenberg winery and the surrounding countryside. Doors lead to viewing platforms that jut out from the corners of the cube and McLaren Vale’s myriad of other wineries are spread out at your feet. It’s beautiful.

And of course, it’s home to an array of d’Arenberg’s award-winning wines just waiting for your to swoosh, slurp and spit out (yeh right!).

With so much to see, I didn’t have time to do much wine tasting – one bottle though had my name on it –  Stephanie The Gnome with Rose Tinted Glasses.

Oh come on, you didn’t think someone who could think up the cube would call his wine anything traditional did you?

Yes, the names of the d’Arenberg wines reflect the originality that surrounds them and includes things like The Anthropocene Epoch and The Atharagozaphobic Cat – Stephanie, however, was a) one I could pronounce b) a rose in a sea of reds so, we grabbed a taste and admired the view from one of the viewing platforms.

The Best D’Arenberg Wines to Try

D’Arenberg win heaps of awards for their wines and have over 70 different products in their range. They are particularly known for the Grenache and so if you see one of those on the tasting menu you should definitely give that a try.

Their most awarded wine is the Dead Arm Shiraz so again, if you want to try the best of the best, then go for that.

Warm in our wine glow, it was time for one last stop inside the cube – the Toilets

What’s the Deal With the d’Arenberg Cube Toilets?

They’re apparently designed to look like a bunch of grapes! If bunches of grapes had weird dolls growing in them.

The D'Arenberg Cube in Mclaren Vale South Australia is like a Willy Wonka land of wine. These are the toilets! Here;'s what else 's inside

With ten minutes left before our Trailhopper pickup (more on that below), it was time to go explore the grounds which along with a casual cafe (the posher restaurant is in the Cube itself but is only open Thursday to Sunday) contains an ArtPark studded with quirky sculptures.

If you ever feel the need to see a giant wine bottle, some Terminator-style wire figures and some upside-down legs in silver undies in the space of just a few square metres, I know just the place!

The D'Arenberg Cube in Mclaren Vale South Australia is like a Willy Wonka land of wine. Here;'s what's inside

We just finished checking everything out when our bus arrived. It was time to go to the next winery. Frankly, it was going to have a blooming good Shiraz to compete with the fun at this one!

The Facts on the D’Arenberg Cube

Opening Hours: It’s open seven days a week from 10.30am to 4.30pm. When we went you could just walk straight in, but, in 2020, where spaces are restricted they are asking people to book in advance. The fee includes a wine tasting and time in the Cube. Here’s where to book your time.

How to Get There:  If you’re driving, the Cube is at the main d’Arenberg Winery on Osborn Road.

How to Get There Without a Car!: We took the Trailhopper Bus which picks you up in Adelaide in the morning and drops you off around 5pm. This allows you an hour at each winery which I thought might be tight at the Cube, so we practically ran towards the door when we arrived – when we visited around 1000 people a day were visiting the cube so there could be queues.

With the new booking restrictions, entrance is timed, but you will need to be a bit more organised to use the Trailhopper, but they explain everything in their welcome pack.

To see our review of the day, click here. 

There are a number of other wine tours that visit McLaren Vale (you can find a selection here) but do check that they go to the D’Arenberg Cube as not all of them do – as, with Trailhopper, you’ll need book in advance to enter the cube.

This tour does go to D’Arenberg, but the price doesn’t include the Cube entry so you’ll need to book that in advance – and talk to the company about the timings in advance.

The d'Arenberg winery in MCClaren Vale South Australia is full of quirky touches like this big wine bottle

What does it cost to go into the d’Arenberg Cube: It’s $15 per adult, $10 for those under 18, kids under two are free that also includes a wine tasting for adults.

Other innovative experiences like wine blending or a wine tasting lesson are also on offer at d’Arenberg which you can book in advance. They’d make an excellent present for a wine buff.

You can pick from ideas like The Blending Bench experience which lets you mix and match your own favourite wine flavours to make your own personal wine blend (just make sure you have a creative name for it ready). They also offer the Blending Bench experience with a full degustation menu including wine pairings.You can see more about that here.

Or, if someone really loves their D’Arenberg wines, they’re probably au fait with the Dead Arm Shiraz which is one of their best and most awarded wines. This masterclass teaches you everything you need to know about it – including tasting six different variants of the wine.

You also get a signed bottle of the Dead Arm Shiraz to take home. It’s not a super cheap experience, but for the right person, it would be the most amazing gift. Click here to read more about it.

How long do you need to spend inside: We did it in an hour, but if you want to do the full wine tasting and/or eat at the property and not rush about I’d allow around two hours.

There’s also cool sights outside the property like the Big Wine Bottle – above – and various bits of art to check out.

The d'Arenberg winery in McClaren Vale is full of unique artwork

How much did it cost? $15 million but as they are expecting around half a million visitors a year to come to see it, it’ll pay for itself! Go now before word fully gets out!

Can You Eat at the Cube? Yes. There used to be an upmarket restaurant in the cube but that is currently closed but there are two other dining options on the premises.

Eat@Pollys is the D’Arenberg cube’s more casual restaurant. It’s located on the first floor of the cube and open each day from 11-4pm. They don’t take bookings so it’s first come first served.

Dishes include smaller meals like salads, sandwiches and pate with crackers. And, of course, they offer a full wine list.

If you’re looking for something a bit more special, then the D’Arry’s Verandah restaurant should be your choice. It’s not located in the Cube, but on the d’Arenberg Homestead. It offers fixed-price menus with the two-course menu starting at $70 a head. Again, there’s a full wine list to pick from as well.

If you prefer to snack while you’re tasting, you might want to book the Varietal Discovery and Cheese Tasting Plate Experience. This 2-hour experience will take you on an extensive tasting of the D’Arenberg range while nibbling your way through a cheese plate! Click here to book or see more about the wine and cheese experience. The price also includes your entrance fee to the cube.

So, there you have it – your guide to the amazine D’Arenberg Cube at McLaren Vale – but if you do have any further questions please drop me a line in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Visiting the d’Arenberg Cube wasn’t the only day trip we took on our trip to Adelaide, read more if you want some ideas of other day trips from Adelaide.

Or, if you’d prefer to stay the night in Mclaren Vale, search here to find a list of hotels and prices – and get the chance to book through your normal favourite booking service like booking.com or Agoda.

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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.

IThe d'Arenberg Cube is the newest addition to the McLaren Vale wine region near Adeliade, South Australia. But what's inside - we reveal all. #darenbergcube #mclarenvale #adelaide

2 thoughts on “The Cube, McClaren Vale Looks Amazing. But What’s Inside?”

  1. The d’Arenberg Cube is definitely something different. LOL
    I’m not sure if I would like visit it, even just out of curiosity or would consider it a waste of time… And those doll are super creepy Hahahah
    But hey, good to know where to find something quirky 😉

    Reply

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