What’s Inside The d’Arenberg Cube?

The d’Arenberg Cube is 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 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 d’Arenberg Cube, 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

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. And 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.

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.

How to Get To McLaren Vale (without a car)

We chose to visit via the Trailhopper Hop on, Hop Off Bus. 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 – around 1000 people visit the cube daily so there can be queues. The good news, the oddities start at the ticket office which contains a vertical plastic cow (!).

It costs $10 to get into the d’Arenberg Cube but 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 insideThe 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!

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 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.

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 include 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 before making our last stop – at the 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, 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

 

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

The d'Arenberg winery in McClaren Vale is full of unique artworkWe 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 10am to 5pm. If you want to dine at the restaurant in the Cube that’s open Thursday to Sunday and reservations are recommended.

How to Get There: We took the Trailhopper Bus which picks you up in Adelaide in the morning and drops you off around 5pm. If you’re driving, the Cube is at the main d’Arenberg Winery on Osborn Road.

What does it cost to go into the d’Arenberg Cube: It’s $10 per person, kids under two are free, but that includes a wine tasting for adults. If you want to upgrade to their premium wine selection you can book a premium tasting for $40 per person. Other innovative experiences like wine blending or a wine tasting lesson are also on offer.

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.

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

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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 Comments

  1. Mina

    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
  2. Sue Davies

    This is something I would want to do. It little quirky but fun.

    Reply

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