Possibly as long ago as the nineties someone said wow about a vineyard experience in a shed. It might have even been a nice shed. But what ensued was a whole lot of really awful wine tasting rooms of varying degrees of rural decrepitude – not rustic charm. The turnaround has been the emergence of exceedingly well crafted vineyard experiences.
Architecture by wonderful designers, with interiors to match, menus to die for and of course the wine; ranging from boutique to established, each is contextualised for a premier experience. Extolling these virtues within an Australian architectural vernacular is
It is a clever clever solution with a welcoming home-like experience that is perfectly scaled and full of warmth: “It was imperative that visitors felt as though they had arrived at a friend’s country estate – one that they could move through freely,” says Rachel Luchetti, co-principal and project lead. To this end significant research of colonial homesteads, and in particular Elizabeth Farm in Parramatta, was undertaken to ensure the modern adaptation was appropriate.
Arranged as a set of connecting spaces that form an arc around a central courtyard, each of the rooms has both an outward and inward view. Moreover, the arrangement brings the scale of the individual rooms towards the domestic and, while the rooms are in fact exceedingly large, they never seem unduly so. The inner view to the courtyard takes in the landscape design by
The interior is explored through a variety of moods shifting through an overall palette of timber and stone. That said, timber is the essential touch point, with iterations ranging through ten different species used in different ways. For Luchetti it was a means to “drive a sense of storied authenticity via the maker’s touch.”
The wine store, for example has a lining of Tasmanian Celery Top Pine with a fragrance and tone reminiscent of traditional wine crates. Conversely, the homestead is centred by an oversized island bar in Tasmanian Blackwood, while the private tasting room is entirely clad in Blackbutt. Stained and aged by hand, the intricately detailed panelled room, with chamfers routed directly into the solid timber, took a team of joiners over two months to complete. It is, however, extraordinary and, being handcrafted, incredible to experience both visually and through touch and smell. It is rare to see such commitment to delivering an authentic interior element and both the designer and client should be applauded for their courage and staying power.
Art, particularly conceptual Australian photography, is another significant touch. With an excellent curation of the client’s existing collection paired with new purchases for the project, the works have been incorporated as they would be in a home. It is an interesting approach as it creates a human scale to the room, as with the pair of Patrina Hicks photographs, Venus and Serpentina I, containing the space around a pair of soft pink lounge chairs in the corner of the barn.
Which takes us to the barn – not a shed. This is a large and traditional barn form with fully lined walls and ceiling cavities. The open-plan uses configurations of furniture to break the scale and direct movement and flow. It is moreover more barn in name than nature with a large open fireplace and various different dining options from intimate to group.
The crisp white façade is made elegant by floor to ceiling blackened steel windows and door frames, while French doors further engage the immediate surroundings and the undulating backdrop of the Broken Back Range. “Showcasing wine lay at the heart of this transformative endeavour, so we created a new north-facing outlook within the homestead and adjoining al fresco lounge area, pinned by the slim armature of a blackened steel pergola, to capitalise on views of some of the oldest vineyards in Australia,” says Luchetti.
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