McLaren Vale’s new wave of wineries and accommodation showcases some of the country’s best contemporary architecture and design. When combined with innovative dishes inspired by local produce, national and international heads are turning.

The region continues to innovate and evolve, with a number of beautiful additions to its increasing list of unique wining and dining opportunities. The last year has seen a particular focus on architectural detail, with the region home to many new impressive experiences.

Mitolo’s tasting pavilion and restaurant has recently opened and inspired a new design trend in the region. Made up of ten shipping containers, the structure includes a tasting room and luxury restaurant – Bocca di Lupo. “The concept of using containers came from developing a pop-up, but it sparked an idea for a permanent space. We have created a contemporary, modern design which sits beautifully within the landscape” says owner Frank Mitolo.

It’s a seamless blend of glass, wood and metal container walls, with soft, sleek modern furnishing. “The glass lets the outside in, so anywhere in the building you can see vineyards and the landscape.” While the winery and family have been producing wine in the region for almost two decades. “It was important for us to have a home,” says Frank. “Our key focus was to create a luxury and unique experience whilst still maintaining a welcoming family feel, which is inherent to our Italian culture.”

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McLaren-Vale-Visitors-Guide-Architectural-Design-Delights-Food-and-Wine

Another beautiful addition includes Inkwell Wines cellar door, which also utilises 20 shipping containers to create their bespoke tasting room and accommodation. Their inspiration was ecological, sustainable design as co-owner Irina is one of Australia’s leaders in viticulture sustainability. “From an environmental perspective we wanted to focus on what we could reuse and set a new benchmark,” owner Dudley Brown says. To complete the luxurious interior design, there’s reclaimed wood and furniture sourced nationally and internationally.

Smidge Wines are also part of the fashionable trend, recently opening their shipping container tasting room, one weekend a month. It’s a smaller, boutique option offering a cosy tasting. Paxton Wines have created a pop-up wine offering too, with their transportable shipping container appearing at various locations across the region.

Beresford is another architecturally-impressive destination on a larger scale and their Tasting Pavilion in McLaren Flat can’t be missed. The sleek black rectangular building offers panoramic views of the lush grounds thanks to sliding doors around the entirety of the building. There’s even a floating fireplace in this luxurious space.

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And then there is d’Arenberg’s famous Rubik’s-inspired Cube. The stunning structure has uninterrupted 360° views of the McLaren Vale region. For d’Arenberg’s owner/winemaker and brainchild of the Cube, Chester Osborn, it’s as much about boosting the region’s offerings as it is wine and art. His four story structure includes an interactive art gallery, restaurant, function space and tasting room (the top level), with panoramic views of the vines while you sip.

“I was originally going to build another of the same homesteads we have, and then one day I woke up and thought that we needed something more iconic and exciting. What captures d’Arenberg is fun, funky, and we have a label name that’s such a puzzle to work out. Instead of colours on the building, I decided to put puzzles on the outside so it’s very d’Arenberg,” Chester says.

The Cube is part of a wave of interesting and iconic design drawing people to the region. So what are you waiting for? Time to experience it all for yourself.

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In recent years, McLaren Vale has not only seen an increase in dynamic venue design, but also attention to detail in brand and label design too. There are stunning bottles popping up throughout the region.

Local designer David Byerlee specialises in cleverly crafted wine labels. “McLaren Vale has evolved quite a lot over the past few years, with design and branding at the forefront,” he says. “With so many beautiful brands in the mix now – being seen is a must.”

David has designed branding for local wine labels such as Shottesbrooke, Sew & Sew, and Railroad Vineyards (all popular on local wine lists). “Visitors want to immerse themselves into an engaging brand these days, and with amazing new wineries like Alpha Box & Dice, Hither & Yon and Penley Estate, you can.”

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Main Photo: South Australian Tourism Commission

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