Only the Barossa would attempt something as bold and ambitious – and downright crazy – as The Barossa Cellar, a spectacular wine museum and meeting place funded by the local community. Did I mention it’s in one of the most beautiful parts of the Barossa?
And it may just work.
It’s an initiative of the Barons of Barossa, which paid for the land (on Stockwell Road at Vine Vale) and committed another $1 million to the project. Local growers, winemakers, businesses and individuals in the community have so far chipped in another $1 million. To get it off the ground, they’re attempting to raise another $1 million by September.
There are all sorts of ways to contribute. A $1000 donation will get you a Shiraz vine in the one-hectare vineyard in front of the building, and $500 will get you a locally sourced stone that will form part of the main entrance. You can become a Diamond Key sponsor for $250,000 or a Gold Key one for $50,000. Local construction firm Ahrens is building The Barossa Cellar at cost, saving $500,000.
The building itself is inspired by the traditional stone buildings of the region, it will be built into the earth and have stunning views across the valley. Treasury Wine Estates is donating some stone it found in a quarry on one of its vineyard properties. The vineyard is being planned by Yalumba winemaker Louisa Rose and will be sourced from donated old vine material throughout the Barossa. The cellar will contain the finest independent collection of Barossa wines, stashed away in various cellars since The Barossa Cellar concept was conceived in 2011. Now they will all come together in one impressive place.
James Wark, chairman of The Barossa Cellar, agrees that it’s ambitious. “It’s probably the biggest community-funded undertaking since the establishment of the Faith Lutheran College at Tanunda,” he says. “I think it’s destined to be the heart and soul of the Barossa, a place that demonstrates the unity and values of the Barossa community.”
The Barossa Cellar will be a meeting place for the wine community, hosting visiting media and domestic and international trade delegations. It won’t just be a soulless empty shell: the Barossa Grape and Wine Association will be a long-term tenant. Chief executive officer James March and staff won’t know themselves after being in that cramped old building in the main street of Tanunda for so long. James is the boss of one of the world’s great wine regions and now his work space is going to reflect that status.
The Barossa Cellar won’t compete with local cellar doors as the wine is not for sale. It’s being built on non-commercial land, so there will be no food, not even coffee. But there will be plenty of wine – in fact 2000 dozen of the Barossa’s finest. There will be masterclasses, lectures, wine tasting and regular open days.It’s a big idea. You don’t achieve 175 years of winemaking excellence with small ones.
To donate visit www.thebarossacellar.com.au