Australia has long been a leader in hosting oneof-a-kind business events and organisations can now add South Australia's d'Arenberg Cube to the list.
The avant-garde concrete and steel structure looks like a giant unsolved Rubik's Cube towering above the grape-vines, and offers a very different cellar door experience. From the moment visitors enter through mirrored stainless steel doors that fold back origami-style they're plunged into a colourful, alternate reality.
It's the brainchild of artist and fourth generation wine-maker Chester Osborn who was inspired by the complexities and puzzles of winemaking when he created the building. Since its opening in 2017, the playful structure has attracted up to half a million visitors annually. "The d'Arenberg Cube is a surreal and flexible space," says Rachael Whitrow, Cellar Door and Tourism Manager at the Cube. "You can work closely with the d'Arenberg events team to create a truly unique function.
It could range from intimate dining at the Chef's Table to a Gala Dinner with varied themes on each of the five stories of the Cube." She says there are multiple spaces available for use; groups of up to 100 can enjoy a wine tasting experience, groups of up to 60 can enjoy exclusive degustation dining, while groups of up to 12 can enjoy a private dining experience. Bespoke multiday itineraries – including glamping, a bike tour through the vineyards and other team activities - can also be arranged.
Each of the Cube's five levels has been designed to entice and excite the senses, with a wine sensory room, a virtual fermenter, a 360 degree video room, and other tactile experiences. The Sensory Room, for example, has 44 wine flagons mounted on bicycle handlebars, each connected to a bike horn with rubber puffer. Beep the horn and inhale the aromas of some of d'Arenberg's award-winning wines.
The top floor is a magnificent all glass tasting room – four glass bars made up of 115 televisions featuring opaque video projections and floor to ceiling windows on all sides.
Groups of up to six can explore the d'Arenberg Cube and its original cellars in a private Day of Decadence tour and tasting followed by a degustation at the fine dining d'Arenberg Cube Restaurant. Husband and wife team Brendan Wessels and Lindsay Dürr offer a seasonally changing menu, with an extensive wine list.
The decor keeps to the cube's playful theme - dining chairs explode with colour, tables are crafted from old oak barrels, and eclectic art pieces are on display; it's also the only restaurant in Australia to create dishes using a 3D printer. Head Chef Brendan Wessels says the printer enables him to inject more theatre, entertainment and fun into the presentation – like topping a signature dessert with a 3D-printed Italian meringue.
"We tailor all events to our clients' needs," says Whitrow. "We have a series of special additions that can be included or amended to suit the concept. "It may be a scenic helicopter flight across the McLaren Vale to the coast, meeting the owner for a glass of wine or touring the kitchen with the Head Chef.
Each event is unique and we relish the challenge of completing the impossible." She says that the degustation dining for up to six guests at the Chef's Table is popular. The experience offers an extended tasting menu, a dedicated sommelier and exclusive views into the dynamic, state-of-the-art kitchen.
Another option is the Dead Arm Shiraz Masterclass where guests explore six vintages of d'Arenberg's flagship wine paired with a cheese plate. Since its release in 1993, The Dead Arm Shiraz has received hundreds of accolades from wine critics and judges all over the world. The masterclass offers exclusive access to the museum stocks of one of Australia's most collected wines and at the conclusion of the event each guest receives a current vintage bottle of The Dead Arm Shiraz, presented in a gift box and signed by the winemaker.
Arrive by helicopter
If a more luxurious experience is required one of d'Arenberg's Ultimate Experiences will suit smaller incentive groups. Guests arrive at the
Cube via a private helicopter transfer, from either McLaren Vale or Adelaide Airport - and can blend and bottle their own wine. "It's a hands-on, interactive experience where you play winemaker," says Whitrow.
"You can work closely with the d'Arenberg events team to create a truly unique function"
"As a team building exercise we recommend working in small groups, or pairs, to create the perfect blend, decide on the wine name and story and present your new product for a tasting competition."
Afterwards enjoy an eight course food and wine degustation at d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant which offers sit down dinners for up to 50 and cocktail functions for up to 70, with sweeping views over the rolling hills of McLaren Vale.
The d'Arenberg Cube is just a 45 minute drive south of Adelaide. Australia is a direct flight from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin or Queenstown with convenient connecting flights to regional areas.