As representatives of Barons of Barossa stepped inside The Barossa Cellar for the first time, it was with a great sense of excitement.
While the building will not be completed until July, members of the Grand Council saw for themselves the culmination of years of discussion, planning and fundraising.
Chairman of The Barossa Cellar, Mr James Wark said the group was “blown away” during their site visit last Wednesday.
“Their feedback was very positive and they were thrilled to see the fantastic job that has been done by Ahrens and JBG Architects, as well as everyone else who has been involved in the design and construction of The Barossa Cellar,” James said.
“They could see that what we are embarking on is a world-class facility that will do the Barossa proud.”
Chairman of Barons of Barossa, Mr Stephen Henschke said he was extremely proud of what had been achieved at The Barossa Cellar over the past 12 months.
“This building is representative of the blood, sweat and tears that has been poured into vineyards across the Barossa over many generations,” Stephen said.
“The generosity of the Barossa community has been put to the test and we are delighted that so many people and companies have chosen to support this project with cash or in-kind donations.
“The Barossa Cellar is genuinely a community project and we are looking forward to this facility being used to benefit the Barossa.”
The Barossa Cellar will be the future home of the Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA), as well as a central hub for local grape and wine activities and events that promote Barossa Valley and Eden Valley wines to a global audience.
“A great deal of thought and planning has gone into the design of The Barossa Cellar and how it will function,” James said.
“The office space that will be occupied by the BGWA is practical and has spectacular views across the Valley floor.
“The Grand Hall will be a stunning space for up to 100 guests, but can easily be divided into three sections to cater for smaller events such as masterclasses or corporate meetings.
“And, at the heart of The Barossa Cellar, is the all-important wine vault which is the very reason for its existence.”
The wine vault will be the envy of wine lovers from around the world.
It will hold 2,000 dozen bottles of premium Barossa Valley and Eden Valley wines, all generously donated by local wineries.
The wine vault’s tunnel-like design provides a cool repository for the valuable wine collection, but through a series of in-built displays and feature lighting, it will also celebrate the Barossa’s wine story.
Barons of Barossa initiated The Barossa Cellar concept in 2011, when they put a call out for local wineries to donate wine to promote the Barossa.
In that first year, 19 local wineries responded to what was initially just a regional wine collection, but without a home.
Following the purchase of land on Stockwell Road in 2014, a committee was formed, plans were developed and fundraising began in earnest in April, 2017, with a $1 million donation from the Barons to kick things off.
“It’s amazing to think that just two years ago, we weren’t really sure how the Barossa community would respond to this project,” James said.
“But the support has been overwhelming, not just from wineries and growers, but from the broader Barossa business community and beyond.
“In addition to cash donations, we have been inundated with suppliers offering their services for reduced or no payment. We are delighted to acknowledge them as in-kind donors, on par with our cash donors.”
James said last week’s site visit confirmed that The Barossa Cellar had a real “wow” factor and would become a sought after destination for wine lovers from around the world.
“It was always our dream to create a regional wine collection to showcase premium Barossa wines,” James said.
“But from the response we have received, it is clear that The Barossa Cellar will be much more than that. It will be the heart and soul of the Barossa wine community for many generations to come.”
As The Barossa Cellar nears completion, with the BGWA expected to move into its new office in August, there are still plenty of opportunities for people to get involved.
The vineyard will be planted in spring and local families or wine enthusiasts are able to donate a “Vine” in this vineyard, which will feature their name acknowledged and give them access to wines produced from this vineyard.
Suppliers wishing to contribute cash or in-kind donations to the development of the vineyard can contact The Barossa Cellar at firstname.lastname@example.org, while local wineries have an open invitation to donate wine.
The Barossa Cellar is also seeking historically significant individual wines for display to help tell the story of Barossa wine over many generations.