Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia

Meet the Characters: Chester Osborn, d'Arenberg

As a fourth-generation winemaker – his great-grandfather founded d’Arenberg in 1912 – wine runs in Chester Osborn’s blood. He spent school holidays picking grapes at his family’s prestigious McLaren Vale estate, 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Adelaide. “I think I earned 30 cents an hour but put more grapes in my mouth than in the bucket,” he says, laughing.

Chester would go on to study the art of winemaking, taking over the reins as Chief Winemaker of d’Arenberg in 1984. In contrast to his signature colourful dress sense, Chester describes his winemaking style as traditional, since the sustainable, organic practices of early winemakers are back in vogue. Chester produces d’Arenberg’s award-winning wines through being “respectful of the old vines by using biodynamic practices and natural pest control”.

d’Arenberg is renowned for its robust reds, which are characterised by a long palate, fragrant minerality and excellent ageing – but d’Arenberg’s menu of quirky guest experiences is arguably as impressive as the wines themselves.  Chester’s brainchild, the d’Arenberg Cube, is an architectural feat comprising five levels of tactile experiences to entice the senses, including a wine aroma sensory room, a virtual fermenter, a 360-degree video room and a Salvador Dalí art exhibition. The top floor is dedicated to an unparalleled tasting room, where you can take a wine-tasting masterclass or blend your own wine.

Beyond the Cube, there is an array of behind-the-scenes tours, a new sculpture park and scenic flights over the vineyards and rugged coastline. Plus, there’s bar-cum-eatery Polly’s Wine Lounge which serves casual cheese and charcuterie platters, and the award-winning d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant, where you can indulge in an eight-course food-and-wine degustation featuring fine local produce.