Whenever we are on holiday we like to check out the local wineries. On our recent trip to Adelaide we called in at the d’Arenberg winery in the McClaren Vale wine district, south of Adelaide. South Australia has a long history of winemaking. Some of the McClaren Vale vines were planted back in the 1850s, making them some of the oldest vines in Australia. I prefer the small family run wineries where you get to talk to the people who actually make the wine. I am always fascinated by the way that a particular wine will vary from year to year depending on the conditions – wet or dry, hot or cold – it all makes a difference to the taste. And the same wine will taste different depending on where the grapes have been grown.
This was our first visit to d’Arenberg and I expect it will not be our one and only. It is not just for the wine lover but also for the art lover too. D’Arenberg was established in 1912 by the Osborn family and is still in the family today. One of the most unusual things about d’Arenberg though, is The Cube – a five story surrealist cube surrounded by vineyards. It was apparently inspired by the “complexities and puzzles of winemaking” and was opened in Dec 2017. Each of the five levels have been designed to arouse and tempt the senses. There is a wine sensory room, a 360° video room and a contemporary art gallery.
The Cube is also hosting a Salvador Dali exhibition as part of the Australian exhibition that marks the 30th anniversary of Dali’s death. I don’t know a lot about art but I do know the name Salvador Dali. He is considered to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century and his work encompassed a wide range of art forms including paintings and sculpture of course, but also film, fashion and architecture. 23 authentic Salvador Dali sculptures and artworks are on display at d’Arenberg. The exhibition was due to end at the end of May, however it has been so popular that it has been extended to May next year.
Unfortunately we arrived a little late in the day to be able to enjoy the full Salvador Dali experience at The Cube, however we were able to see the sculptures on display in the grounds and the gallery that exhibits work by local artists. I really loved the clocks. I think they reflect the reality of time, passing quickly when you are having fun and slowly when you are not. There is no sense to it at all.
I think it is a wonderful venture to see work of this calibre exhibited outside of the usual art gallery setting, especially in a rural setting, “out in the sticks!” I also really appreciate the relationship between art and wine – there is an art to winemaking too. Besides, we have all seen those images of exhibition openings where patrons wander around the artworks with a glass of wine in hand. Art and wine go together.
If you are planning a trip to South Australia before May 2020, put Dali at d’Arenberg on your list. There is a small fee to see the exhibition so make sure you allow plenty of time and not arrive too late in the day as we did. As an extra incentive, there is to be a special arrival at d’Arenberg in October – a seven metre tall monumental “Triumphant Elephant”. Now that would be a sight to see!
Oh, and the wines were quite nice too.