Over a Century ago, before automated bottling lines had even been dreamed of, hard-working Barossans sat in Benno Seppelt's newly built winery and carefully packed his fine fortifieds and brandies into wooden crates for shipment elsewhere in the Colony - and the world. In the Bottling Hall, an industry was born.
Over the decades, that Prussian work ethic and the drive of Benno Seppelt has seen Seppeltsfield grow to be a major player in Australia's wine industry. Over the years, mechanisation provided new means of getting product to market, and the men and boys of the Bottling Hall are sadly no longer. The Bottling Hall survived in a new guise, becoming the company's famous Cellar Door in the magnificent bluestone complex which also houses the iconic Barrel Room where patrons today can buy 100-year old fortifieds, or sample precious drops of the rich tawny which captured the sun of their birth year.
Now the Bottling Hall/Cellar Door is to enter its third age, thanks to a sensitive and thoughtful $3m makeover by Seppeltsfield's present owner, Warren Randall. The space has been gutted and carefully restored and modernised under heritage supervision - keeping and enhancing the old, but adding new features and facilities which will restore the 'Crown of the Barossa' to Seppeltsfield Winery.
For long-time visitors and old hands, perhaps the only identifying feature retained in the makeover of the old Seppelts Cellar Door is the Door itself! (see our picture above). They would also remember the cavernous expanse of the room - one of the largest cellar door experiences in the Valley.
From late November, that space is to be re-born as Seppelts Cellar Door AND fine Restaurant FINO - a restaurant whose famous name is synonymous with exceptional dining. FINO will bring progressive regional dining based on local Barossa produce and an exciting wine list - a highlight being a dedicated Fino Sherry barrel (now known in Australia as ‘Apera’), in which by-the-glass (fresh off-flor) liquid gold will be drawn upon daily.
Outside, the once austere space in front of the Cellar Door is being transformed into a spectacular landscaped terraced garden featuring (what else?) the sandstones and bluestones which sets Seppeltsfield apart from any other winery in Australia. And did we mention the 6 mature Canary Island palms, transplanted there to visually tie in the new development with the palms which are so synonymous with Seppeltsfield.
Diners will be able to eat 'al fresco' or indulge inside in any of the Cellar Door tasting ‘Pods’ and, for VIPs, an exclusive mezzanine lounge. An extravagant fire place, custom French oak timber flooring and slate wall features (recommissioned from Seppeltsfield’s 1888 Gravity Flow Winery) complete this stunning restoration.
In early October, we were afforded an exclusive 'builder's tour' of the development - and amongst the designer rubble, it's possible to envisage just what Seppeltsfield is trying to achieve. Seppeltsfield's old hands from the last Century would be smiling - and Benno Seppelt would be extremely proud. It's going to be a bottler!
(click on each image below for larger photos....and remember to get our audio Talking Tours on the History and Provenance of the Valley - and our Wine Appreciation for Cellar Door visitors - both of which feature Seppeltsfield) You can also read this story on our Facebook page by clicking here.
Barossa Talking Tours provides an entertaining and informative look at the Barossa Valley as an audio tour - perfect for car or caravan!