5 of the best arty wineries in Australia

Helen Alexander

Senior Contributor

Australia is renowned for its world-class wines, but did you know some cellar doors are also home to sculptures, paintings and installations? From the Margaret River to the Yarra Valley, grab a glass and enjoy some art appreciation at these top wineries.

Who’s who of Australian artists?

One of the first wineries to open in Western Australia’s sun-kissed Margaret River in the 1970s, this family-owned estate has come a long way from its previous life as a cattle farm. Today, visitors roam from the cellar door to the art gallery, where more than 150 paintings hang on the walls – including modern masterpieces pieces by home-grown greats such as Arthur Boyd and Sir Sidney Nolan.

You can even take a little piece of art home with you – Leeuwin’s Art Series wine labels feature specially commissioned pieces, like John Olsen’s playful Frogs in Riesling bottles. If all that art has meant you’ve worked up an appetite, take a seat on the sweeping terrace overlooking the estate’s forest of distinctive karri trees and feast on Australian ingredients at the restaurant. Every dish on the six-course tasting menu is matched to a current or a previously released ‘museum’ wine, opt for the latter if you’re looking for some delicious old vintages. One word of advice: keep an eye on the private airstrip, you never know who might be jetting in for one of Leeuwin Estate’ summertime concerts.

Leeuwen Estate, Western Australia

Credit: Leeuwen Estate

Sculptures by the sea

With its sprawling outdoor gallery set amid rolling vineyards, and the bay sparkling in the background, Pt Leo Estate is one seriously good-looking winery. Just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne, a walk around this $40 million sculpture park will see you come face to face with one of Barry Flanagan’s dancing bronze hares and wander under Deborah Halpern’s mosaic-covered Portal to Another Time and Place. Two circular routes take 30 minutes or one hour to complete and can be combined to ensure you lay eyes on all 60 artworks.

Finish your explorations at the state-of-the-art cellar door with a wine tasting before moving to Laura – the winery’s fine dining restaurant boasts stunning panoramic views of Jaume Plensa’s soaring artwork of the same name. Featuring locally sourced ingredients like Great Ocean Road duck, Port Philip scallops and Western Port Bay wagyu beef, the menu reads like a roll call of delicious Victorian produce that’s been expertly crafted into a five-course tasting menu by culinary director Phil Wood.

Pt Leo Estate, Australia

Photographer: Nils Versemann

Conversation-starting art

Prepare to descend into one of the most decadent, debauched and daring private art collections in the world, just minutes from Hobart. As the owner of Moorilla winery, Moo microbrewery and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), outlandish entrepreneur David Walsh is intent on shaking up this sleepy corner of Tasmania with great drinks and mind-blowing modern art.

Familiarise yourself with Moorilla’s small-batch, cool-climate wines before venturing underground to MONA. Carved into the rocks of the Derwent Valley, this sensational subterranean gallery is full of surprises and shocks – from Julius Popp’s waterfall installation that spells out random words to Wim Delvoye’s stomach-churning recreation of the human digestive system. If you want to linger a little longer, book a stay at one of the on-site luxury villas, which feature artworks from the collection and access to a heated infinity pool – perfect for an evening of quiet contemplation. 

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)

Photographer: Cyrus_2000

An architectural marvel

The Osborn family might have been growing grapes in McLaren Vale, a 40-minute drive from Adelaide, since 1912, but their cellar door is anything but traditional. Rising from one of the vineyards, the glittering D'Arenberg Cube was inspired by the complexities and puzzles that are involved in making wine and has had visitors reaching for their cameras since it was unveiled in 2017.

Having snapped your reflection in the mirrored exterior, enter the cube for a wine flight while admiring views of the surrounding green Willunga Hills. The five-storey structure is all about immersive experiences, so don’t miss the Alternate Realities Museum that houses art installations, sensory and 360-degree video rooms, and a virtual fermenter. Aspiring winemakers should book a session at the Blending Bench where they can mix, bottle and label their very own creation.

D'Arenberg Cube Winery

Photographer: Mariangela Cruz

Cellar door chic

It doesn’t matter how high the temperatures get in the Yarra Valley, it’s always cool at TarraWarra Estate’s architect-designed cellar door. From its striking entrance, made with stones sourced from nearby Castlemaine quarry, to the polished concrete floors and salvaged timber tasting table, this place has wow factor by the bottle-load. If the sunshine pouring through the circular skylights has enticed you to head outside, grab a spot on the deck under the shade of native peppercorn trees.

Next door, TarraWarra Museum of Art’s permanent collection features the famous painting Sydney Harbour In The Rain by Brett Whiteley and pieces by aboriginal artist and political activist Richard Bell. At just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s city centre, it’s an easy to reach art escape.

TarraWarra Estate in Yarra Valley

Photographer: Wozzie

Become a member to join the conversation!

Become part of the world's leading travel & lifestyle community!