Shipping Container Wine Tasting Centre in Tasmania
Sometimes an area of astounding natural beauty with minimal human settlement demands exquisite architecture to both compliment and enhance the natural environment. The Devil’s Corner Cellar Door for the Brown Brothers winery in Apslawn, Tasmania does just this. The one-storey main building is composed of a series of repurposed shipping containers with a lookout tower connected to the end, also made of shipping containers but clad in timber. The winery showcases both the beauty of the Tamar Valley in Tasmania, but also what sensitive yet brilliant Australian shipping container architecture can do to compliment the environment in which such a building sits. Through this blog we will take a tour of the winery visitor centre and explore the features of this new building, that was opened in 2015.
The architects, Cumulus Studio, were asked to create a replacement visitor’s centre for the winery and they describe it as being “a project for the Brown Brothers [which] seeks to simultaneously make safe and amplify the experience of this iconic view to create a new tourism experience on the East Coast of Tasmania. Associated with this is a series of complimentary food experiences forming a local market and providing a back drop for seasonal events.”
The buildings and lookout
There are two sections to the visitor’s centre – the Cellar Door and the Devil’s Corner Lookout – which are configured in a cluster around a courtyard. In this configuration visitors can get some protection from the environment, but also appreciate its beauty from relative comfort even on the fiercest of summer days. The Cellar Door sits on the hillside and enables visitors to taste the Brown Brothers wine and enjoy some food. Visitors can do this from within the courtyard area or enjoy the vistas afforded from the location in seating around the the timber-clad and glazed shipping containers.
Moving to the crest of the hill, visitors can enjoy the stunning views of the so-called Devil’s Corner on the Tamar River from the Devil’s Corner Lookout at the crest of the hill. This is another cluster of repurposed shipping containers, with a tower that guests can climb inside and can look out from an open balcony on the views of the countryside, as well as a series of directed viewing areas that are designed to enhance the distinctive views of the countryside in which the wine is made. In the words of Cumulus Studios, “The three distinct spaces reference different and unique views of the site – firstly the SKY, then the HORIZON and lastly the TOWER which winds its way upward providing views to each of the compass points before culminating in an elevated and expansive view of the bay.”
A video tour of the visitor’s centre can be seen here:
Wine is a very complex and nuanced drink, with even minor differences in soils, aspect of the vineyards and the fermentation process all contributing to quite major differences in nose, flavour and mouth-feel.
From the perspective of the Brown Brothers, this visitor’s centre is designed to show off many of this aspects that make their wines so unique and outstanding to the palate by celebrating the environment in which the grapes are grown and the flavours that come from this.
The outstanding addition to Tasmanian architecture was celebrated with an award given to Cumulus Studios – the Colin Phelp Award for Commercial Architecture, as well as the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture in 2016.
From our perspective at Gateway Container Sales, it just goes to prove that no matter what people have to say about the limitations of shipping containers, there is a long way to go before everything had been tried and there is nothing left to do with them that won’t turn heads in some way.
Want to build your own shipping container winery?
Here at Gateway Container Sales we have a network of designers, architects and a team of conversion specialists who can help you design, fit out and place your next outstanding piece of shipping container architecture. Give us a call today and we will happily discuss your needs and help you turn your rough designs into a solid reality.