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Cera Stribley’s eyelid-like design for St Hubert’s Winery

Cera Stribely steps out of its residential design remit to debut its first hospitality design – the remarkable redevelopment of Yarra Valley’s St Hubert’s Winery. Annie Reid reports.

Cera Stribley’s eyelid-like design for St Hubert’s Winery

Already with an extensive body of work across many other sectors, it was Cera Stribley’s residential work that provided the opportunity to segue into hospitality design after completing a residential project for Gerry Ryan, from Ryan Hospitality Group.

Ryan ultimately spearheaded the winery’s redevelopment in partnership with Treasury Wine Estates.

“From the outset of the project, Gerry had a grand vision to redefine hospitality in the Yarra Valley,” says Domenic Cerantonio, managing principal at Cera Stribley.

“He wanted to create a new attraction that would be wholly architecturally and experientially unique to the region.”

Now known as Hubert Estate, the redevelopment was also about defining the next chapter in the history of the winery, which was established in 1862 by winemaking pioneer and Swiss immigrant, Charles Hubert de Castella.

As well as exploring the fable of Saint Hubertus, Patron Saint of The Hunt and the namesake behind the brand and its ‘The Stag’ wines brand.

Cera Stribely redevelops St Hubert’s Winery

“We drew inspiration from the concept of ‘the hunt’, which is expressed through materiality that is authentic and resolutely natural,” says Jessica Coulter, head of interior design, Cera Stribley.

The initial wow factor is the glimpse of the winery on approach from the highway.

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Cera Stribely redevelops St Hubert’s Winery

“The ‘eyelid’ shape of the cellar door rises up from the ground in a single, swift curve to capture the curiosity of those driving by,” says Coulter.

Then, the paved pathway that runs between two restored sheds, which now house a restaurant and function centre, and the beautiful new cellar door experience, camouflaged seamlessly within the undulating landscape.

Cera Stribely redevelops St Hubert’s Winery

A striking copper door marks the winery entrance, and once inside, a timber-panelled corridor guides visitors through to the cellar door area offering a warm, comfortable environment well poised for an afternoon of wine-tasting and company.

In possibly the grandest gesture, a custom-designed stag sculpture, especially commissioned for the space and made by local artist Tim Clarkson, sits at the heart of the cellar door.

Cera Stribely redevelops St Hubert’s Winery

“It’s giving a nod to the quintessential St Hubert’s ‘The Stag’ selection of wines. All of this culminates in a wholly inviting sense of place,” says Cerantonio.

The cellar door interior is intentionally authentic, minimal, and enduring in its materiality. Terrazzo concrete floors, tan leather bar stools and raw-edge natural timber high-tables from Arranmore Furniture are highlights, with the simplicity of the material palette giving way for the surrounding landscape to shine.

Cera Stribely redevelops St Hubert’s Winery

This project is also about how other elements came together to inform the design response.

The team worked closely with the head chef, restaurant, function centre and cellar door operations staff to curate a space with a mood that complemented things like the culinary style of the menu, down to the day-to-day running of the restaurant, Quarters.

“Every inch of the restaurant, and the distances between kitchen, dining tables, wait stations and back-of-house services has been meticulously programmed to create an optimal service experience,” says Coulter.

“All the excitement of food preparation is on show, while all the back-of-house hustle and bustle is strategically out-of-sight and out-of-mind.”

Now adding excitement is visitors interacting and enjoying the space since it opened in March.

“Seeing kids frolicking on and around the grassy mound that cloaks the cellar door has gratified our design intent in such a quotidian, human way,” Cerantonio laughs.

Cera Stribley

Courtesy of Cera Stribley

Cera Stribely redevelops St Hubert’s Winery

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