$50 million luxury hotel planned at iconic Barossa Valley winery

A 12-storey hotel and day spa is being proposed at Seppeltsfield to become “a Sydney Opera House” like icon to drive luxury tourism in the Barossa wine region.

An artist’s render of the Oscar Seppeltsfield luxury hotel being planned for the Barossa Valley in South Australia.

The $50 million six-star luxury hotel project in South Australia will have about 70 rooms, including suites and penthouses, with a private balcony for every room.

To be named Oscar Seppeltsfield, the Luxury Hotels Australia project is expected to begin welcoming guests in 2022.

Artist’s renders of the building set in the vineyards near the iconic Seppeltsfield Winery reveal an ultra-modern design to rival McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg Cube.

The hotel will be on land owned by Seppeltsfield Wines and leased to Luxury Hotels Australia for 99 years.

Wine baron and Seppeltsfield owner Warren Randall said he wanted to create a national icon for South Australia.

“A Sydney Opera House for the Barossa,” he said.

“Oscar will complete the grand vision of our tourism master plan for Seppeltsfield to become the most desirable epicurean destination for tourists worldwide.
“The hotel will be positioned gently in the middle of the Great Terraced Vineyard, surrounded by century old bush vines, an amazingly tranquil location and a short walking distance to the world-class Seppeltsfield tourism village.

The Seppeltsfield precinct is already one of the Barossa’s leading tourist destinations and includes the Seppeltsfield Cellar Door and Centennial Cellar, 1888 Gravity Cellar, Fino Restaurant, a design studio, cooperage and artisan knife maker.

“In 2019, Seppeltsfield was judged as one of the top 50 vineyards in the world,” Randall said.

“The addition of this luxury hotel will elevate Seppeltsfield to one of the top five vineyards in the world, in turn lifting Australia’s international wine reputation.”

Plans for the hotel are expected to be lodged with Light Regional Council today. Construction is hoped to begin in early 2021 with the building completed about 12 months later.

South Australia is responsible for about 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production and 80 per cent of its premium wine.

The Barossa Valley is Australia’s most famous wine producing region and is also home to iconic brands Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Jacob’s Creek.

The Seppeltsfield project is the latest in a string of investments involving Randall, who has risen to become one of the most important individuals in the Australian wine industry in recent years on the back of booming exports to China.

Oscar Seppeltsfield will also feature a sky bar on the top level with 360-degree sweeping views of the Barossa. The ground floor will have a wellness day spa including a private entry to a relaxation space and infinity pool. The hotel will also offer a restaurant, private dining room and boardroom.

A tender process will be soon undertaken to choose the luxury hotel operator. The project is expected to create 363 construction jobs and 350 ongoing jobs for the region once operational.

Project spokesman Toby Yap said Luxury Hotels Australia was made up of a dynamic group of South Australian business leaders.

“The Barossa is famous for its wine, food, and spectacular sights, but what it needs is an iconic luxury hotel to cater to local and international guests that visit the region,” he said.

“We are thrilled to be bringing this landmark project to one of the greatest wine regions in the world.

“With over 897,000-day trips to the Barossa in 2019, Oscar Seppeltsfield will be a place where people can stay longer, immerse, indulge and relax.”

Head Architect of Intro Architecture Terry Boxall designed the hotel, taking inspiration from the history of Seppeltsfield winery and the wine barrels in the Centennial Cellar.

The hotel is named in honour of the innovative visionary Oscar Benno Seppelt, who took over the Seppeltsfield Winery from his founding father Joseph in 1868 and went on to revolutionise the Australian wine industry.

Research commissioned by the South Australian Tourism Commission found that only 28 accommodation options out of 161 in the Barossa were rated at 4-stars or above, revealing a gap in the market for a luxury hotel.

Direct tourism expenditure as a result of the hotel is expected to be $19 million per year with tourism visitor numbers estimated at 147,166 over first five years.

Randall began his wine career as a cellar hand in the late 1970s before becoming Australia’s leading sparkling winemaker in the 1980s. He teamed up with two partners to buy his first winery – Tinlins in McLaren Vale – in 1994 and purchased his first 50 per cent stake in Seppeltsfield in 2008.

But it is in the past five years that the Randall Wine Group growth has spiked, resulting in a buy up of vineyards in South Australia’s major wine producing regions in the past 18 months.

The group now owns more than 3300ha of vineyards in South Australia, which it says makes it “the largest private, luxury vineyard holder” in the state.

Seppeltstfield also opened a wine chateau in China in 2017 in a joint venture with Minquan Jiuding Wine Company Ltd. It is the first Chinese chateau to have a part ownership stake by an Australian winemaker.

Originally published in The Lead.