Howard Park Wine Chapel. Credit Dylan Alcock.

We’re accustomed now to the cellar door ritual.

The easy chatter standing over a bar or sat at a high table, an amiable and knowledgeable host attending to your glass. But, there are occasions when something more exclusive and luxurious is in order.

Addressing this is Howard Park’s architecturally designed Wine Chapel, a private setting neighbouring the main cellar door and offering carefully curated wine tastings from one of the Margaret River Region’s most iconic establishments.

The Wine Chapel building is a stunning construction of concrete, iron and textural timber. Adorned with heritage vines, it maintains a contemporary Australian feel embellished with rich history and is the perfect place to expand your wine knowledge.

Welcome glass of sparkling at the Wine Chapel entrance. Credit Paris Hawken.
A warm welcome at the Wine Chapel entrance. Photo credit Paris Hawken.

Bookings are required for the Wine Chapel experience, with availability daily for small to medium groups of guests. Cellar door manager Charlotte Dowden says that while they welcome groups of two to 22, “The sweet spot is around eight.”

With a choice of two tasting tutorial offerings, tailored service and a gourmet regional charcuterie and cheese platter included, the two-hour session is suitable for high-end corporate gatherings, private celebrations, girls’ days out or couples on a group adventure.

Art of Sparkling Experience at Howard Park Wine Chapel. Credit Paris Hawken.
The perfect combination of education and indulgence. Photo credit Paris Hawken.

The first thing that strikes you on walking into the main tasting room is the painterly vista of the sprawling Leston vineyard, enabled by floor to ceiling glass and echoed in intricate 45-year-old vines, some of Howard Park’s very first, repurposed as delicate chandeliers.

Family matriarch Amy Burch is of Singaporean Chinese descent, and her influence over the calming Feng Shui minded design of the entire cellar door is disarmingly strong. The sense of tranquillity and belonging in the space, with its ties to the beautifully cared for gardens and surrounding marri and jarrah forest makes being there a joy in and of itself.

Howard Park Art of Sparkling Experience, in their wine chapel. Credit Paris Hawken.
The Art of Sparkling experience is perfect for small groups and special occasions. Photo credit Paris Hawken.

For lovers of bubbles, the Art of Sparkling option will carry participants through Great Southern and French vineyards, enjoying Champagne and Méthode Traditionelle sparkling wine from the Howard Park, Marchand & Burch and Franck Bonville ranges.

With many award-winning labels among them, this is the perfect warm weather day out. Once you’ve topped up on your preferred fizz, you can enjoy it on the lawn with a spot of sunshine to see the afternoon through.

Lounge in the Wine Chapel at Howard Park. Credit Russell Ord.
The cosy and intimate lounge in the Wine Chapel. Photo credit Russell Ord.

For chardonnay enthusiasts and red lovers, or any winter warriors, the Margaret River and Great Southern private wine tasting might be more for you. A wide range of varietals awaits you, with the intimate and cosy lounge and its picture window the perfect place to relax once the formalities are done. If you’re lucky, resident black Labrador Rosie might pop her head in for a pat.

Both sessions run for approximately two hours and guests are welcome to stay on beyond the tasting to soak up the atmosphere. Expect premium service, a celebration of local produce, and of course the beautiful, handcrafted wine of three decades’ experience. At $120.00 per person, this is an affordable luxury and a simply lovely way to spend the day.

Don’t have two hours? Pop in for those over counter chats or book a seated tasting flight on the main cellar door floor. The self-serve fridge is stocked with local charcuterie to purchase on the fly and you’re welcome to pick up a box of artisan crackers and a chunk of local cheese and sit on a picnic blanket on the lawn.

Say hi to Rosie for me.

Howard Park Cellar Door. Credit Zac White.
The architecturally-designed cellar door at Howard Park. Photo credit Zac White.

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