Everything old is new at our new cellar door and restaurant!
Our newly renovated cellar door, modelled on the quintessential Aussie shed and using upcycled materials has finally opened! Everything from the design through to the menu captures the essence of the Australian landscape, yet with a modern edge.
Keeping in with the Fowles way of doing things, this new project has been something of a family affair with the interior styling designed and executed by Jay Phillips, long-term partner to Matt’s brother Jim.
“Across the Australian landscape, our land is dotted with corrugated iron sheds. We have taken a simple shed and created a beautiful restaurant and cellar door within its shell, without losing the shed’s heritage,” Jay said.
“When you visit, look up and see the galvanised corrugated ceiling, reminiscent of the humble shed.
“But look a bit closer and you will see that we have cleverly engineered it to make it an acoustic ceiling for our customers to enjoy a pleasant dining experience.”
As a family of resourceful farmers, Matt Fowles was intent on incorporating disused objects from around Victorian farms and upcycling them into beautiful features and points of interest.
“We have been on an amazing journey across the Victorian countryside sourcing objects,” Matt said.
For instance, a 90-year-old rusty fence has been used to create 36 rolled fencing-wire light features in the Wine Shed function space, while disused old hard wood droppers, piled up under the shade of the gums beside the vines, have been repurposed as restaurant tables.
“It’s been a fun and very creative journey for us all,” Matt said.
Matt and Jay also scoured Victoria to find vintage sinks “like what our Grandmothers used to wash their clothes in”, which have been repurposed as vanities in the bathrooms. One was sourced from a collapsed gold miners’ pit in Warrandyte, another from a horse paddock in Macedon and another from the Dandenong Ranges.
Another key feature is a custom-built sofa lounge, modelled on old wool bales.
“The venue needed a place where people could relax and enjoy the space, much like shearers, who, after returning from a hard days’ work on the farm, generally collapse on the wool bales and enjoy a drink or two,” Jay said.
“We created a modernistic view of these jumbled-up bales as a custom-built sofa lounge in front of a large open fireplace, in tribute to the shearing shed. It was crafted from real wool bales and stencils from our family farm Killeen”
The cellar door will also feature a new tasting bar where you can enjoy a view of the Strathbogie Ranges while exploring the extensive range of Fowles Wine. A glass hall connects to the tasting bar, featuring floor to ceiling windows and booth seating that looks out onto the courtyard and kid’s playground.
The kitchen is spearheaded by head chef Adele Aitken, with an emphasis on farm and game meats and ingredients from the local region; the same region that fruit for Fowles’ Wine is sourced. The menu centres around wholesome produce and dishes that reflect the authentic country style of the region, from light salads, cheese and charcuterie right through to comforting larger plates.
The main restaurant overlooks the chef’s herb garden and a feasting area where groups can gather on long picnic tables underneath a vine covered arbour and spit-roast a pre-ordered lamb from the Fowles farm. This is ideal for hearty family get-togethers or a Sunday lunch with a difference.
A separate private dining room, accommodating up to 20 guests, is available for intimate functions or dining reservations. The room features a bespoke ceiling canopy modelled on an indigenous fish trap. Made by family and friends from rusted metal and willow branches, it has been created to reflect Matt and his wife Lu’s farm-to-table principles.
“The family aren’t just wine producers, but passionate farmers and hunter-gatherers, so we have shown this farming story throughout,” Jay said.
The Fowles Wine cellar door and restaurant is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm, where you can enjoy Fowles extensive range of wines, tasting flights, seasonal menu specials, all while the kids have fun in the natural playground in the courtyard.
We are located on the corner of Hume Freeway and Lambing Gully Rd, Avenel, about 90 minutes’ drive northeast of Melbourne.