Wirra Wirra Winery | McLaren Vale

255 Strout Rd, McLaren Vale

Wirra Wirra Wines


Interior Designer

July 2016

Phillip Handforth

A Winery cellar Door Mclaren Vale

THE question

How does an already successful winery in McLaren Vale tap in to wine tourism and the growing visitor economy? And how does it convince first the board of directors, then the staff, and finally the public, that wine tourism can be a natural extension of brand?

The new cafe and renovated cellar door space are so in keeping with the Wirra Wirra character that it seems like the place was always intended to be this way.


Wirra Wirra Vineyards is a medium scale, South Australian owned winery in McLaren Vale wine region. It is a well known winery with an excellent reputation. The fact that they make great wine and have a great cellar door was already attracting customers, but they wanted to move into wine tourism and grow their market share of tourists and money spent both by locals, and tourists from interstate and overseas.

the challenge

Despite many submissions, no design concept had been approved by the board in 10 years.

Finding a solution that feels ‘right’ for a strongly established, well known brand.

Upcycling and re-using hand-made but dated furnishings and fittings, and stemming the tide of off brand purchasing


We dedicate the time needed to understand not just the needs of the project but the needs and values behind the brand and business, and establish comprehensive parameters to ensure maximum value in the development strategy before any design
take place. With this strong background, the Wirra Wirra board approved our big picture planning at the first meeting.

We established key brand character identifiers in materials, atmosphere characteristics and shapes to ensure that the brand was represented in built form in the same way that a graphic designer would design a logo.

Much like a brand style guide, the brand character identifiers were used as a base to describe what characteristics we are
looking for in new product to inform new purchases, and in re-purposing existing items – the old boardroom tables cut down and used in lengths in the cafe and new board room, and the old doors painted and wall mounted as blackboards. With the character identifiers in place, staff can clearly quantify what items are in keeping with brand, and which are not.


For most tourism businesses, working on your buildings and grounds is a big deal. There is a lot of money and time at stake and can be difficult to know where to start. So let’s just start with a coffee.