May 17, 2022 | By Graeme Kemlo
As one of the first wineries in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley, St Huberts was established in 1962 and built an international reputation for its wine, taking the Emperor of Germany’s Grand Prize at the 1881 Melbourne International Exhibition and a Grand Prix at the 1889 Paris Exposition. These wins would ensure the reputation of founder, Charles Hubert de Castella, and the Yarra Valley for premium winemaking.
Now, after a multi-million dollar redevelopment, the brand seems to be on everybody’s lips as the new Yarra Valley destination, one hour from the Melbourne CBD.
Over the past two years a new earthen-roofed structure has arisen from the undulating ground in front of the existing winery buildings. Designed by Cera Stribley, the newly named Hubert Estate includes a cellar door, Quarters restaurant, helmed by Michael Smith (ex Tonka and Coda) and Harriet, a new flexible event space for 200 people or more.
Significantly, the new development also houses the Hubert Gallery of Art featuring the work of more than 20 Indigenous artists from central Australia’s Western Desert. If that sounds familiar, the name behind this development is Gerry Ryan, who spent $16 million redeveloping Mitchelton Winery at Nagambie, 90 minutes further north, where he also established the Gallery of Aboriginal Art with curator Adam Knight.
It is understood Treasury Wines sold the St Huberts property to Ryan in 2016 but retained the winemaking responsibility and will continue to produce St Huberts’ highly regarded cabernet alongside cool climate chardonnay and pinot noir, while Ryan’s family company operates the physical site as Hubert Estate. The wine shop on site will not only offer drops from St Huberts, but a range of wines from Treasury plus other brands and varietals from Victorian producers.
Ryan’s role in developing Victoria’s and Australia’s tourism brand cannot be underestimated. His major contribution over almost 50 years has been as founder of Jayco, the caravan and motorhome manufacturer, however he has also backed Australian professional cycling team Green Edge/Mitchelton-Scott in the Tour de France and he is behind Global Creatures, producers of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which opens at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre nest week, having already won 10 Tony awards on Broadway.
But Ryan hasn’t finished yet at Hubert where he is building an 80-room designer hotel and wellness centre on the Coldstream property, which is expected to open by 2024.
As the winery sits at the gateway to the Yarra Valley, this would offer new options for meeting planners to stage in-house multi-day events close to Melbourne and its international airport.