Log In / Join Now

Extremely Trippy Giant Wine Rubik's Cube Arises in Australia

Plus, a wine-themed skateboard, beer on a mission to Mars, and Lady Gaga may be planning a wine
Photo by: Courtesy of d'Arenberg
*Opening chords to 2001: A Space Odyssey theme*

Posted: December 14, 2017

Australia is a magical place populated by quasi-mythical creatures like wine-tasting koalas and talking kangaroos, where winter is summer, "football" (Australian Rules) is a some kind of unholy rugby-soccer-ish union, and a giant Rubik's cube just turned into a tasting room. The d'Arenberg Cube opened its doors today (of course, in Australia, today is actually yesterday) after 14 years as a psychedelic fever dream and architectural puzzle. The design, according to d'Arenberg owner/winemaker/cube shaper Chester Osborn, is indeed a nod to the puzzle of making fine wine, with its many variables and challenges.

The five-story structure among the vines in the McClaren Vale is sided with a double-tempered glass–and-aluminum exterior, and the Willy Wonka wine factory vibe continues inside. The Cube houses a tasting room, fine-dining restaurant and plenty of vantages over the surrounding Mourvèdre rows and rolling hills. But Osborn conceived the Cube as an "Alternate Reality Museum," so visitors can also expect wacky 3D art exploring parts of the winemaking process—a life-size cow statue represents the winery’s biodynamic practices, while a skeleton represents what happens if you fall into the fermentation vat. There's a hologram of the McLaren Vale, a 3D food printer, and what Adelaide Now describes as a "soundscape as you approach the entry, created by a DJ’s interpretation of the Cube’s ever-changing weather station data."

“Basically, when you have a wine, and I have the same wine, we have a different reality of taste,” explained Osborn, standing next to his father, d’Arry Osborn, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 2. “Everything is an alternate reality in the building—very wine-specific and very d’Arenberg-specific.”

You may gain access to the Cube and get a standard tasting for $8 (Australian), and the state of South Australia invested AUS$2 million during Cube development in hopes of ultimately attracting 500,000 visitors a year and, perhaps, signaling for the aliens to land in McLaren Vale … if they have not already done so.

Sparkling Wine Gets Mad Air with Bubbly-Themed Skateboard

After years of association with more x-treme beverages bearing monikers like Red Bull, Four Loko, and Mountain Dew Code Red Inferno Carbon Monoxide Jade Helm, the athletes in pursuit of balance on the board are now demanding the same in the glass, as evidenced by a wine-and-skateboarding partnership launching this week.

Paulo Macedo
Plan B skater Danny Way has jumped the Great Wall of China, though no one has yet attempted the Eiffel.

Bubbly brand Luc Belaire, which makes French sparklers from Burgundy and Provence, is riding with skate team Plan B to release a Belaire-themed skateboard deck featuring a silkscreen design of the Eiffel Tower in metallic gold and black. Like wine drinkers, skaters seek to avoid epic spills, so the boards need more than to merely look cool: "The quality had to befit the excellent caliber of Plan B’s athletes," Brett Berish, CEO of Sovereign Brands (which owns Belaire) told Unfiltered via email. “Plan B is exactly the type of talent that Belaire is proud to support—the independent, forward-moving leaders of industry, who challenge the status quo all the way through to success.”

Ambitious Anheuser-Busch Plans Launch of Budweiser to Mars Market

After proclaiming earlier this year that Budweiser would be the first beer available on Mars, Anheuser-Busch will launch barley samples from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station into space tomorrow (weather pending!); the grains will be delivered to the International Space Station, orbit for 30 days and return to Earth for analysis.

“Budweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation, and we are inspired by the collective American dream to get to Mars,” said Budweiser vice president Ricardo Marques in a statement. “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”

The barley will lift off on the next SpaceX rocket, and once it makes contact with the ISS, will be subjected to experiments in microgravity, specifically focusing on barley germination and seed exposure. Budweiser hopes that the experiments will shed light on how to brew beer on Mars, and maybe even make better beer down here on Earth in the meantime.

Beyoncé Will Not Be Brooklyn Beer's Hip Hops Star

In singer Beyoncé Knowles' 2013 hit, "Drunk in Love," the singer opens with an all-too-familiar sentiment: "I've been drinking, I've been drinking …" But what? Unfiltered has wanted to know ever since. News comes this week that, alas, it's not New York beer.

Last week Lineup Brewing, a boutique brewery in Brooklyn, launched a special pilsner inspired by the artist, called "Biëryoncé." But Queen Bey has spoken. On Monday, her ***Flawyers (editor's note: Béyonce reference) sent a cease-and-desist letter to the brewery over the use of her name.

Lineup Brewing owner and head brewer Katarina Martinez woke up like this (editor's note: See previous): "As a female entrepreneur, the beer was named to pay homage to Beyoncé and what she's done for female empowerment," Martinez told Unfiltered via email. "Obviously we're disappointed she (or her lawyers) didn't take the beer name as a compliment, but we'll honor her wishes in changing the name."

Martinez says she will definitely make the recipe again, under the new name "Kätariná." For interested Unfiltered-reading beer geeks: The classic German-style pilsner was made with German Hallertau hops.

Born, This Cuvée? We May Finally Be Getting Lady Gaga Wines

Little Monsters around the world are dusting off their wineglasses after rumors began swirling this week that Lady Gaga is launching a new wine brand. According to celebrity news site the Blast, reps for the Mother Monster have filed paperwork to secure the rights for two wines: Joanne Trattoria Vino Blanco and Joanne Trattoria Vino Rosso, which share a name with the Manhattan restaurant owned by Gaga's parents.

This isn't the first Gaga wine report we've run this year. Just after her epic stage-dive performance at Super Bowl LI, word got out that she was planning a line of wines called Grigio Girls, inspired by the song of the same name from her Grammy-nominated album, Joanne.

So, are Joanne Trattoria wines the real deal, or just a perfect illusion? While Gaga's camp keeps up its poker face for now, Unfiltered will be on celebrity wine watch to find out what the Grigio Girl does next.


Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.