1888 Gravity Cellar
The 1888 Gravity Cellar is an iconic landmark at the Seppeltsfield estate in the Barossa Valley. Established in 1888, the historic building was designed and constructed by Oscar Benno Seppelt, son of Seppeltsfield founders Joseph & Johanna. Built into the hillside on a series of terraces, the visionary winery was the largest and most modern of its type in the world during the late 19th century.
For almost 100 years, the 1888 Gravity Cellar served as Seppeltsfield's chief winemaking facility. Having played an important role in shaping the foundation of Australia's wine landscape, it was eventually decommissioned in the 1980's due to the need for significant restoration. The cellar lay dormant for nearly 30 years until it was revived under Warren Randall with the change of Seppeltsfield's ownership in 2007.
A $2 million dollar investment restored the winery to a world-class facility for vintage 2010. The original 120 open top fermenters are now fully lined with stainless steel and extend down the terraced slope across six individual levels. Each fermenter allows for the crafting of super premium wine in small batches.
Working with gravity requires minimal intervention for making wine and is considered the holy grail for many winemakers. Gravity guides the flow of grapes down through the winery to deliver gentle extraction of colour, flavour and tannin. The traditional open top fermenters enable optimal contact between skins and juice, with the resulting wines showing heightened aromatics and purity of fruit.
Seppeltsfield's winemaking team embraces the design of the early cellars, managing hundreds of ferments with hand plunging and traditional techniques. It is an energy efficient, albeit labour intensive way of making wine that proves rewarding in the glass.
1888 Gravity Cellar Vintage Workers, circa 1900
Gravity Cellar, today