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Limited opportunity for wine collectors to own an exclusive piece of Australia’s history

August 10, 2020 Beverage No Comments Email Email

New wine cellars just released for sale in one of the world’s most unique wine storage facilities.

It once housed some of Australia’s most notorious criminals, but these days, the former D Division building at the old Pentridge Prison in Melbourne’s Coburg has inmates of a very different kind. The prison’s former remand centre is now home to Pentridge Cellars, with the cells meticulously transformed into bespoke wine cellars, available for sale.

Around the globe, there is an emerging demand for exclusive, off-site wine storage facilities, where wines are stored under optimal conditions, and collectors can access their collection at their leisure. Private, members-only wine clubs have popped up, like wineBANK which has locations across Germany and the United State of America, where members can rent their own wine cellar. In Australia, Pentridge Cellars is not only the country’s earliest adopter of the concept, it’s one of the very first in the world where collectors can actually buy an off-site cellar, which comes with its own strata title and is customisable.

Pentridge Cellars directors Paul Tardivel and Michael Woodworth bought the heritage bluestone D Division building back in 2018, blending Paul’s passion for heritage preservation and Michael’s love of fine wine. The first wine cellars were released for sale in early 2019, with a number of collectors snapping up the unique opportunity to own a private wine cellar with a renowned past. And now there’s more opportunities for collectors to lock in their own piece of history, with a further limited release of cellars now available for sale to the public.

Before Michael and Paul purchased the building, it had been left as is since the prison closed in 1997. But with its thick bluestone walls and individual cell spaces, it had all the attributes for ideal wine storage. There are only 188 cellars in total in the former prison wing, and Pentridge Cellars offers wine collectors something that’s rarely available anywhere else in the world – the opportunity to not just rent, but actually purchase an off-site wine cellar.

“If you’re a wine collector, your storage options are usually to rent some space offsite to store it, or if you’re lucky enough to have the space, to build a cellar at home. However having a purpose-built cellar doesn’t always add value to your house in the event of selling, much like a swimming pool does not always add value,” said Paul.

“With space increasingly at a premium, Pentridge Cellars offers a rare opportunity to own your own permanent, premium offsite cellar. Once you buy a cellar, you don’t just have somewhere to store your wine for now – you own something extremely unique and a legacy you’re able to pass down for generations. And there’s a limited number of them, so once they’re sold, they’re sold.”

Cellars start from $99,000, which includes a strata title in the historic building, and each cellar can fit up to 2,000 bottles. Paul and Michael believe a wine cellar should be just as unique as its collector, so once a buyer has chosen their cell, they get to work with the Pentridge Cellars designers to personalise the space and create a bespoke layout, choosing from a range of fine finished timbers and custom-built racks. Cellars are also fitted out with state-of-the-art climate control systems and ambient lighting.

As a former prison, it goes without saying that Pentridge Cellars is a secure storage facility. The building is fortified with 24-hour CCTV, and the cellar doors themselves are the originals, made from thick steel and wood, and fitted with secure high tech locks. All owners have 24 hour access to the venue, with access via individual swipe card.

Pentridge Cellars also offers a concierge service, so owners can select bottles from their private collection and order them for home delivery. But far more than just a storage facility, Pentridge Cellars offers an experience, and Michael says owners rarely take up the concierge option, preferring to visit their collection and cellar in person.

“Before we bought it, Paul and I really fell in love with the old building. Not just that it’s an old jail, but also the architecture and the presence of it. It’s such a beautiful and imposing building, and to have your own cellar inside is such a unique experience,” said Michael. “We’ve found the initial cellar owners relish the opportunity to not only visit their wine collection, but to visit the building itself. And they’re welcome to bring family and friends to visit the cellar and there are relaxed common areas where you can entertain, perhaps open a bottle of wine and have some cheese, and enjoy a drink with friends in a 19th century prison.”

“And what we see happening with it is it’s developing into a little wine hub, and already some of the current owners have met each other and are forming friendships because they have that common interest of collecting wine.”

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