Barestone cladding from Cemintel® was chosen for the interior walls at Fowles Wine, an award-winning winery located in the Strathbogie Ranges of central Victoria.

Named Victoria's Best Tourism Winery three years in a row, Fowles Wine sought to rejuvenate their cellar door and restaurant to offer visitors a more sophisticated dining experience. However, the winery wanted to retain their much-loved rustic features that had long charmed visitors. This design objective – to perfectly balance the new with the old – was achieved through careful selection of the materials palette, which included Cemintel’s Barestone.

Owned by the Fowles family, which has lived in the Strathbogie Ranges since the Gold Rush, the winery is currently run by Matt Fowles, his wife Luise, and their team.

For the new restaurant, Matt worked with freelance interior stylist, Jay Phillips, and Grant Hateley from Hateley Homes to develop a design concept that would seamlessly blend the farm and local heritage assets with modern materials.

“We wanted to create a welcoming environment for all; a space where people can come in their active wear or after the footy for a glass of wine, or they can get dressed up in suits and jackets and have a refined evening,” says Matt.

“Everything from the design through to the menu captures the essence of the Australian landscape, with a modern edge. We incorporated aspects of the region, farm and vineyard into the building using upcycled materials, complemented by bold design surfaces such as Cemintel’s Barestone,” Matt added.

Interior stylist Jay, who led the cellar door’s contemporary design, said, “The local landscape is dotted with corrugated iron sheds. We have taken the winery’s iconic farmyard shed and created a beautiful restaurant and cellar door within its shell, without losing the structure’s identity.

“The family aren’t just wine producers, but passionate farmers and hunter-gatherers, so we have shown this story throughout the design,” says Jay.

Cemintel’s Barestone was chosen as a durable, lightweight material that would beautifully contrast against the rustic and warm woodgrain interior features of the original building.

“We wanted a rawness that reflects the farm, but a refinement befitting of a winery. Barestone’s natural finish worked perfectly with the rustic farmyard ambiance while also providing a level of sophistication,” explained Matt.

Barestone cladding panels were secured in place with bold, black rivets in continuation of the black hardware and finishes used in other parts of the building. According to Grant Hateley, the rivets would provide design continuity with their industrial aesthetic, without overpowering the other elements of the interior.

While Barestone is commonly used as an exterior cladding material, it was specified for the interiors in this project for both its form and function.

“Durability as well as fitting in with the rustic feel of the farm were the key elements in choosing materials for this design. Barestone was the product that delivered both the aesthetic and performance outcomes needed for the new restaurant,” says Grant.

Barestone’s highly durable lightweight concrete panels deliver multiple advantages to the application including water resistance; easy installation; natural, contemporary finish that doesn’t require painting; and stain resistant coating, perfect for use in high traffic commercial settings.

“One of the most beneficial aspects of Barestone is the maintenance, or lack thereof; you don't have to paint it because it is pre-treated, so if you get bumps and scrapes you can sand them off, versus having to paint and repaint,” says Grant.

The rejuvenated winery has received positive feedback from customers, with business up fifty per cent.

“The design has a warmth and subtlety to it that makes our customers feel at home, and that’s what a family winery is all about. Barestone allowed us to enhance the farm’s best assets to create a unique experience for our customers, friends and family,” concludes Matt.