Simon EvansSenior Reporter

Apr 6, 2020 – 3.07pm

A consortium of investors is planning a $50 million, six-star, luxury hotel in a vineyard at the historic Seppeltsfield winery in the Barossa Valley and says it is ”supremely confident” robust levels of tourism will have returned by the time it is earmarked to open in 2022.

Seppeltsfield Winery, in the western part of the Barossa Valley, has been restored over the past decade by owner Warren Randall, who is the largest private owner of vineyards in South Australia.

Mr Randall will lease out a portion of the historic estate to the backers of the hotel, to be known as The Oscar, in honour of a founder of Seppeltsfield, Oscar Benno Seppelt.

The $50 million, six-star, hotel planned on the Seppeltsfield winery complex is known as The Oscar. 

Mr Randall is still weighing up whether he will be a direct investor in the 12-storey hotel complex itself, but said on Monday it had been an idea first formulated 10 years ago to have an iconic modern hotel on the grounds.

Mr Randall bought 50 per cent of Seppeltsfield in 2009 and then became the full owner in 2015. He said South Australia made about 80 per cent of Australia’s premium wine and was the ideal home for some cutting-edge architecture to attract even more high-end global tourists.

He said the coronavirus was hitting the economy hard in the short-term, but it would pass quickly.

“Yes it’s a hiccup. Homo sapiens have been living with viruses for 50,000 years,” he said.

Toby Yap, an entrepreneur who is involved in healthy beverages company Utonic and in the wine industry through Tomfoolery Wines, said on Monday the Barossa region in South Australia was crying out for modern, luxury accommodation. Mr Yap, a director of The Oscar project, said the timing of the project wouldn’t be up-ended by coronavirus.

“We’re supremely confident that demand is going to come back stronger than ever,” he said.

The Oscar hotel will have around 70 rooms, a ”sky bar” on the top level with sweeping views of the vineyards, and an infinity pool.

The Oscar has been designed by Terry Boxall, head architect of Intro Architecture.

Mr Yap said the consortium was in talks with the local government authority, Light Regional Council, and the aim was to be operating by 2022.

He said some bank funding would be required. “Nothing is locked in yet,” he said.

Another of South Australia’s premium wine regions, McLaren Vale, has attracted the national and international spotlight through the eye-catching architecture of “The Cube” art gallery and restaurant at d’Arenberg Wines.

A nearby winery in Mclaren Vale, Wirra Wirra is planning a $30 million, 42-room, hotel to be pitched at a similar top-end traveller market as the trendy Jackalope Hotel on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.