As you make your way along the winding road through the vineyards at Mitchelton, a striking white pinnacle becomes visible in the sky. It’s a tower, designed by renowned Australian architect Robin Boyd CBE. It was one of his last designs. The 55 metre tall, strikingly sharp, modern structure, contrasts with the twisted vines. This is a place where history, hard work, and luxury combine.
“Mitchelton through the years has gone through considerable transformation from its beginnings,” says Christian Devrieze, General Manager of Hospitality at Mitchelton.
He earned his hospitality stripes in his late teens after moving from the country to the vibrant scene of Melbourne, and now he’s found himself back in the bush at the award-winning winery.
The vines were established in 1969 and the first awarded wine was launched in 1973, with the now famous tower and restaurant coming in 1975. These days there’s an art gallery, spa, provedore, and The Muse - a rustic yet refined restaurant. Nestled in the bends of Victoria’s Goulburn River near the town of Nagambie, Mitchelton is a business with a strong and proud connection to the land.
‘We focus on local sustainable and ethical food sources, gaining a lot of produce from our own veggie patch as well as from the local community around us,” says Christian. Executive Chef Dan Hawkins, shortly after arriving, planted their “veggie garden,” which is the size of half a football oval. Three months later, he planted another. With his eye for quality, and ability to hand-select the very best, “we know we're going to get the best quality produce we can get,” Dan says. Hard work and luxury indeed.
Continuing the journey
As the winery has grown, so has the need to ensure every moment guests spend at Mitchelton is comfortable and effortless. That’s where the V-Class steps in.
It’s Michelton’s vehicle of choice for driving VIPs, wedding guests and staff around the community and local area, acting as an extension of the hotel in moments of transport. It provides comfort, spaciousness and adaptability, accommodating up to seven guests and a driver in a configurable layout depending on the job that needs to be done.
Active Brake Assist alerts the driver of collision risks and performs automated emergency braking if needed, which definitely comes in handy on the unpredictable, winding country roads. “It sees us out of a pickle or two every now and then when the road is windy,” Christian says, “or if a kangaroo or wombat jumps out!”
Part of the business
Not just a people mover, the V-Class is an asset in the day to day business of the vineyard, from pulling the seats out and throwing some kegs in, to loading it up with vine cuttings. The staff appreciate the electronic sliding doors for easy loading, but guests appreciate a different sort of state of the art technology: “keeping their tushies warm with the heated seats,” Christian admits.
Dan Hawkins is also a fan of getting out into the local area, because that’s where the best quality ingredients lie. The menu he’s created, rich in found and foraged seasonal ingredients, requires constant roaming, he says. “There's a lot of time spent on the road, in the bush looking for those unique and seasonal things that are just growing wild.” It’s important that guests travel comfortably, but also that the produce travels comfortably as well.
Practicality aside, the V-Class represents something more fundamental to Mitchelton. By reinforcing their connection to local produce and sustainability, or building on their commitment to good, old fashioned country hospitality, the V-Class is, as Christian notes, an extension of the Mitchelton brand.
A feeling like no other
For a business like Mitchelton, a vehicle that can navigate the beautiful but sometimes difficult terrain of the Goulburn region, while still providing guests comfort is a necessity. For someone like Christian, who has returned to his country roots in style, it’s all part of an amazing opportunity. “To be able to come back to the country, this region, and show off that region on a world stage is a feeling like no other,” he beams. “Mitchelton allows me to do that.” And by providing a safe, powerful and luxurious journey, the V-Class does too.