Margaret River Cellar Door influenced by Feng Shui Design

  • Howard Park

The architecture of Howard Park’s Cellar Door has long been regarded as one of the most spectacular examples in the Margaret River region and indeed, Australia, being named among the top 12 buildings of the country by the Sydney Morning Herald. But there is a lesser known, fascinating story behind the lines of the façade – one of ancient traditions and family heritage.

The orientation, location and design of the cellar door and winery was the brainchild of Marketing Director Amy Burch, one half of the husband-and-wife duo that owns Howard Park (Jeff Burch is the vigneron and businessman).

Amy was born in Singapore and immigrated to Australia with her family as a 12-year-old. Her Chinese Singaporean heritage permeates many aspects of Howard Park, including the winged serpent of the logo (Amy was born in the year of the dragon under Chinese astrology). Chinese New Year has been an event celebrated annually in cellar door, with traditional red lanterns and decorations strung up, and ang pows handed out to customers that contain good luck sayings and winning tokens of lucky oranges, gold chocolate coins or red wine.

But the most obvious - and mostly undiscovered – display of this heritage is everywhere in the building itself, thanks to its meticulous Feng Shui design.

The quest to construct something unique and memorable for the Leston Vineyard began in the 1990s, after a jaunt to wineries in Napa Valley, where Amy decided the new premises would be “something of our own, borne of ourselves”.

“We engaged a West Australian architectural firm and I remember well walking up two flights of stairs and carrying a bottle of our best Cabernet Sauvignon with me.  It had just been awarded 19/20 points by James Halliday - a fitting gift to present to the architects - to give inspiration to create a building, an homage to this elegant wine.”

Amy felt that to create such a building was rare in life, so she approached a visiting author, architect and academic Professor Cheng Jian Jun, who was to give a talk on Feng Shui at the University of Western Australia.

“He drove all around the Howard Park property and chose the best site after using an instrument to measure the ideal aspects for good fortune and harmony,” Amy said. “This site was magical, and so logical. It was at the highest point of the property overlooking the lands around us, as far as the eye could see.”

Interior of Howard Park Cellar Door, Margaret River

“The architects created a model of the new building and I poured over it for hours, suggesting changes and working with them, realising how important it was to get right. Feng Shui was a constant guide for the architects and I: to look for simplicity, space, light. The basic principles were adopted. The orientation to north, the size and positioning of the front door, the pond and roads. We left many trees around the building, not to strip the land of its natural beauty,” Amy said.

Upon its opening in 2000, the Howard Park Cellar Door received a Commendation from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

“Today, visitors to our winery can feel that sense of space, power, and natural beauty.  It’s not forced and thus gives a sense of welcome and comfort on visiting,” Amy said. 

Interior of Howard Park Cellar Door

Read more about our Margaret River Cellar Door here.

The architecture is not the only part of Howard Park that has taken inspiration from Amy Burch's heritage. Our new Cabernet Shiraz blend wine A.S.W plays homage to the influence of Amy's parents who happen to share the same initials. Shop the wine here.