An Adelaide Hills wine lounge with table service, offering a homely vibe, where the focus is small scale local winemakers and sustainable farming.
The nuts & bolts
- Opened December 2019
- Wheelchair access
- Relaxed and homely vibe
- Full venue hire is available
- Allows BYO – corkage $20
- Plumm glassware
- Coravin wine preservation system in use
- Focus is on young and fresh wines from local producers
The regular’s tip
Lookout for the shelf of ‘last chance’ wines – not on the list – where Hugel has limited stock.
After working in regional South Australian hotspots Fino Seppeltsfield and Pike and Joyce Wine Room, Josh Kleemann returned to his hometown of Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills and took over a 1960s bank, converting it into a wine lounge with a peaceful, homely vibe.
“I saw a lack of local watering holes, especially something focused on the abundance of young dynamic wines coming from the Adelaide Hills,” says Josh.
After converting the bank vault into a wine cellar and private dining space with repurposed furniture, Hugel was ready to start welcoming customers. Soon the shelves were stocked with a range eclectic wines, many sourced from small producers Josh had met throughout his hospitality career, and from intrigued local winemakers who wanted to be part of such an engaging new drinking space.
The spacious lounge area that comprises the main tasting room promotes an air of mod Scandinavian calm, dressed in earthy oatmeal and cream shades.
However, it wasn’t exactly an easy birth for the business. “It was a baptism of fire, because Hugel’s second day of business was cut short by the devastating 2019 Adelaide Hills bushfire,” says Josh. “Then, in March 2020, we were closed due to COVID. But we’ve got through because we engage heavily with our community, stocking wines by those affected by the bushfires, acting as cellar doors for those that were lost, and being a safe space for locals needing some reprieve.”
Hugel boasts a frequently evolving wine list that prides itself on riding the cutting edge. “The Adelaide hills has such a wealth of incredible wines and producers that we rarely drink the same thing twice,” says Josh. “Our focus is always on locality and availability, so we preference small-scale wineries, especially those with a focus on organics and sustainability. And we love to find wines without cellar doors, and we act as an outlet for them.”
The list fluctuates seasonally – “depending on what’s drinking well in the sun or rain,” as Josh explains – with available by the glass, segmented mostly by style instead of variety. “We encourage guests to give us an element of trust, and try something new as opposed to ordering based on variety.”
Josh emphasises the Importance of developing a space that every guest can relax into, which is why table service is offered throughout the venue – not only for wine but also a tapas-style menu of share plates. Think of charcuterie platters with terrines and local cheeses, with most vegetables grown on Josh’s Lobethal property. For those with a more substantial appetite, there’s Lobethal lamb shoulder.
“We want a space anyone can drop in for a glass and a snack while exploring the Adelaide Hills, or when they’re heading home after work. We want it feel like they’re at home in our home.”