“Merilba” has been a long established pastoral property in the New England region since the mid 1800’s.
It is believed that the present day Cellar Door was a way station for the then bustling stagecoach industry. Twenty six horses were liveried and prepared for the stagecoach journeys. The original stable doors were still on the building at the time of its renovation.
In 1982 John and Annette Cassidy purchased “Merilba”, and so began an extensive pastoral enterprise. Today “Merilba” includes approximately 30,000 acres at Kingstown and runs a South Devon stud, commercial cattle, Merino fine wool and prime lambs. Diversification in more recent years includes the breeding of Boar goats and most notably wine production.
As well as its primary production enterprises “Merilba” is also renowned for the beauty of its extensive gardens, and the structures contained in it. These include the Walk of Roses (a 30metre pergola covered in dozens of different varieties of climbing roses) and the Folly (a copper roofed rotunda also surrounded by roses).
In 1998 an 11ha vineyard was planted on “Merilba” and was the beginning of another enterprise for which “Merilba” is becoming renowned – Merilba Estate Wines. Together John and Shaun Cassidy (winemaker) embarked on a viticultural journey which has seen the building of a state of the art winery and most recently the opening of the premier Cellar Door in the New England region.
The building is a delicate fusion of the original features and modern touches, the corrugated iron walls of the exterior lend an authenticity to the building which is slightly deceptive to the visitor who when they enter the premises find themselves surrounded by copper walls, open fireplaces and a white marble bar. The hand adzed Cyprus pine rafters highlight the age of the original building while the Murano glass light fittings add a touch of modern luxury to the bar. Looking through the floor to ceiling windows at the front of the building, the visitor is bombarded with views of the wild and natural beauty offered by the mountain ranges and the wide open spaces of the countryside.
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