The Champagne Cellars at the Great Western Vineyards, a network of underground barrel vaulted 'drives' cut out from decomposed granite, were commenced between 1868 and 1870 by Joseph Best, English-born founder of the vineyards.
Four drives were constructed by 1878 and subsequently extended by local miners under direction of Hans Irvine, a celebrated businessman who acquired the vineyard in 1888. The Great Western Vineyards, founded by pioneer vigneron Joseph Best, were developed by Hans Irvine into Victoria’s premier champagne producing establishment.
The champagne cellars, providing some 6 kilometres of rack space in 1960, are unique in Victoria with an atmosphere compatible with the mystique of champagne production. The tunnels have been opened by various distinguished personalities including Lord Hopetoun, Dame Nellie Melba and various governors of Victoria. The great western vineyard underground cellars or 'drives' have been progressively extended by Hans Irvine (1888-1918) and by the house of Seppelt since that time.