Plonk to serve time in former Vic clink

A section of Victoria's Pentridge Prison has found new life as a luxury wine cellar.
A section of Victoria's Pentridge Prison has found new life as a luxury wine cellar.

Cells at Victoria's Pentridge Prison once housed some of Australia's worst criminals, but the same thick bluestone walls have become home to more palatable occupants.

Wine enthusiasts will be able to store and drink their collection in the cells of D-Division, which had previously offered a sobering experience for crooks on remand.

The plonk will be treated to climate-controlled comfort, with custom-built racking, ambient lighting and security at the Coburg facility in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

In an amusing twist, gangster Joseph "Squizzy" Taylor, who sold illegal liquor and helped a fellow inmate make a jailbreak, also aged in the prison until his release in the 1920s.

The new-look D-Division is a far cry from Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read's stint inside cell 16 and Ronald Ryan's experience as the last person to be legally executed in Australia in 1967.

But for Pentridge Cellars owners Paul Tardivel and Michael Woodworth the cells are an ideal way to keep up to 2000 bottles locked-up.

"These spaces in D-Division were used to hold prisoners right up until the closure of Pentridge Prison in 1997," Mr Tardivel said.

"Now we're giving wine connoisseurs the opportunity to own a little piece of history and a wonderful space to house their collection."

The half-metre-thick bluestone walls keep the wine "at a cool and stable temperature" with extra cooling available.

"The unique history of the building itself aside, you would think that it had been purpose-built for its second life as a wine storage site," Mr Tardivel added.

The private wine cellars are on the market, with individual strata titles, from $115,000 per cell.

Australian Associated Press