Wine capital of Australia, the Barossa in South Australia is a world-class grape-growing region, as well as a destination with a full-bodied heritage. An intoxicating blend of valleys and viticulture, many of the 150 vineyards open their cellar doors for astute holidaymakers to taste their tipples, and on Seppeltsfield Road alone 16 small producers beg to be sampled…
Spicy shiraz, chocolatey cabernet, refreshing riesling… fancy a drop?
Since you’re spending time in a region that gives Bordeaux, Tuscany and Napa a run for their money (big names that hail from here include Penfolds, Peter Lehmann, Wolf Blass and Yalumba) and with so many boutique Barossa and Eden Valley winemakers on tap, it’s fun to sign up for a tutorial as well as tastings. Learn about the art and science of blending grape varieties in a local producer’s laboratory and trial your own blends of shiraz, grenache and mourvedre before bottling your own vintage with your name and date.
Where to stay?
The Louise A contemporary resort of 15 luxury suites perched on a hilltop in this wine country’s heartland, scores of cellar doors are but a stagger away. For epicureans, the award-winning Appellation restaurant is the most exciting aspect of a stay here. Chef Ryan Edwards ensures almost all of the seasonal ingredients for the modern South Australian dishes are sourced from within a 50-kilometre radius. The restaurant has its own kitchen garden, meat is butchered and cured in-house and and all the bread baked fresh – and of course there is a huge array of tipples to pair with the signature five-course tasting menu.
Our top tip The cellar doors we would steer you to would include these spots for a tasting: Langmeil Winery, Rockford Wines, Charles Melton, Turkey Flat, Hentley Farm. Or you could create your own blend? Wolf Blass invite you to take the regional components of their Black Label and use them to create your own bottle in a one-hour session at AUS$40 a person. Then take your special blend to Appellation and ask them if they can match a menu to your wine.
Kingsford Homestead This historic 19th-century property is comprised of only seven individually decorated suites. Anything but your average hotel, this Barossa bolthole set on the North Para River on the western edge of the wine region, was until recently a working South Australia sheep station.
Our top tip We love the seasonal menu designed by guest chef Stuart Oldfield who is a master of using ingredients from Barossa’s growers and producers. He knows most of them personally, so don’t be surprised to bump into a few of the locals when they drop off some of their freshly harvested fare.
The Barossa is an hour’s drive north of South Australia’s capital, Adelaide. Domestic flights from other Australian hubs fly into Adelaide’s international airport (www.aal.com.au). You can hire a car at Adelaide airport or in the city, where all the major rentals are represented. 25km end-to-end, you’re best exploring this compact region with your own wheels – especially if you want to access back-road cellar doors and townships off the main tourist trail.