When most people think of Adelaide and South Australia, they almost immediately think of wine – and there would seem to be no doubt that South Australia is both famous for wine and also proud of its wineries, winemakers, cellar doors and its fine food traditions.
If you love wine, you have come to the right state to enjoy it.
Adelaide is almost surrounded by wine growing regions – the most famous valley being the Barossa Valley, but increasingly other regions such as Eden Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and the Coonawarra are becoming just as well known. The Mt Lofty and Adelaide Hills is also a winery area, and pockets or areas have opened up in many locations, as people look to build their own wineries – both for the image and lifestyle and more often a passion for wine.
There are both big wineries with large scale vineyards, storage capacity, and brands that can be seen in restaurants, supermarkets and liquor stores nationwide, and there are also hundreds if not thousands of boutique wineries, that may sell only at their cellar door or to a select group of customers over the internet, or just by word of mouth.
It would seem almost impossible to visit all the wineries in South Australia, or even all the valleys where wine is blended and bottled, and it really depends on how much time you have and also your passion for wine and wine knowledge too.
A great proportion of wineries have ‘cellar door’ sales – where you can stop and sample wines that you would like to try, and then either buy or not as you wish. Some of the wineries also have restaurants and cafes, and many also offer accommodation, catering for wedding parties and other events. You will also find wine appreciation courses, special dinners and other events throughout the year – and no doubt your hotel or Tourist Information places will be able to tell you ‘what’s on and where’.
In Adelaide itself there is the National Wine Centre of Australia, located in the city at the corner of Botanic Road and Hackney Rd near the Botanic Gardens (www.wineaustralia.com.au Tel: (08) 8313 3355). They have over 12,000 bottles in their cellar, and have lots of information about the different wine styles, wineries and a number of events throughout the year. This may well be the best place to start you wine adventures!
You can drive yourself to travel from winery to winery, wherever the road and your interest takes you, or take a tour from Adelaide, or stay in one the small wine towns in one of the Valleys – and spend your time closer to the wineries that you want to visit.
Depending on how much time you have our suggestions are as follows -
- The Barossa Valley – This is the best known winery area , and it is about 70 kilometres from Adelaide, so not far away. It also has more than 150 wineries and about half of these have cellar doors – open to the public. If you head towards the towns of Tanunda and Nuriootpa you will be in the centre of the Barossa Valley, with signposts giving the names of wineries that you can visit off the main roads too. Some of the best known wineries in the Valley include Penfolds, Orlando, St Hallett, Peter Lehmann, Seppeltsfield, Wolf Blass, Saltram, Krondorf and there are many others. Some of these wineries like Krondorf (1846), Richmond Grove (1897), Saltram (1859), Seppeltsfield (1851) date back to early days and their buildings also create a unique ambience.
- Eden Valley – is close to the Barossa Valley and this is where you will find Yalumba (1849), Henschke (1868) and other wineries
- McLaren Vale – is about 40 kilometres south from Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula and here you will find Hardys Chateau Reynella (1838), Hardy’s Tintara (1876), Normans (1853) Rosemount (1888), Seaview(1850), d’Arenberg (1912), Tatachilla (1901) and many others. McLaren Vale itself has a population of around 3800, and there are lots of cellar doors.
- Clare Valley - is about 2 hours (136km) north from Adelaide and centred around the town of Clare, and here you will find wineries such as Leasingham, Sevenhill, Knappstein, Taylors and Jim Barry wines.
- Coonawarra – is about 4 hours and 380 Kilometres south from Adelaide, on the road to Melbourne and it is home to some of the best red wine Shiraz and Cabinet Sauvignon. The Coonawarra wines are produced on what is called the limestone coast, due to its soil type. Again there are many wineries here – including Wynn’s , Lindemans, Redman Wines and others. Padthaway Estate on the Riddoch Highway at Padthaway has a great house and gardens too.
- Mt Lofty and Adelaide Hills - has a number of wineries spread around the hills and valleys. Some of the better known wine brands here are Petaluma, Shaw and Smith, and there are many others.