Adelaide is a city that buzzes with festivals and sets the trends for style. But what lies outside the city limits keeps the spirit - or shall we say spirits - of South Australia humming.
The Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale regions are famous for producing some of Australia’s finest wines. The cooler climate and unique soil lend themselves to the industry. But the proximity of the regions to Adelaide itself makes the wineries very accessible for visitors.
So where to begin a wine adventure in the wine capital of Australia? These wonderful, welcoming wineries are outstanding for all different reasons.
Best for art: The Cube at D’Arenberg (McLaren Vale)
Art and wine go hand in hand, don’t they? A tasting at D’Arenberg is complimentary. But for the ultimate experience, spring for a premium tasting, which comes with a private tasting and entry to the d’Arenberg Cube. This mesmerising cube-shaped building has five levels, the first of which houses the Alternate Realities Museum. Each floor plays to a different sense and has been inspired by the nuances in winemaking; one level has a wine sensory room, another is a 360 video room, and the others… you would have to see to believe!
Best for entertainment: Bird in Hand (Adelaide Hills)
More than a cellar door, Bird In Hand believes that wine is great on its own but even better when used to enhance an exploration in creativity. The winery transforms itself into a gallery for commissioned art, venue for live concerts, and salon for philanthropic and community conversation and events.
Best for families: Barristers block (Adelaide Hills)
A family operation itself, Barristers Block welcomes visitors of all ages. The scenic grounds can serve as a bit of a playground for children with farm animals, birds, and gorgeous gardens. For adults, fun comes in a glass, on a plate, and during conversation. Enjoy their award-winning Shiraz and Cabernet varieties along with a long lunch or simple-yet-refined pizzas.
Best for lunch: Shaw + Smith (Adelaide Hills)
Shaw + Smith own two vineyards: one at Balhannah and one at Lenswood. Each vineyard specialises in a variety that grows particularly well in its sub-region. But at Balhannah, a 45 minute wine flight tasting with artisanal produce plate is a must-visit, must-drink, must-eat experience. A carefully curated plate of hot smoked trout, beetroot skordalia, mushroom pate, salami, and bread perfectly accompany a flight of new release wines. For celebrations, the Friday Table is a special way to bring a group together. Guests are invited to a hosted tour, tasting, and lunch.
Best for spirits: Settlers Spirits (McLaren Vale)
We recognise that although we might be friends and partners with wine-lovers, there are those among us who are not wine-lovers themselves. If you want to accompany friends or family for a day in wine country, request a special trip to the Settlers Spirits distillery door. Enjoy a gin tasting or knock-your-socks-off tasty cocktail. There is even a gin and cheese pairing option, ensuring that everyone has something to please the palate.
For those who want to spend a long weekend in the heart of the wine capital of Australia, check out this 3 night stay in the Barossa Valley, which includes a Jacobs Creek tutored wine tasting and 2 course lunch.