Adelaide - McLaren Vale - Adelaide Hills - Barossa - Clare Valley - Adelaide
If you travel for your tastebuds, this culinary adventure around four of Australia’s premier wine regions is for you. Visit the world-famous Barossa, the picturesque Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Clare Valley. Stop in at cellar doors, taste award-winning wines and feast on gourmet local produce at restaurants set amongst sprawling vineyards.
At a glance:
McLaren Vale is only 45 minutes from Adelaide and your first must-see is d’Arenberg winery. The winery has been run by four generations of Osborns and it is one of the region’s highlights. Their Blending Bench lets you play winemaker for a day, and you get to take home what you make.
Not far from here is the McMurtrie Mile experience, which leads you to six highlights all on the one road – Wirra Wirra, Hugh Hamilton, Primo Estate, Sabella Vineyards, Red Poles and McLaren Vale Beer Company.
So you’ve tried some wine, now what? Cheese. Blessed Cheese on the main street of McLaren Vale is part cheese shop, part café, and completely delicious. They also do a great picnic hamper to take away.
If you’re in McLaren Vale on Saturday morning (8am to 12:30pm) the Willunga Farmers Market is held in Willunga Town Square. This was the first farmers market in South Australia and it's still one of the best.
Two top options for lunch are Elbow Room, with great views and local food served fresh for lunch seven days and dinner on Friday and Saturday, and Fino, famous for its provincial food that is perfect for sharing with friends. You can't go wrong at either.
Leave McLaren Vale and head to the Adelaide Hills, best known for its bed and breakfasts, cosy cottages and contemporary hotels like Mount Lofty House and The Stirling Hotel.
Hahndorf Hill Winery is an Adelaide Hills highlight and their ChocoVino experience combines everyone’s two favourite things – wine and chocolate.
While you’re still in Hahndorf, pick your own strawberries at Beerenberg Farm - bigger and juicier than any you’ll find in a supermarket. Strawberry picking season runs from late October to April. Hunting through the Beerenberg patch for the perfect strawberries is fun for the whole family. Taste and purchase their delicious jams, preserves and sauces year-round at their onsite farm shop.
Cheese-wise, Udder Delights opened in 1999 and tastings are available at their cheese cellar in Hahndorf. A little further north is Woodside Cheese Wrights who have been making cheese since 1994. Visit their cellar door in Woodside for tastings and purchases.
Near Hahndorf is The Lane Vineyard restaurant and cellar door, where the only thing that rivals the food and wine is the view. There is a deck outside for spring, summer and autumn, and a wood-fire inside for winter. Warning: you won’t want to leave. Alternatively, The Lobethal Bierhaus brews award-winning handcrafted beer and serves meals made from local produce. The Bierhaus has 12 different beers on tap at any time and the brew house is visible from inside the restaurant.
Try not to over indulge because now you’re off to the Barossa, one of the world’s great wine regions. On the Taste Your Birth Year tour at Seppeltsfield Winery, taste the vintage Tawny from your birth year directly from the barrel. The collection includes every vintage back to 1878.
Accommodation options include bed and breakfasts, resorts and luxury experiences at The Louise or Kingsford Homestead.
For a hands on experience, try Casa Carboni Italian cooking school in Angaston, established by Fiona and Matteo Carboni in 2012 when they moved to Australia from northern Italy. The Carboni’s run great cooking classes, demonstrations and classes for kids.
A few minutes west of Casa Carboni and you’re at Penfolds in the Barossa, where the winemakers work through the year on Penfolds' world-famous wines. Step into their shoes on the Make Your Own Blend tour, where you enter the lab and blend your own bottle of wine to take home.
Continue west to Hentley Farm for lunch. The restaurant offers two set menu options based on what is currently in season, and the intimate cellar door, in the property's original 1840's homestead, is an exceptional wine experience.
If you want to learn about wine, become an instant expert with a master class at Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre in Rowland Flat. The class is followed by a two course lunch from a seasonal menu, and a glass of wine is included.
A great way to end the day is with a visit to Aussie food legend Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop near Nuriootpa. All of Maggie’s products are available to buy, or maybe you just want to drop in for coffee and cake. Head north from the Barossa and it’s not long before you’re in the Clare Valley
The Clare Valley is home to around 40 wineries, and most of them have a cellar door. Drop in on a few and say hi before you head back to Adelaide. The region is famous for its award-winning Rieslings, but offers much more.
Jesuits started Sevenhill Cellars in 1851 to produce sacramental wine, which they still do, but now they also make premium table wines. Knappstein produces both wine and beer. Their hand-picked Riesling is consistently one of Australia’s best, and the cellar door – open seven days – includes a micro-brewery where they brew their own beer.
Skillogalee Restaurant started in 1990 as an idea to serve food to visitors who came to taste wine, but it quickly became more than that, and now it’s a renowned restaurant with a national reputation. It's a perfect spot to spend a relaxing afternoon before you start the drive back to Adelaide.