The Barossa Valley prides itself on producing some of the world's best wines as well as superb gourmet food.
By Marc Llewellyn
South Australia's world-famous Barossa Valley is just an hour by car north-east of the centre of Adelaide. This beautiful part of the world, with its vivid green grape vines and tracts of forest, incorporates four towns – Angaston, Tanunda, Nuriootpa and Lyndoch – as well as smaller villages. There are about 150 wineries in the area, and you can taste wine and eat local, seasonal produce at more than 80 cellar doors. There are also plenty of excellent restaurants.
The winner of an international Best of Wine Tourism award in 2017, Seppeltsfield is the only winery in the world to release a 100-year-old single vintage wine every year. Taste tawny fortified wine made the year you were born, straight from the barrel, on a Taste Your Birth Year Tour (AUD$75). Or taste wine made at five important moments of time, including when Elvis Presley died (1977) and the Titanic sank (1912), on a Moments in History Tour (AUD$175). Another option is the Years of World War I Tour (AUD$200), in which you sip vintages from 1914 to 1918. The This is Your Life Tour (AUD$200) allows you to select five wines from important moments in your life. There's also a Fortified Wine & Canapé Tasting Experience (AUD$35), and a Daily Heritage Tour of the estate's historic buildings and surroundings (AUD$15). Seppeltsfield has a fine dining restaurant, Fino, set in an enclosed garden veranda and garden terrace. Or you can buy cheese and wine from Benno's Café and have a picnic in the gardens.
One of Australia’s most successful wine companies, Jacob's Creek has been producing wines in the Barossa Valley since 1847. Visit the Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre set in 42 hectares (104 acres), with a bicycle track that weaves between the vineyards. Relax under a gum tree with a glass of wine and some produce from the winery's kitchen garden and other local artisan producers on a Jacob's Creek Gourmet Picnic (AUD$75). Learn how to match great food and wine at the Food & Wine Masterclass (AUD$75, or AUD$150 with lunch), and increase your wine knowledge at the Introduction to Wine Experience (AUD$40, or AUD$80 with lunch). Like cooking? Join the four hour Jacob's Creek Cooking Class (AUD$175), held in an outdoor kitchen using produce form the estate's kitchen garden. The Jacob's Creek restaurant, Our Table, specialises in lunches made from local produce and has wonderful views of the Barossa Ranges.
This family owned winery has a cellar door tasting room created out of a restored grain room and stables. Pindarie Wines oozes history. There's lots of old wood and exposed stone and brick, and the original tin roof sheeting acts as the internal ceiling of the tasting room. The Grain Store restaurant serves gourmet pies, such as the wild western rabbit and mushroom pie (AUD$28). Tasting plates include the Shearers Platter for Two (AUD$48), with local meats and cheeses, chutneys, olives and wood-fired bread. There are nine wines to choose from, and you can drink in the extensive views of vines and grazing sheep.
The old bluestone cellar door at Turkey Flat Vineyards was formally a butcher's shop run by the Shultz family, who own the building and vineyards today. It’s nestled between the vines on the edge of the historic township of Tanunda. The family vineyards date back to 1847. You can taste wine and nibble on snacks in the cellar door building, or share a bottle by the fire or out in the garden looking onto the vines. A Museum Masterclass (AUD$30) allows you to delve into historic Turkey Flat wines, accompanied by local produce. You can learn how to make cocktails using Turkey Flat's aperitif wine, aromatised Quinquina, in a Quinquina Blending class. These are held in the garden in spring and summer.
With Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines dating from 1894, and a homestead in the heart of the Barossa Valley township of Nuriootpa, Elderton Wines is a family winery that makes top class vintages. The best single vineyard reds here cost up to AUD$100 a bottle, but there are plenty of more affordable options too. You can taste the wines at the cellar door or, in the Elderton Elite Tasting Experience, (AUD$100) taste some of the best wines and local cheeses and meet the owners. Alternatively, explore the diversity of Shiraz in a Barossa Shiraz Masterclass (AUD$30). The cellar door has a nice outdoor area, where you can match your wine with a tasting plate, such as a cheese plate (AUD$18), or locally cured Atlantic salmon (AUD$16).
With its striking ironstone buildings, exceptional fine dining restaurant and a reputation for excellent wines, St Hugo should be high on your winery bucket list. The restaurant is exquisite, with atmospheric stone walls, exposed wooden beams and views across vines and eucalyptus trees. Executive chef Mark McNamara and chief winemaker Dan Swincer have teamed up to design a four-course menu with matching wines (AUD$120), and an eight-course menu with matching wines (AUD$220). Think grilled saddle of kangaroo with radish cake, beetroot jus and braised tendon. A Tour & Tasting experience (AUD$50) includes a tour of the vineyards and the estate's cork trees, followed by a tutored tasting in an underground tasting room. Add a four-course meal for an extra AUD$100. The ultimate wine and dine experience is the Chef’s Table (AUD$300). This includes a walk through the vineyard and kitchen garden, an exclusive wine tasting, and a meal overlooking the restaurant's open kitchen.