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Let’s raise a glass to the Year of South Australian Wine. With 200 of the best cellar doors in Australia within an hour’s drive of Adelaide, South Australia’s ‘vineyard city’ is firmly ranked among the Great Wine Capitals of the World. Fanning out from the city, there are a dizzying 700 wineries in South Australia spread across 18 distinct wine regions, including world-renowned Barossa, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and Adelaide Hills. Together, they produce more than 80% of all Australia’s premium wine. Now, that’s something we’ll gladly celebrate!
From unique wine experiences and annual wine festivals to food and wine tours spotlighting mouth-watering pairings, we’ve rounded up eight of the best ways to for your clients to enjoy South Australia’s finest vintages. If you’re planning a trip for wine connoisseurs, ready them to hit the Epicurean Way when borders reopen.
Taste your birth year at Seppeltsfield
Established in 1851, Seppeltsfield stands out among Barossa wineries as home of the world’s longest continuous vintage of fortified wine. Dating back to 1878, rare barrels of Para Vintage Tawny port are stowed in their Centennial Cellar, a living museum where you can sample direct from the barrel of your birth year. The vast range of descriptors used to capture this vintage – treacle, Indian spices, grilled nuts and everything in between – indicate its complexity, marking this as one of the world’s most unique wine experiences.
Getting there: Seppeltsfield is under an hour’s car journey from Adelaide.
Become a wine blending master at d’Arenberg
Floating above the Mourvedre vines of McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg winery, the iconic d’Arenberg Cube offers far more than Instagram fodder. Inside the Rubik’s cube-inspired structure, you’ll unearth tactile wine experiences, including a wine blending masterclass accompanied by spectacular views over the rolling vineyards. Let a master guide you through blending your very own Shiraz from three distinctive barrel samples and take a bottle of your final product home with you. Around since 1912, d’Arenberg has established itself as one of the best cellar doors in Australia for its artistic and immersive approach to knowledge sharing and impressive portfolio of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines.
Getting there: Located around 40 km from Adelaide, d’Arenberg can be reached in just 35 minutes by car.
Enjoy good wine, food and music at the Winter Reds festival
Pay homage to South Australia’s deep, rich red wines at the Winter Reds festival in Adelaide Hills. This rustic three-day celebration takes place annually in late July. It features a vast array of food and wine tours dotted around the region coupled with local music, good food and open fires. In honour of the 2021 Year of South Australian Wine, this year features the biggest line-up to date. Those lucky enough to get to go can expect a heady mix of wine tastings, decadent degustation menus, wine-related masterclasses, family-friendly gatherings and raucous parties.
Getting there: Events and wine experiences take place across Adelaide Hills, around 20 minutes outside of Adelaide. Dedicated buses departing Adelaide at 10am and returning at 6pm relieve festival goers of dedicated driver duty and stop at various venues.
Pair maritime-climate wine with Eyre Peninsula seafood
Launched in 2017, Peter Teakle Wines is one of the newest wineries in South Australia. Overlooking Port Lincoln and Boston Bay on the Eyre Peninsula, the winery’s appropriately named, degustation-style Line and Label Restaurant pairs seasonal local seafood, like southern bluefin tuna and Spencer Gulf king prawns, with wines produced both on the estate and across South Australia. You can also explore the vineyard on guided food and wine tours. Available every weekend, these give you the chance to sample Peter Teakle’s impressive lineup of reds and whites, ranging from Riesling to Cabernet Sauvignon, paired with a cheese platter or charcuterie board.
Getting there: Port Lincoln is a 45-minute flight from Adelaide or a 650 km road trip.
Dine in an underground cave at Maxwell Wines
Carved into a limestone hill in McLaren Vale, Maxwell Wines delivers one of South Australia’s most unique food and wine experiences. The winery and meadery are arguably outshone by the restaurant, which features a dining room overlooking the vineyards and another in a magical, candlelit, underground cave. Here, chef Fabian Lehmann channels his experience in Europe’s Michelin-starred restaurants into tasting menus that champion fresh, seasonal produce from local suppliers. Top off your visit with food and wine tours of the vineyard, winery and mushroom cave.
Getting there: Maxwell Wines is around 40 minutes’ drive from Adelaide.
Cycle the Riesling Trail in the Clare Valley
There’s no better way to take in the picturesque Clare Valley wine region than by bicycle. Running around 35 km from Auburn through Clare Valley and into Barinia, the Riesling Trail is punctuated with dozens of the best cellar doors in Australia. Take a leisurely ride, starting at Mount Horrocks Wines then stopping at an art gallery and wineries in Leasingham and Watervale. Next, cruise into Penwortham – the first site of European settlement in the region – followed by Sevenhill, home to the 170-year-old Sevenhill Cellars, Clare Valley’s very first winery and producer of sacramental wines for churches across the country. More vineyards can be found in White Hut, where you can peddle through natural bushland before reaching the trail’s end.
Getting there: The Riesling Trail passes close to 40 wineries in South Australia and is located approximately two hours drive north of Adelaide. Bike hire is available in both Clare Valley and Auburn.
Sample wine and nibbles degustation-style near Adelaide
Commanding a rolling green slice of Adelaide Hills, The Lane Vineyard owes its four distinct tiers of wine to the warm days and cool nights that characterise this renowned wine region. Open since 1993, the estate offers tastings of its exquisite single vineyard wines – including vegan and vegetarian varieties – as well as guided tours of the scenic vineyards. Those seeking memorable food and wine tours should book the Gathering Experience, a miniature degustation-style tasting that charts the best of The Lane’s signature wines and contemporary Australian restaurant.
Getting there: The Lane is a scenic 25-minute drive from Adelaide and just three kilometres from the historic village of Hahndorf.
Tour the historic home of Penfolds
Visit the spiritual home of the esteemed Penfolds brand at Magill Estate Cellar Door, hands down one of the best cellar doors in Australia. Located in Adelaide, this iconic winery dates back to 1844 and is one of the world’s few urban single vineyards. Visitors can embark on a variety of food and wine tours ranging from the Ultimate Penfolds Experience, which takes you on a journey through the vineyards and underground cellars, capped off with an exclusive tasting of the highly acclaimed Grange, to the Twilight Tour and Luxury Degustation Dinner, which features a seven-course wine-pairing feast at the estate’s fine-dining restaurant.
Getting there: Penfolds Magill Estate is located in Adelaide, just eight kilometres from the city’s central business district.
Ready to unearth the best wineries in South Australia?
Although borders remain closed to Australia for now, the South Australian tourism industry is looking forward to welcoming back its international visitors when the time is right. With the Year of South Australian Wine spotlighting the best cellar doors in Australia, travel agents looking to sell food and wine tours should look no further than ‘The Wine State’ for inspiration. Learn more about what South Australia has to offer here.
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