It would be criminal to miss the world-famous wines of South Australia while you’re Down Under. These vineyard experiences offer the best ways to connect with the state’s favourite tipple
If you’ve only got a few days to explore the wine of South Australia, hit the road and drive the Epicurean Way. This self-drive route takes in the state’s four most popular wine regions – McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Clare Valley – and pairs wines with gourmet food and sweeping scenery.
Epicurean Way (SATC)
Enjoy the tour at your own pace to relish the experience, cruising through the hills and stopping off at cellar doors along the way. Many choose to spread this experience over five days, but it can be done in fewer if time is short.
To combine great walking with incredible wine, head to South Australia’s Coonawarra vineyard region and meander along the Wineries Walking Trail. This 5km stroll takes you between five different wineries in the area, where you can stop off and sample the fruits of their labour while admiring the magnificent scenery.
Walking through vineyards (SATC)
The walk takes around three hours, but if you’ve a whole day to spare, savour the experience with a lunch break or picnic (a basket full of goodies can be pre-ordered from Coonawarra Store) along the way.
Great food and wine are a match made in heaven, so many of South Australia’s vineyards have restaurants which pair dishes with the wines that are made just steps away. Hentley Farm is an award-winning vineyard in the Barossa region of South Australia, and their renovated stables offer a rustic setting in which to try their produce, sourced as much as possible from their 150 acres of land.
Hentley Farm restaurant (SATC)
The Lane Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills is a top option if you’re looking for views of the vines while you eat, and Skillogalee in Clare Valley offers a more traditional setting for a wine-and-dine experience – here you can pop into the cellar for a tasting while your starter is being prepared.
If drinking wine isn’t quite enough, go one step further and try your hand at creating your own with the experts. Penfolds Cellar Door in the Barossa Valley offers a Make Your Own Blend experience, where you are guided through the wine-making process.
Make your own wine blend (SATC)
D’Arenberg in the McLaren Vale also runs a blending session, where you can learn to make a wine that matches your own personal tastes. Both of these days out include the ultimate wine-lover’s souvenir: a bottle of your finished product to take home.
There are many food and wine trails across South Australia, but one of the best for cycling is the Riesling Trail. This route stretches 35km through the Clare Valley, burrowing through rural countryside dotted with gum trees. The trail follows a former railway between the towns of Auburn and Clare, and the well-kept and relatively flat stone path is ideal for a bike ride.
Cycling the Riesling Trail (SATC)
Ride past open farmland and neat rows of vines, stop off at the trail’s numerous vineyards for a sip and bites of cheese, and sample local food from restaurants in the pretty stone villages you’ll find on the route. Also don’t miss the story of the Ngadjuri, the region’s Aboriginal people.
Many vineyards across South Australia run food and wine experiences. These are a way for you to learn about the science that goes into pairing certain wines with food – and enviable skill to use for your own dinner parties at home.
Jacob's Creek cooking class (SATC)
Jacobs’ Creek Winery in the Barossa region offers various food and wine days, but among the finest is their cooking class: pick fresh produce from their Kitchen Garden, cook it into a gourmet meal, and match it with their wines. For another kind of indulgence, head to Hahndorf Hill Winery in the Adelaide Hills and pair wine with chocolate on their ChocoVino experience.
Often luxurious and always peaceful, vineyard stays are an ideal way to experience wine making. There’s nothing quite like waking up to the view of rows and rows of sun-drenched vines sprawling across the countryside.
Longview Vineyard accommodation (SATC)
Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage in South Australia’s Barossa Valley is a boutique holiday rental for one couple, set in a private vineyard and steps away from Hentley Farm and decadent dining at Fino restaurant. Alternatively, Longview Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills offers contemporary suites with balconies from which you can soak up the view of their Pinot Noir vines.
Main image: Kangaroo in a vineyard (SATC)