One of the marvellous things about Adelaide is its proximity to some of Australia’s best wine regions. With the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale all within an hour’s drive of the city centre, there is no shortage of cellar doors to please even the pickiest wine connoisseur.
However, with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. The wineries listed below are all tried and tested, filled with memorable characters, beautiful vistas and, most importantly, some seriously impressive wine.
Nestled in the gentle slopes of the Barossa Valley about an hour out of Adelaide, Tscharke (pronounced ‘Sharky’) is a rare find. In a region where you usually pay top dollar for a quality drop, here you can pick up some real gems for under $25. The range is excellent and incorporates lots of Italian varieties as a nod to the family’s European heritage. Anyone who loves interior design and knick-knacks will also enjoy themselves here: the cellar door is full with quirky little touches and decorations, many of which are for sale.
Ten minutes further east of Tscharke’s is a different set-up altogether. Smallyfry is, as the name suggests, a one man show run by the charismatic Wayne Ahrens. His philosophy is one of minimal intervention and the winery is certified biodynamic. This approach results in wonderful flavours, distinct differences between the vintages and, as a general rule, less chance of a hangover. The wines themselves, coupled with Wayne’s passion for talking about what he does and how he creates, makes for a unique and personal tasting experience which is highly recommended.
This place in an absolute pleasure. It’s also slightly dangerous, given winemaker Paul’s leaning towards very generous tastings. While the newly established cellar door is charming, the real magic happens in ‘The Shed’ where tastings are done straight from the barrel amongst the earthy smell of fermentation. Located 45 minutes drive from Adelaide, this McLaren Vale vineyard focuses on the big, gutsy reds the region in known for. Try the Diavolo and the Shiraz: you’ll be sending a box back home in no time.
Also located in McLaren Vale – just a 15 minute drive from Sellick’s Hill – Primo Estate is one for the gourmets. The range is varied and includes some unusual offerings, such as the Sparkling Red, Venetian Garganenga and Fronti Fortified, which is equally delicious drizzled over ice-cream. Speaking of drizzling, Primo also makes their own range of olive oils, which you can taste alongside the wine with thick crusty bread.
Winter tipple at @sellickshillwines...? Don't mind if I do! For those in the know, these guys make seriously good wine. The 'Dio' straight Mourvèdre is straight up awesome, and after pulling up a chair with the winemaker, I could've easily found myself stuck here all day. Drop in and see Paul the next time you're in or around the McLaren Vale wine region! #mclarenvale #fleurieupeninsula #southaustralia #seeaustralia #restaurantaustralia
Just a short 15 minute drive from Adelaide’s CBD is Penfolds’ beautiful Magill Estate. Offering sweeping vineyard views, a sophisticated interior and an extensive tasting list, it is a wonderful place to nestle into for a couple of hours. The long glass cabinet of former Chief Winemaker Max Schubert’s personal collection of Grange is enough to excite any wine buff and, for those who enjoy a bit of history, a tour through the cellar and vines provides an engaging run down of the vineyard’s evolution. If you’re feeling a bit peckish afterwards, the onsite restaurant offers numerous temptations, from beef cheek and oxtail tortellini to fig and ricotta tart with blue cheese and macadamia. Yum.