Laura and her partner Sarah are two creative foodies out to discover enticing flavours and food ideas. When they aren't tucking into their latest delicious find, they're writing, photographing and designing at www.sarahlauradesign.com
Published May 7th 2015
Discover some of the best wine SA has to offer
Top 12 Wineries to Visit in South Australia
You have a free weekend coming up, and you can't decide what to do; or you've just landed at Adelaide Airport and need to fill that itinerary. It's time to get out of the big smoke and get onto those winding roads that lead to some of the most amazing wine South Australia has to offer. The best part - you can reach some country areas in just half an hour or at most two hours from the city, which is why these wineries make the perfect day trip or weekend getaway.
We've broken down the following list into regions so you can create your own wine tour with friends:
North - Barossa East - Adelaide Hills South - McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek
Of course our list can't include everything (...oh how we wish it could) and it's in no particular order. However, we have enjoyed the wine and experience at every single destination and hope you will too.
What is your colour? Red or white? Image courtesy of Hentley Farm.
We recommend the best way to see a region is by minibus. Split the bill between 10-20 other people and you'll have a cheap day out amongst the vines that you're sure to remember (or not!). Be sure to call ahead and book into your favourite wineries when planning an outing with a large group. If you want to visit with just a friend or two, this shouldn't be necessary. Day trips work well with 3-5 wineries to visit, especially if you stop at one for lunch or dinner too.
Some wineries do offer wine tasting at no cost, this allows you to try new varieties you wouldn't have previously considered, and leave you with more money in your wallet to purchase that 2012 top class Shiraz you've had your eye on for the past few years. Others do charge a small fee per head; this can be from as little as $5 each and usually ends up being a discount if you do purchase a bottle at their winery, which we think is very reasonable considering the amount of tastings you do receive on average at a cellar door.
Ready to start planning your winerific adventure? Here are our top winery picks for South Australia.
A playground for lovers of chocolate and spice, the Barossa wine region is most famous for it's intense, distinctive and full-bodied Shiraz. There is also an abundance of local food and produce including Maggie Beer's Farm Shop and Barossa Valley Cheese Co. if you did want a non-alcoholic trip out. Maggie Beer even makes a fantastic non-alcoholic Sparkling Ruby Cabernet that goes great with cheese and pÔtÚ.
1. Seppeltsfield Winery
This huge row of trees will point you in the right direction. Image courtesy of Seppeltsfield.
Where else can you go to try a hundred year old, single vintage Tawny? Nowhere in the world. We won't spoil the details on this tasting, only that it is a must try! A small glass will set you back a few pennies, but it's so intense, a tiny sip is all you need so it's well worth sharing amongst a few friends. If you want a nibble at the same time, there is also a Fortified Wine and Food Pairing Flight. For just $35pp you can have 6 tastings with tapas style food matches. These look delicious and are on our to-do list for next time. This place holds so much history, great food and wine, and amazing workers who can tell you all about it at their lovely cellar door. This is a place we won't forget any time soon, just look out for the lines of palm trees and you'll know you're in the right place.
Where: Seppeltsfield Road, Seppeltsfield SA 5355, Australia
How much: $$ - $$$
Hours: 10:30am - 5pm every day
Phone: 61 8 8568 6200
The Fortified Wine and Food Flight is a well worth the price. Image courtesy of Seppeltsfield.
2. Hentley Farm
A delicious showcase of the wines available in the tasting room. Image courtesy of Hentley Farm.
Where do we even begin with this winery? Go here. Get in your car and head to this winery right now. We're serious. If you don't believe us, head to our Discovery Degustation at Hentley Farm post and read an in-depth overview of this amazing place. Aptly awarded Winery of the Year for 2015, they currently hold first place on our palettes for their Quintessential 2012 Shiraz Cabernet. Their converted barn-turned-restaurant can be found just up the road from Seppeltsfield. Once there, you have the choice to either do a tasting only, or spoil yourself and book in advance for a paired wine and degustation day that will blow your mind.
Where: Gerald Roberts Road, Seppeltsfield SA 5355, Australia
How much: $$$$
Hours: 11am - 5pm every day
Phone: 61 8 8562 8427
Toasted wine coated marshmallows. Need we say any more?
Beautifully designed labels for the Peter Lehmann range. Image courtesy of Peter Lehmann Wines.
This is a lovely place to chill out on a Sunday afternoon with friends. We recommend getting here late afternoon, once the crowd has died down and you're left with the serenity of the vineyard, a chilled glass of Peter's finest red bubbly - The Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz - and a platter of nibbles sure to please. We found the platter to be very generous with a range of meat, cheese and fruit pastes to complement the wine perfectly. The hospitality here goes over and above your expectations, so sit back, relax and enjoy all that the Barossa has to offer. See more on Peter Lehmann Winery here.
Where: Para Road, Tanunda SA 5232, Australia
How much: $$
Hours: 9:30am - 5:00pm Mon-Fri. 10:30am - 4:30pm Sat & Sun
Phone: 61 8 8565 9500
Is this making you hungry yet? Image courtesy of Peter Lehmann Wines.
Just a short drive from the city and you'll find yourself amongst the finest wines the hills has to offer. Perfect for a day in the countryside, especially during summer when the hills stay green and are just a few degrees cooler.
1. Paracombe Wines
The large homestead is a welcoming sight as you pull into the spacious carpark. Image courtesy of Paracombe.
Enter Paracombe wines on a busy weekend and you'll be greeted with a bustling tasting bar. Grab a glass and join in the merry-making, or if you don't like crowds we recommend you walk straight past the bar towards the back deck. Open up the doors, head outside and plonk yourself down one of the few bar stools that overlook the stunning vineyards. Order a meat platter and a dessert platter, both of which are perfect for sharing between four people. The Paracombe Sauvignon Blanc goes well with the savoury plate, and the hearty Shiraz does wonders with the sweet.
Where: 294B Paracombe Road, Paracombe SA 5132, Australia
How much: $$
Hours: By appointment or event - check website & social media.
Phone: 61 8 8380 5058
We loved the variety of meats on this platter. Image courtesy of Paracombe.
Just awarded Best Cellar Door for 2015, this place is packed on the weekend. Luckily, there is plenty of seating for everyone - outside, inside and on the couches. Their Sauvignon Blanc is our favourite, we even managed to find it while travelling through Japan. Coming in a close second is their Pinot Noir. For $15 you can grab yourself a wine flight that includes matched cheeses and an in-depth discussion on each of the pairings. For us, the standout of the day was the ash-rolled goat's cheese; it was creamy, not overpowering and really accentuated the flavour of the paired wine. We won't spoil anything else, just organise a group and try it for yourself. We will however say their lake is crowd-pleaser in the summer months and makes for a perfect photo backdrop or wedding location. For more information on the winery click here.
Where: 136 Jones Rd, Balhannah SA 5242, Australia
How much: $$$
Hours: 11:00am - 5:00pm every day
Phone: 61 8 8398 0500
Best Cellar Door for 2015 says it all, these guys know their wine. Image courtesy of Shaw and Smith.
With a handful of awards under their belt, this winery is great for the beginning sipper through to a dedicated wine enthusiast. The service is outstanding, with detailed information provided on the wine, vineyards and history of Bird In Hand. Spoil a special someone and dine in The Gallery surrounded by beautiful art selected locally and from around the world. We recommend you book ahead for their share-style lunch, which includes 5 courses and paired wine for just $95 over two hours. If you are looking for something a little more casual take a seat outside and enjoy the breathtaking views with a simple tasting of their wine, oil and olive samples instead. Top drop to try is the Bird in Hand Merlot. Quirk factor: A small airstrip is nearby and you might occasionally see light aircraft taking off or landing as you sip.
Where: Bird In Hand Rd & Pfeiffer Rd, Woodside SA 5244, Australia
How much: $$
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm Mon-Fri, 11:00am - 5:00pm Sat & Sun
Phone: 61 8 8389 9488
The Gallery for lunch is our value recommendation. Image courtesy of Bird In Hand.
This well-kept secret may surprise you as it's actually one of the oldest wine producing regions in Australia. Dive into the region's history and ask for a tour; most wineries here are proudly family owned and operated, with fascinating stories to tell and incredible relics on display from a by-gone era. Italian varieties abound here, as big as Nonna's dinner.
1. Bremerton Wines
This converted farmshed holds the tasting room, local food display and restaurant/function area.
Local in heart and soul, this place is so down to earth and welcoming you'll feel right at home. The cellar door is a gorgeous restored 1866 stone barn set amongst the vines. The Italian feel of the vine-wreathed exterior is complemented by the wine varieties themselves. Whatever style you like Bremerton have got you covered, but lovers of the fortifieds are sure to find something special amongst the Cellar Door Only range. We took home a few from here including the Racy Shiraz Cabernet Rose and the Barbera. Racy Rose is perfect served crispy cold on a summer's afternoon while Barbera has all the body of a true Italian. Both were a big hit with our family and we think you will love them too. If you are planning an event - a big drawcard is Bremerton's ability to hold functions for up to 120 people.
Where: Langhorne Creek Road, South Australia 5255, Australia
How much: $$
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm every day
Phone: 61 8 8537 3093
We love the wooden highlights inside and the 'homely' experience provided.
2. Bleasdale Winery
Tours of wineries are rare, and we loved the chance to catch a glimpse inside the history of Bleasdale.
Speaking with the 5th generation of the Potts family at Bleasdale, you are given real insight into the history of the vines, the production and the wines themselves. Bleasdale even gives you the opportunity to tour the old sheds with barrels that tower overhead and solid red gum grape crushers. Italian varieties abound once again - make sure you have a sip of the Potts Catch Verdelho. As for the sweet-tooths, the fortifieds are quite a treat - there are even a few blocks of chocolate available to finish off the day on an absolute sugar high. We hope you visit here one day, as Bleasdale says 'there's a story in every glass'.
Where: 1640 Langhorne Creek Road, Langhorne Creek, SA, 5255
How much: $$
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm every day.
Phone: 61 8 8537 4000
Our knowledgable host was more that happy to go through tasting notes and recommendations for everyone.
3. Cleggett Wines
The award winning wine at Cleggett was a winner with us too.
Are you after some white wine for your cellar? Yes you read that right. Cleggett Wines brings you a beautiful world first White Cabernet Sauvignon - the Shaliston. Nature has played a tricky hand leading to the creation of this brand new varietal which is indigenous to Australia. The crafty Cleggetts had a hand in bringing these grapes to life and now use them to produce some incredible world first whites, both dry and sweet, that age well. Of course you can't go past a classic hand-crafted Shiraz and the McLennan ticks all our boxes. We recommend picking up a colourful starter pack of mixed half-dozen for $110 for a great introduction to their range. Accommodation is also available on-site for those wanting to spend a weekend away from the city. This is just $120 per night/per couple including a light breakfast.
Where: 18 Bridge Road, Langhorne Creek SA 5255
How much: $$
Hours: 10:00am - 6:00pm weekends, public holidays and by appointment.
Phone: 61 8 8537 3133
Fancy waking up amongst the vines? Now is your chance to have that bubbly with breakfast.
This juicy southern region is famous for its dry red varieties with Spanish and Italian influences. Tempranillo and Sangiovese are particularly popular. If you want to try something completely different, be on the lookout for the Nero d'Avola and Zinfandel. If you get the munchies, stop off at Oxenberry Farm Wines & Cafe for their mouth-watering Grapple Pie (Chicken, Chorizo & Apple Cider Pie).
1. Wirra Wirra
Look out for the large bottle of wine made out of thousands of corks.
Got a large group together? Wirra Wirra is the place to be. They have the perfect outdoor facility with a shelter, seating and barbeques if you feel like self-catering and saving a few pennies for more wine. Leave this winery for the second or third trip and you'll be ready to feast. Inside, the tasting area is nice and roomy too, so there'll be no fights for the bar. Make sure to ask the staff not only about their wine (the Esperanza Tempranillo in particular) but also to be shown the super awesome watermelon trebuchet they have sitting out the back. Need more information on the winery? Check out this article.
Where: 463 McMurtrie Road, McLaren Vale SA 5171, Australia
How much: Free (Self-catering) - $$$
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm Mon-Sat, 11:00am - 5:00pm Sun
Phone: 61 8 8323 8414
The barbeques here are huge, perfect for cooking up a big lunch. Image courtesy of Natasha Stewart.
2. Hugh Hamilton Wines
Get ready for panoramic views of this quirky vineyard.
Calling all rogues and rascals. Hugh Hamilton Winery is the Black Sheep of our flock of wineries, and a standout for producing exceptionally drinkable wines. With names like 'The Scallywag' Chardonnay, 'The Rascal' Shiraz and 'The Madam' Sparkling Merlot, you'll have as much fun reading the labels as you will tasting the wines. A standout from the standouts is 'The Scoundrel' - this Tempranillo will spice up your favourite tapas plate. While we're not usually fans of Moscato, 'The Goldilocks' is definitely something special. We recommend a glass or two after your meal to cleanse the palate. Of course you could even pick up a bottle of 'The Ring-In' Shiraz cordial. It looks like wine, it's bottled like wine, and it has all the health benefits of wine without the alcohol, for those times when you want a refreshing drink. More info can be found here.
Where: 94 McMurtrie Road, McLaren Vale SA 5171
How much: $$ - $$$
Hours: 11:00am - 5:00pm every day
Phone: 61 8 8323 8689
We love the quirkiness that is Hugh Hamilton winery. Image courtesy of Hugh Hamilton.
This is one of our all time favourite wineries in McLaren Vale, their gorgeous cellar door is set amongst the beautiful vines at their Landcross Farm property. Not only are the wines exceptionally tasty but the service is great as well. Prices are reasonable so you can quickly stock up your cellar. For whites, you can't go wrong with the fresh and crispy Pinot Gris. Love reds? The Graciano is a spicy, peppery people-pleaser. There's a whole range of wines in between, including the Rose bursting with strawberry and cream flavours. This environmentally conscious winery uses biodynamic farming processes and a philosophy of traditional hands-on management, combined with modern technology, to produce wines of exceptional quality.
Environmentally friendly biodynamic wines are a winner for us.
Where: 68 Wheaton Road, McLaren Vale, South Australia 5171
How much: $$
Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm every day
Phone: 61 (0)8 8323 9131
It's impossible to squeeze in all of the places we love into one day, but we will just mention these additional locations that you can slip into any future day trips.
Tenafeate Creek Wines
Plenty of outdoor seating for everyone. Image courtesy of Tenafeate Creek Wines.
If this place isn't on your radar, it should be! From the main road there isn't much to see here; a carpark and part of a tin shed is all that shows. Take a meander down their driveway and things get a little more interesting. Ample seating lines the outside, a tasting bar sits to your right, and sweeping views of the hills are straight ahead as the backyard drops off into the deep valley beyond. Next, the smell hits you as you realise they specialise in gourmet wood-oven pizza to share amongst friends in the sun. Met with a smile from the lads at the bar, be sure to try their Sangiovese Rose and Pinot Grigio with your meal. Best food to try: Dukka Dip and Salami Pizza. Check out a full review here.
Where: 1071 Gawler to One Tree Hill Road, One Tree Hill,
South Australia 5114
How much: $$
Hours: 11:00am - 5:00pm Fri-Sat
Phone: 61 8 8280 7715
Pizza is a must have with your wine at Tenafeate. Image courtesy of Dave Walsh.
This is our pick for your Barossa lunch spot in between the other wineries. The food here is hearty, authentic and well-presented Italian cuisine with paired wines. Share a few dishes and wine varieties between friends and this will be an extremely well-priced meal for the money. We recommend the Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni and the homestyle Chicken and Mushroom Pie - wow. Best paired wines here are the whites, make sure you sample the Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. Look out for their house dessert - we were lucky enough to try the Marshmellow Icecream topped with Floss and Pistachio. An Old Vine Shiraz will top off the lunch nicely at this fantastic lunch stop-off.
Where: 1876 Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat, 5352 SA
How much: $$-$$$
Hours: 10:30am to 4:30pm Mon-Fri, 11:00am - 4:00 Sat & Sun
Phone: 61 8 8524 4537
The fortified range is another option if Shiraz isn't your thing. Image courtesy of Lou Miranda Estate.
As you can see, there's an abundance of choice when it comes to planning a tour through these gorgeous South Australian wine regions. We think the easiest way to get started is to pick a region that produces your favourite blends and start exploring from there. Or you can always go somewhere completely new and expand your palate with different varieties.
Check out these official websites to learn more about each region. You'll find lots of information on things to see and do, accommodation and special events to make your trip even better.
What are your favourite South Australian wineries? There are so many to be found and explored and we want to hear about all of them. So go on, what are you waiting for? Pick a date, grab some friends and set out for a day (or weekend) of fun. What new blend or experience will you discover?
A bunch of friends and I have an annual Wine Tour by minibus outing. We have found that most wineries are now charging for tasting. This varies from $5 to $25. This high end charge included a bottle of wine of our choice (priced from $18 to $28) and a most entertaining and humorous personal talk for our group from the vintner). A most worthwhile investment.
Hey guys - don't forget that the premium grape in McLaren Vale is SHIRAZ! There are lots of plantings now of the Italian and Spanish varietals, but Shiraz is still king and that's what most visitors go for.