Last Saturday, I spent the day exploring the wine regions in South Australia through the TrailHopper wine tour bus. TrailHopper is an Adelaide hop on, hop off wine tour service which departs from CBD and the wine regions. The bus visits either Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Hahndorf and Adelaide Hills and you can choose which tour you would like to embark upon. They follow a daily time table on each hour and participants chose 3 to 4 wineries to visit. Prices start from $44.95 up to $69.95, depending on the location of pick up and if you are attending on a weekday or weekend.
I had a friend from Sydney visiting, so I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to show her the local wineries and learn more about Adelaide wine culture, considering we are the wine capital of Australia. We decided on the Hahndorf and Adelaide Hills region. Once booked, Monique, a lady from TrailHopper, quickly texted us to ensure we had lunch booked and picked our wineries so she could book in a tasting for us. This was efficient and excellent customer service and she happily answers all our questions via text. We choose Hahndorf Hills, Woodside for lunch, Artwine, and Nepenthe wine, as the tastings were cheaper for broke university students like us.
We arrived at 10:10am in the CBD for our pick up via bus and tram. Our bus driver, who was a youthful lady, gave us a list of rules to engage in and how to make the most out of our trip. As she was already informed of our route, we did not need to worry about anything. We embarked on our 35 minute journey to the Adelaide hills.
Hahndorf Hills Winery
Our first stop was Hahndorf Hills boutique cellar door. When arriving, it reminded me of Australia's rural bush-like outdoors with a winery in the middle of it. The cellar door was in a historic, glass-enclosed balcony overlooking the vines. It offered a variety of wines, cheese and wine plate or gourmet chocolate and wine matching experience.
Reflecting, I wish I had done the gourmet chocolate and wine matching experience but being the first stop of the day, we decided on doing a $5 simple tasting. We all really enjoyed the dessert wine, Gruner Vetliner late Harvest 2018, a great for the sweet tooth.
As we had booked this last tour minute for the weekend, many of the wineries had booked out of lunch options. I would advise booking further in advance as to book in a place for lunch. As we are university students, we were also trying to enjoy the day on a budget, therefore, decided to stop in the town of Woodside for lunch where we explored two cafes.
Avalon of Woodside
Tucked in behind the shops within the town centre is the old style building, the Avalon. We stopped here because it looked incredibly cute. Having food intolerances, this place looked like it supplied many delicious options for good pricing with clear gluten-free/vegan indications on the menus. We did not end up staying here - due to the fact my friends really wanted wedges - so we ended up finding a pub meal that catered to all of us. However, I am definitely coming back for lunch at some point and would recommend this café if you are visiting the area and need a tolerance friendly café.
The Woodside Hotel
We decided on the Woodside hotel as it had a variety of options for food and drinks. To be honest, the décor was a little bit odd, trying to impersonate an Alice and Wonderland theme in an old-style country town pub. This did not seem to mesh well together. There were no clear indication of gluten-free options on the menu (which looked like a laminated Word document). Nonetheless, I decided on the green curry and an espresso martini. Although slightly overpriced (it was cheaper, however, then eating at a winery) the food was delicious. Overall, it was a nice pub and had a large variety of food options for everyone ranging from burgers, cocktails to curry.
Our next stop was Artwine. This winery was set up in the gardens and lawns and was perched on a hill with long sweeping views surrounded by greenery. This place seemed to have attracted more older adults, however, was still would have be a great spot to have lunch/cheese platter. The lady conducting the wine tasting seemed to be very informative, taking time to explain the names behind each of the wine. Outside, the view was beautiful, with many places to get that instapic. The winery seemed to be aware of this, having set up its own spot to take photos with its hashtag in place. Further, I noticed rugs available, I imagine for people to sit on the lawn and in winter when the weather is much cooler, which is very thoughtful.
Nepenthe Wine Our last stop was Nepenthe Wine. I reckon this my favourite out of the three wineries. It again, had a gorgeous view of the Adelaide Hills - with lots of space to sit on lawns outside. The staff were incredibly accommodating, youthful and interactive and personable in comparison to the other wineries. They asked us specifically whether we preferred whites or reds to accommodate to what we liked. After wine tasting, we sat on the lawns and was approached by one of the people who worked there and asked if we would like a tour of the grounds for free. They're love for the winery really made the experience great for us.
I would definitely recommend doing this tour. I found it to be a great way to get around the Adelaide Hills, safely drinking without having to worry about driving, and learn more about the wine regions and wine itself. If you have a friend visiting interstate or just want something to try on the weekend when there are not many events on, it is definitely worth it!