When people think of Australian wine, they mostly think of big bold red wines. And those wines are most likely to come from South Australia. Adelaide is often overlooked by overseas and even local tourists. It’s a smaller city compared to those on the east coast and a more quiet place. But booking a flight to Adelaide for a long weekend can mean three easy day trips to three different wine growing regions. The only problem is choosing, with no less than nine wine growing regions within a ninety minute drive. The best time of year to go is in the Autumn, March or April. You’ll see the grapes being harvested and really get a sense of all the elements involved in production. It’s also a little cooler than going in the summer, South Australia regularly gets whole weeks over 38 C (100 F) in the summer.
Foreground shows green grape vines. Background, dry paddocks. Sky is slightly purple.
The Barossa valley is probably the best known, having been established for more than 150 years, and specializing in shiraz ( aka syrah). The valley is home to well known Penfolds (makers of Grange) and Peter Lehmann as well as many others. Hand in hand with good wine comes good food and Maggie Beer’s excellent food store and cafe,can be found here, overlooking a wetlands. As well as enjoying a delicious seasonal lunch, you can pick up a copy of one of her recipe books or watch a cooking presentation from one of Australia’s best known cooks.
The Adelaide Hills
The Adelaide hills have been described as a taste of Tuscany. Not having been to Tuscany I can’t confirm this but it is a beautiful area. It’s also a little higher in altitude than the Barossa, allowing for cooler climate grapes to be grown, and respite for tourists if Adelaide is scorching. For more international comparisons, check out Hahndorf, a town with a strong German influence thanks to many German settlers.
The Clare Valley
Another area close to Adelaide, the Clare Valley is also home to both food and wine, but has a more farm-like feel than the large production areas of the Barossa. Stopping for wine tasting here will give you a chance to experience real Australian hospitality.
The South Australian government has a useful website about wine touring with links to different wineries, details of grape growing festivals and useful directions.
Food and wine travel is a great way to see the world. Where have you been especially for it’s food and drink?