South Australia (www.southaustralia.com) is known as Australia’s wine capital and is famed for its innovative food culture. The region features fresh, locally sourced produce while being home to some of Australia’s top chefs and restaurants.
South Australia has 17 wine regions (and over 300 cellar doors), including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, and Coonawarra. The region also boasts world-renowned brands such as Jacob’s Creek, Penfolds, Wolf Blass and Peter Lehmann.
1. Barossa Daimler Tours
Barossa Daimler Tours deliver luxurious behind-the-scenes wine experiences. You will ride in the comfort of a 1962 Majestic Major Daimler, which adds to the luxury. The escorted tours offer you a first-class wine tasting featuring 26 premium vintages.
The tour isn’t usually open to the public, but tours are offered of Kalimna Vineyard, which is home to Shiraz grapes used in Penfolds Grange. The vineyard is also home to the world-famous ‘Block 42’ Cabernet Sauvignon vines. They are believed to be the oldest in the world, dating back to the 1880s. www.barossadaimlertours.com.au
2. Cycling the Clare Valley Riesling Trail
Cycling the Clare Valley Riesling Trail can take in up to 30 local wineries on a trail that is more than 33 kilometres long.
You can walk or cycle the trail, which meanders along an old out-of-use railway line in the heart of Clare Valley. The route runs from Clare to Auburn. Bicycles are available for rent in Clare, and you can cycle the route in about two hours.
3. Behind the Scenes Tours at Historic Penfolds Magill Estate
Penfolds Magill Estate is one of the country’s most famous wineries and is located a mere 15 minutes from the centre of Adelaide. You can take several tours, including the “Great Grange Tour”, which explores the original Penfold family homestead, built in 1845.
You can taste six Penfolds Super Premium Wines and a 20-year-old Bluestone Tawny straight from the barrel. www.penfolds.com
4. Visit Celebrity Owned Vineyards
An increasing number of well-known celebrities are involved in winemaking, and the list of them is growing. Some of these individuals are producing their own wine brands – with South Australia at the heart of their wine production empires.
Many of the vineyards have an open-door policy, allowing you to walk in and see them. So if you want to visit a vineyard used by celebrities such as Ian Botham, Olivia Newton John, Greg Norman and Nick Faldo – add a celebrity-owned vineyard to your list.
5. Blend Your Own Wine
There are a few different options for blending wine, and you can try the art of wine blending at one of South Australia’s many vineyards. Visitors to Wolf Blass can blend their version of the company’s award-winning Black Label wine.
You can then venture to the Limestone Coast to Wynns Coonawarra Estate to see the brand’s historic vineyard, where you can blend your own Merlot, Shiraz, or Cabernet in Wynns Coonawarra’s magnificent laboratory there.
Finally, Penfolds invites guests to its Cellar Door in Barossa, where they can take home their own blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre in a personalized bottle.
6. The Louise and Appellation
Barossa’s premier vineyard retreat is The Louise, which offers a private “Signature Barossa Experiences”. You will find nine of South Australia’s top boutique winemakers, each with an open-door policy exclusively for hotel guests.
Guests can meet the winemakers of some of the most famous wines in Australia and attempt to learn their secrets. You will also sample foods inspired by vintage wines. Appellation is located at The Louise hotel.
In 2011, “Australia Good Food and Travel Guide” named Appellation the “Top Restaurant in South Australia”. Appellation was the only restaurant to make the list outside Sydney and Melbourne. British Executive Chef Mark McNamara operates the restaurant.
7. Paddock to Plate
Paddock to Plate is a cuisine safari tour on Kangaroo Island. It focuses on the South Australian island’s diverse produce and the passion of the local farmers.
A full-day food safari may include seafood, artisan cheese, olive oil, honey, local spices, dairy products, and wine. It is a unique way to explore Kangaroo Island. www.exceptionalkangarooisland.com
8. The Eyre Peninsula’s Seafood and Aquaculture Trail
The Eyre Peninsula’s Seafood and Aquaculture Trail showcases the best of South Australia. The trail is a self-drive experience and takes you to the heart of the best seafood in the country. As you venture along the trail, you can sample foods, including southern bluefin tuna, abalone, oyster, prawns, scallops, and southern rock lobster. www.seafoodtrail.com
9. The Flinders Feral Food Menu Outback at The Prairie Hotel
The Flinders Feral Food Menu was created by the famous Outback Prairie Hotel (located in Parachilna) – serving native Australian cuisine. Guests are treated to recipes featuring local meats, native herbs, regional fruits and locally produced vegetables.
Some of the meats on the menu include kangaroo, emu, saltbush mutton, and rabbit. If you are not a meat lover, then you can also dine on unusual ingredients (found in the bush) such as paperbark, wattle and acacia seeds, samphire, muntries and mountain pepper berries.
The “Feral Mixed Grill” is the restaurant’s most popular dish which features meat from a host of animals including camel sausage, kangaroo fillet and emu mignon in the mixed grill.
10. The ChocoVino Experience
For something truly spectacular visit the ChocoVino Experience at the Adelaide’s Hahndorf Hill Winery. The idea behind the ChocoVino Experience is that gourmet chocolate and fine wine can reflect the region – so they pair wines and chocolate into one great tasting experience for visitors. www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au