Responsible for almost 50% of Australia’s annual wine production, South Australia stands as the premier gateway to unparalleled wine encounters and is home to some of the oldest vines in the country.
From hillside vineyards gracing the landscape with renowned cool-climate whites in the Adelaide Hills, to the sun-drenched Mediterranean climate of McLaren Vale offering delicious dry reds, embark on a journey through these havens where you can indulge in an exquisite tasting flight and bask in the glory of views across lush, emerald-green vines.
Here are our top ten wineries to visit in South Australia, inviting you to test your tastebuds and leave you on cloud wine.
1. d'Arenberg, McLaren Vale
With a dedication to "the art of being different", d'Arenberg's space-age Cube doesn't disappoint. Winery owner Chester Osborn's visionary Rubik's Cube-style, five storey multi-function masterpiece houses several bars, a restaurant run by chef Brendan Wessels and private tasting rooms. Osborn calls it an Alternate Reality Museum and it's a sensory feat - not just of food and wine but also for its extraordinary artworks, soundscapes and special effects. The aim is to give the illusion of floating in the middle of a vineyard. Against type, the new cellar door is actually on the top floor with views overlooking the rolling hills of Willunga and visitors can choose to blend and bottle their own wine.
Find it at Osborn Road, McLaren Vale, 40 minutes drive from Adelaide.
2. Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide
Nestled in Adelaide's foothills, this is the birthplace of Australia's most prized wine, Penfolds Grange. With a rich history dating back to 1844, the heritage-listed winery is a labyrinth of underground tunnels and bluestone cellars. It's a treat to visit the Grange Cottage and vintage cellar and see the original hiding spot of Max Schubert's Grange followed by a structured tasting of Penfolds' most highly-coveted wines and a three-course lunch matched with more wines.
Find it at 78 Penfold Road, 15 minutes drive from Adelaide's CBD.
3. The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide Hills
Overlooking rolling hills and down a quiet, winding country lane lies one of the newest small batch single vineyard wineries in Australia, called The Lane. A barrel masterclass hosted by the wine-making team is a good way to take your wine knowledge to the next level, tasting heritage wines directly from the barrel and learning about the impact oak has on colour, aromatics, texture and structure, accompanied by some delicious treats from the chef.
Find it at 5 Ravenswood Lane, Hahndorf, just over 30 minutes from Adelaide's CBD.
4. Jacob's Creek Barossa
Named after a creek that runs through the beautiful Barossa Ranges, Jacob's Creek has origins dating back to 1847. A special way to enjoy it is with the picnic perfect experience - beginning with a tasting flight before you head to find the perfect picnic spot among the vineyards and indulge in locally sourced food with a bottle of Jacob's Creek wine.
Find it at 2129 Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat, just over one hour from Adelaide.
5. Seppeltsfield Wines, Barossa
With a legacy dating back to 1851, Seppeltsfield is famous for its Centennial Collection: an unbroken lineage of Tawny, spanning every vintage from 1878 to today. For something special, try your own birth year Tawny, directly from the barrel, guided by a Seppeltsfield wine educator. The Australian newspaper's food critic, John Lethlean, described the multi-award winning restaurant FINO as the best place in Australia for a long lunch.
Hard to miss on Seppeltsfield Road, Seppeltsfield, one hour drive from Adelaide.
6. St Hugo, Barossa
St Hugo honours the visionary winemaker Hugo Gramp and is located within the ruins of William Jacob's winery, built more than 150 years ago. Of course, there are guided tastings and visits to the vineyard but a visit to St Hugo isn't complete without the kitchen garden cooking experience. Indulge your senses as you personally pick seasonal produce to create your own culinary experience to be enjoyed with flowing wine - hosted by St Hugo's expert Chef.
Find it at 2141 Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat, just over an hour from Adelaide.
7. Two Hands Wines, Barossa
When you've been there and done that it's time to head for the Holy Grail - literally - the latest pride and joy in the Two Hands Shiraz-based portfolio. Survey the vineyard in a chauffeur-driven 4WD with tasting on-site and at the cellar door. Still not satisfied? Add a tour of Moppa Hills' Secret Block, a few other stops and a long lunch to make a day of it.
Find it at 273 Neldner Road, Marananga, 70 minutes drive from Adelaide.
8. Wirra Wirra, McLaren Vale
Wine aficionado James Halliday gives it five stars, and its Church Block Shiraz is the best-selling red blend in its category in Australia. But these folks don't take themselves too seriously and if you think flinging watermelons is something you'd only see in Queensland think again and have a go at Wirra Wirra's ingenious catapult. There's plenty more to recommend this place, from the Trott's Tales back-of-house tours to old cellar escapes and Harry's Deli, which serves up a menu overflowing with South Australian regional produce.
Find it at McMurtrie Road, McLaren Vale, 50 minutes drive from Adelaide.
9. Skillogalee, Clare Valley
The original owner of the property that is now Skillogalee winery would be turning in his grave if he could see his old homestead now - the teetotal farmer's stone cottage, built more than 165 years ago, is home to the cellar door and restaurant for the boutique winery now owned by Dave and Diana Palmer. The food too is a long way from the gruel known as 'skillogalee' once served to prisoners in another century and the last resort of local explorers desperate to survive. These days visitors to Skillogalee dine on twice-cooked blue cheese souffle, Port Lincoln sardines, Spencer Gulf prawns and Kangaroo Island halloumi - and that's just for starters! The lunch menu also delights with delicious food paired with top-notch rieslings and chardonnays from this award-winning producer.
Find Skillogalee on Trevarrick Road, Sevenhill less than two hours drive north of Adelaide.
10. Bird in Hand, Adelaide Hills
For anyone who enjoys the good life, and thinks that wine makes it even better, this is the place for you. Plus, you're on exactly the same wavelength as co-owner Andrew Nugent who built the winery from a run-down dairy 20 years ago with his father Michael. Along with perfecting the art of winemaking they have commissioned original art works, collaborated with fashion designers (Dion Lee), created a line of luxury accessories and homewares, opened a farm-to-table restaurant called The Gallery and the rolling lawns are host to a series of outdoor concerts.
According to Nugent, wine is a connector, opening up other worlds, and this is where it happens - while sipping award-winning chardonnay, a signature sparkling pinot noir, riesling, sauvignon blanc or shiraz, or perhaps one of the Italian varietals such as nero d'avola, montepulciano and arneis.
Find it at corner of Bird in Hand and Pfeiffer Roads, Woodside, about 40 minutes from Adelaide via Hahndorf.
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