Did you know there are 18 wine regions in South Australia, and with that many to discover, it’s no surprise that many events in South Australia are linked to these regions. In 2021 they will be celebrated even more than usual, with gourmet weeks, vintage festivals, masterclasses, tastings, music and markets. If food and wine experiences are high on your travel wish list then this is the year (for Australian readers) to plan a trip to South Australia.
The wine regions in the state extend from the southern Flinders Ranges in the north, to Mount Gambier in the south east and places in between as can be seen by the map below. Many of the wine regions are well known in Australia and a number of them would be familiar to overseas readers as well, with the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra regions probably the most popular.
Each region has their points of difference, for instance the Adelaide Hills is a cool climate wine region which is perfect for Sauvignon Blanc, the Coonawarra has a distinctive terra rossa rich loamy soil and produces top class Cabernet Sauvignon varieties, the Barossa Valley is lauded internationally for its Shiraz varieties in particular and everyone knows if you want a Riesling, then it has to be from the Clare Valley.
I’ve listed a few of my favourite regions and wineries therein and why they should be on your itinerary for this year or any future year if you have the opportunity to visit the great wine state of South Australia.
It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Clare Valley region but there are a number of wines that we gravitate to as always being reliable. They include Mr Mick, Pikes Wines, and Skillogalee to name a few. I’ve always found the Clare Valley cellar doors to be welcoming and friendly and many of the wineries have restaurants too. The Clare Valley is well known for having the Riesling Trail, a 33 kilometre cycling and walking trail that travels through vineyards and bushland, past historic buildings and through small townships that make up the valley.
The Riverland wine region only has 10 wineries but it produces 30% of Australia’s national crush and a huge amount of wine grape fruit is bought from the Riverland to use in many major Australian wine companies. The major attraction in this region is the Murray River and there are plenty of towns along the river worth discovering. With only a few cellar doors it would be easy to visit each of them and one winery definitely not to miss, is Caudo Vineyard.
A huge region that definitely takes a bit of planning to narrow down your favourite wineries to visit out of more than 80 cellar doors. The ones that I would put top of the list are Turkey Flat Vineyards (love the wine and the little cellar door), Seppeltsfield Winery (a huge estate but worth seeing the opposite of small cellar doors and it has lovely gardens), Tscharke Wines (quirky setting and great value wines) but with so many to choose from you can make your plan based on those with the views, the food or the well known brands and in some cases all three of those boxes are ticked.
Easy for me to pick my favourites in this region where I lived for more than 30 years. These are my top picks for beautiful wines, top views, excellent food and friendly service. Artwine in Woodside, Pike and Joyce in Lenswood, Cobb’s Hill Estate in Oakbank, Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard Lenswood and Anderson Hill in Lenswood. It’s very hard to narrow down the best out of these and this is just a few of the more than 50 cellar doors in this region and the bonus is outstanding vineyard and hills views. A particularly pretty wine region to visit in any season because of brilliant autumn colour, cosy wood fires in winter and leafy green drives in spring and summer.
This is a region I usually visit a few times a year and I’m still to get to every cellar door that I want to, with around 74 to choose from. Another region with beautiful views from hilltops and over the valleys below. This is a region which has been known for its big red varieties but I am loving their other varieties produced now including Tempranillo, Montepulciano and Fiano wines. An excellent food region and close to some beautiful beaches too. I’ve written a lot about this region so a search of stories will let you know my favourites here.
There are only 8 cellar doors in Langhorne Creek but they are big hitters and all worth visiting. If I had to pick favourites they would be Bleasdale Vineyards for their wines, Lake Breeze Wines is also a beautiful venue with great food and top spot has to go to The Winehouse, which is a cellar door for 4 wineries and has the best restaurant for views, quirkiness, the best food and excellent wine knowledge by the staff.
The Coonawarra has 24 cellar doors all conveniently located close to each other in a 20 kilometre strip. Of the ones I’ve visited these would be the ones I’d recommend. Balnaves of Coonawarra has an excellent tasting room and outdoor setting where the whole family can be comfortable, Rymill winery for its stunning entrance road and cellar door views, and Bellwether Wines where you can also camp!
As you can see this is only scratching the surface of what is available to visit, taste and buy in the South Australian wine regions which give endless reasons to holiday here this year. I’m interested to know, especially from readers interstate and overseas, which wineries or wine regions you have heard of. Let me know in comments or on the Facebook or Instagram posts for this story.
Cheers South Australia!