Henschke, Mount Edelstone Vineyard, Barossa Valley, South Australia © Henschke and Co.
Adelaide’s best wine regions
Set against a backdrop of rolling hills, glistening coastline and charming country towns, Adelaide’s wine regions are overflowing with more than just exceptional wine.
By Lana Bogunovich
Known as the wine capital of Australia, Adelaide is surrounded by some of the best wine regions in the country, many of which are just a short drive from the city. Add in stunning natural scenery, charming historic towns and exceptional gourmet experiences and you’ve got yourself the perfect getaway.
Where: a 40-minute drive south of the city.
With its enviable position between the hills and the Fleurieu Peninsula’s coastline, McLaren Vale is one of the most popular wine destinations in South Australia. The region is well known for its warmer climate reds, most notably shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, but has also mastered lesser-produced varietals such as sangiovese, roussanne and tempranillo. There are more than 80 cellar doors as well as a plethora of culinary offerings, all set against a stunning backdrop of rolling green hills and coastal vistas. A great way to experience the beauty of the region is by cycling it. Jump on a bike and ride the nine-kilometre (5.5-mile) Shiraz Trail, taking in the vineyards and wineries along the way. A must-visit here is d’Arenberg, a family-owned winery with an impressive five-storey Rubik’s Cube-inspired structure offering a wonderland of quirky art, food and wine experiences.
Where: a one-hour drive north-east of the city.
The Barossa Valley is deeply rooted in a rich wine heritage spanning seven generations. It is known for consistently producing exceptional vintages and bold, earthy shiraz, but also grows grenache, cabernet sauvignon, riesling and semillon. It is home to more than 170 wineries, including famous names such as Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek, Wolf Blass, St Hugo and Henschke. One of the most historic wineries is Seppeltsfield, which is the only winery in the world to release a 100-year-old vintage wine every year. Visit this iconic wine estate for its unique experiences, such as the opportunity to taste wine from your birth year straight from the barrel. While the wineries can easily keep you occupied, the historic villages of Lyndoch, Angaston and Bethany are worth visiting for their charming old-world feel.
At more than 710 metres (2,329 feet) above sea level, Mount Lofty is the highest point in the ranges. The lookout offers panoramic views as far as Kangaroo Island and Yorke Peninsula on clear days.
Where: less than an hour’s drive east of the city.
Adelaide Hills is unlike other South Australian wine regions in that it produces great quality cool-climate wines thanks to its location in the Mount Lofty Ranges. There are more than 60 wineries and 40 cellar doors here, many of which are boutique operations, so it’s perfect for getting off the beaten track and discovering new wine producers. One of the most beautiful wineries is Shaw + Smith – head here to try the limited release wine flight and stay for the sunset over the vineyards. Visit one of Australia’s most distinguished wineries, Penfolds’ Magill Estate, to taste its famous vintages and learn about its winemaking history of more than 175 years. You'll find one of the region's most awarded cellar doors at The Lane, offering personalised tastings. Take in the lush green landscapes of Mount Lofty Botanic Garden and explore more wine alongside German heritage in the historic town of Hahndorf.
Where: just under two hours north of Adelaide.
While most wine regions surrounding Adelaide are known for their bold reds, the Clare Valley is celebrated for its crisp whites, particularly its riesling. There are more than 50 cellar doors and premium wineries, and a string of charming villages. One of the best ways to explore the region is by cycling the Riesling Trail, a 32-kilometre (20-mile) trail between the towns of Auburn and Clare. Visit the towns of Sevenhill, Mintaro, Auburn, Watervale and Clare for award-winning cellar doors, charming country pubs, gourmet food providores and boutique bed and breakfast accommodation. It’s almost impossible not to get swept away in the charm and romance of this vibrant wine region and many of those who visit for a day end up staying longer.
Where: a four-hour drive south-east of the city.
Located on the Limestone Coast, the Coonawarra region has a strong reputation as one of the country’s top red wine producers. Most favoured for its cabernet sauvignon, with shiraz following closely behind, the region is often referred to as South Australia’s red centre. Despite only stretching across a mere 20-kilometre (13-mile) strip, it packs in more than 25 cellar doors and a range of gourmet offerings. Visit the town of Penola and have lunch at its multi-award-winning Royal Oak Hotel Pub or the fine dining restaurant Pipers of Penola. Visit the beautiful cellar door at Brand's Laira for a tasting, tour or a blend your own wine class. For views as outstanding as the food, head to Coonawarra town’s first winery restaurant Upstairs at Hollick Estate, where you can also tour the winery and taste wines with the winemaker.