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 Bonnie Jackson
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: 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 like Sevenhill, Mintaro, Auburn, Watervale and Clare. 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.
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 varietals such as sangiovese, roussanne and tempranillo. There are more than 80 cellar doors like d’Arenberg, as well as a plethora of culinary offerings, all set against a stunning backdrop of rolling green hills and coastal vistas.
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.
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: 15 minutes from the city centre
Adelaide Hills is unlike other South Australian wine regions in that it produces great quality cool-climate wines like pinot noir, sparkling and chardonnay thanks to its location in the Mount Lofty Ranges. The closest region to Adelaide, it's home to more than 60 wineries and 40 cellar doors. Visit Shaw + Smith for a limited release wine flight experience, or Penfolds’ Magill Estate; one of Australia's most distinguished wineries, or wander around one of the region's most awarded cellar doors at The Lane, offering personalised tastings.
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 beautiful cellar door at Brand's Laira for a tasting, tour or a blend your own wine class.