How to explore the wine regions around Adelaide, South Australia

Discover spectacular places to eat, drink and sleep on Adelaide's Epicurean Way, plus top tips for experiencing the city's best winemakers and producers behind the scenes.

Published 3 Jun 2021, 15:52 BST, Updated 11 Jun 2021, 12:05 BST
The d'Arenberg Cube is an innovative building set in the d'Arenberg vineyards, with the five levels including ...

The d'Arenberg Cube is an innovative building set in the d'Arenberg vineyards, with the five levels including a wine sensory room, a visual fermenter and a 360-degree video room.

Photograph by South Australian Tourism Commission

With rugged national parks, sloping vineyards, wild beaches and world-class eateries, South Australia is a haven for anyone who loves the good things in life — food, wine and beautiful landscapes. Connecting it all is the Epicurean Way, a 145-mile stretch of road that starts in Adelaide and weaves its way through the wine regions of McLaren Vale, The Adelaide Hills, Barossa and the Clare Valley. Adelaide’s thriving restaurant and bar scene is crammed with chefs and mixologists who proudly champion the abundant local produce from nearby farms. Check out Jordan Theodoros’ assured Modern Australian menu at Peel St, or book a table at Fishbank, a slick new seafood outlet that offers a market-fresh menu including the likes of flathead ceviche and Abrolhos Island scallops. From the city, it’s an easy hour’s drive to more than 200 cellar doors offering vineyard tours, on-site dining and wine tastings. It’s no wonder Adelaide is recognised as the vineyard capital of Australia and one of just 10 Wine Capitals of the World.

The Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills are a picturesque tapestry of rolling hills, stepped vineyards and upscale rustic cottages — all within a 25 minute-drive of the city. Small-batch, family-run vineyard and cellar door Shaw+Smith is a must-visit. They produce exquisite sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz varietals, all fermented, aged and bottled on site. Later, retreat to the luxury digs at nearby Esto Wines, a three-bedroom house decked out in creamy hues, with polished timber floors and big bathtubs. The wraparound verandah is the real standout feature, with sweeping views over the Piccadilly Valley.

Don’t miss: Lot 100, a collective of five dynamic food and small batch beverage producers. Picnic on the lawn, enjoy lunch in the restaurant or take in some live music.

Founded in 1845, Yalumba is Australia's oldest family-owned winery, owned by fifth-generation winemakers and set in beautiful gardens.

Photograph by South Australian Tourism Commission

Barossa Valley

A half-hour drive north brings you to the Barossa, famous for its artisan food producers and paddock-to-plate ethos. Among the highlights is the Barossa Valley Cheese Company. It produces creamy brie and thyme and lemon-marinated feta, made from Barossa-sourced cows’ milk and South Australian goat’s milk. Next, head to one of Australia’s oldest wineries, Seppeltsfield. The fun ‘Taste Your Birth Year’ tour lets visitors sample a fortified wine as old as they are. Another venerated winery is Yalumba, founded in 1849. Taste the wine, join a tour, find out about art of wine barrel making and explore the beautiful gardens. Later, check-in to the The Louise, to enjoy gaslog fireplaces and a private outdoor rain shower. Make sure to dine at its Appellation restaurant — 85% of the ingredients on the menu come from the Barossa Valley. 

Don’t miss: Join the Butcher, Baker, Winemaker Trail, a self-guided gourmet food experience complete with Barossa Valley picnic hamper.

The Clare Valley

A 90-minute drive north of the Barossa (and about the same distance from Adelaide) lies the Clare Valley, one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, home to some 50 cellar doors. The expansive grounds of the Sevenhill Cellars include historical sites such as the grandiose St Aloysius’ Church, a nod to its origins producing sacramental wines for its Jesuit founders. As well as a tasting room, there’s also a winery museum. From here, it’s a short hop to Pikes Wines, producers of exceptional riesling, shiraz and cabernet. For a different tipple, the team also run Pikes Beer Company. The adjoining Slate Restaurant fizzes with invention, offering dishes such as Orroroo kangaroo tataki with chives and cavolo nero.

Don’t miss: Booking a luxury Belle Tent at Bukirk Glamping, complete with king beds, outdoor seating and private en suites.

McLaren Vale

Tucked between the Mount Lofty Ranges and the Gulf St Vincent beaches — just 40 minutes’ drive from Adelaide — McLaren Vale is shiraz country, and home to more than 80 cellar doors and vineyards. The best way to get around the Vale is by bicycle. Grab one from Onya Bike Hire and follow the five-mile Shiraz Trail up to Willunga. Call in at Wirra Wirra Vineyards, where the cellars feel almost medieval, with arched doors, fireplaces, and red-brick floors. Wirra Wirra’s philosophy puts fruit purity and vineyard expression ahead of almost everything else, resulting in bold, award-winning vintages. Wine flights and tours start at A$40 (£22).

Don’t miss: McLaren Vale is home to long stretches of stunning coastline. 4WD vehicle tours along the beach are available. Later, go snorkelling at Port Noarlunga.

Three ways to experience the gastronomy of Adelaide

Adelaide has found a name for itself as a gourmet go-to destination, home to some of the best restaurants in the country, as well as a vibrant festival scene, cool bars and edgy local art. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss.

1. Africola
This buzzy spot serves African-inspired plates made from local produce. Dishes include hiramasa kingfish with chickpea papadum or goat’s curd stuffed medjool dates.

2. Pink Moon Saloon
An alpine-style cabin, Pink Moon Saloon’s menu specialises in local beer and inventive takes on classics, such as the House Highball: blended Suntory, lemon kombucha and soda.

3. Adelaide Central Market
Take an eco-friendly rickshaw tour around the city before sampling food from the best local artisan producers at this lively multicultural market.

The Lane Vineyard sits 400m up in the Adelaide Hills, with a restaurant and tasting room amongst the vines.

Photograph by South Australian Tourism Commission

How to do it

Getting around South Australia is easy: driving is on the same side of the road as the UK, or join a locally guided tour. In Adelaide, choose from trains, trams and buses with Adelaide Metro. Head to southaustralia.com to find out more.

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