At these wineries in South Australia, fine wine doesn’t just improve with age – it's enhanced by unique experiences, too.
From the Barossa to Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale, the cup runneth when it comes to incredible wineries in South Australia. Why stop at leisurely vineyard strolls, when you can zip through the vines on a Segway tour? Why make do with a humble tasting when you can enjoy a vintage from your birth year straight out of the barrel?
Here, we reveal our favourite wineries in South Australia for connoisseurs who crave a little more.
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1. Blend your own wine and enjoy degustation dining at d’Arenberg Cube, McLaren Vale
Mention McLaren Vale and many people will immediately picture the impressive d’Arenberg Cube. An incredible feat of architecture, this one-of-a-kind winery is modelled after a Rubik’s Cube and offers a breathtaking experience for even the most seasoned sommeliers. Elevate your visit with a wine blending workshop where you will blend and bottle your very own wine. Using three distinctive barrel samples of single vineyard wine, you’ll create a personalised blend of shiraz to take home.
All that blending is hungry work, so head to d’Arry’s Verandah restaurant for an impeccable degustation dining experience. Showcasing the very best of the region, the menu changes with the seasons and can be paired with local wines. Start with canapés and amuse-bouche, moving onto fresh seafood, local meats and innovative desserts, such as decadent soft-centred chocolate pudding with Dead Arm curd, chocolate ice cream and cocoa nibs. This is a one-of-a-kind experience we promise you won’t forget.
2. Take a Helivista scenic helicopter flight to lunch, McLaren Vale
Soar above the McLaren Vale wine region before stopping for lunch at your choice of local restaurant with a Helivista scenic helicopter flight. Enjoy a birds-eye view of the Fleurieu Peninsula’s coastline and the beautiful beaches, cliffs and pristine waters of Port Willunga, keeping an eye out for frolicking dolphins along the way.
Arrive in style at your favourite cellar-door restaurant in the region, where you’ll be treated to a delicious lunch. Helivista works with some of the finest establishments, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Options include lunch at The Currant Shed followed by an ancient soils tasting at Shottesbrook Winery, Ekhidna Wines with bubbles on arrival, a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience at Maxwell Wines with delectable chef degustation and so much more. No matter which option you choose, you’re guaranteed an exquisite menu of inventive dishes, created using the freshest local and seasonal ingredients – with estate-grown wines to match.
3. Weave through the vines on a Seppeltsfield Segway tour, Barossa
Add a dose of fun to your Barossa experience on a Seppeltsfield Segway tour. Consider this your backstage pass to parts of the estate otherwise inaccessible to guests, taking a trail through heritage-listed sights, 19th-century architecture and tranquil gardens, with stunning vineyard vistas along the way. An expert guide will give you the full lowdown, including Segway training, a helmet and safety vest, making the experience suitable for beginners and seasoned Segway fans alike.
For a touch of true luxe, add the Seppeltsfield & FINO Signature Experience. Begin with a tour of Seppeltsfield’s Centennial Cellar, ticking off a true bucket-list experience as you taste wine from your birth year. You won’t need to worry about feeling old here, either – the vintage wines date back as far as 1878. A regional shared-menu lunch at FINO restaurant follows, paired with Seppeltsfield wines that celebrate the best of South Australia.
4. Join an extra virgin olive oil masterclass at Vasse Virgin, Barossa
Located on the Seppeltsfield estate, Vasse Virgin is Barossa’s answer to all-natural, handmade skin and body products. Dedicated to passing their knowledge on, Vasse Virgin run a handful of workshops, including a 45-minute extra virgin olive oil masterclass. Learn absolutely everything you’ve ever wanted to know about EVOO from highly trained staff, from the oil-making process to discovering what ‘extra virgin’ really means, spotting faults in oils and selecting the best oil for your home cooking. At the end, you’ll be presented with a 250ml bottle of Vasse Virgin olive oil to take home.
You can round off your experience with a wine tasting at the Seppeltsfield cellar door. After all, you’ll need to find the right wine to pair with your EVOO-enhanced home cooking.
5. Let a private chef wine and dine you at St Hugo, Barossa
Part of Barossa’s rich wine heritage, St Hugo’s roots date back to the late 1800s. Named after Hugo Gramp (grandson of legendary Barossa winemaker and Jacob’s Creek founder Johann Gramp), St Hugo prides itself on providing guests with one-of-a-kind wine experiences – such as the incredible Chef’s Table Cooking Experience + Lunch.
Let the estate’s chef personally host and season a menu just for you and your companions. Gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between food and wine, beginning with a glass of Perrier-Jouët champagne to accompany a kitchen-garden tour. With the chef’s expert assistance and guidance, you’ll pick seasonal produce from the gardens to be used in the making of your personalised lunch. Finally, sit and relax amid the beautiful surrounding of the Jacob’s Family Estate (just a short walk from St Hugo cellar door), as you enjoy your lunch with a selection of St Hugo wines.
6. Tour Australia’s only onsite winery cooperage, Barossa
Gain an insight into the important task of barrel-making at Yalumba cooperage – Australia's only onsite winery cooperage and one of just five in the world. Your experience begins with a short introduction to the winery and its owners, the Hill-Smiths, before a rare look at barrel-making, something which has been perfected here over 100 years.
Depending on the time of year, you’ll see coopers hard at work preparing or maintaining the barrels, ready for Yalumba’s finest wines. Afterwards, it’s off to the tasting room, where a Yalumba ambassador will introduce you to five iconic wines from the portfolio.
7. Enjoy the ultimate paddock-to-plate experience at Mayura Station’s Tasting Room, Coonawarra
It may be a small strip of land on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, but Coonawarra has a big reputation when it comes to wine. Its rich terra rossa soil is renowned for producing incredible red wines, which pair perfectly with farm-fresh produce from the region.
The Tasting Room at Mayura Station offers a boutique dining experience featuring the best cuts of Mayura farm’s full-blood wagyu beef. Enjoy a four-course set menu, with the starter, entrée and main all featuring different cuts of wagyu. Take things up a notch by booking a place at the Chef’s Table, where you’ll be seated around the grill as the chef cooks directly in front of you. With a single dinner sitting just three times a week, this is a highly intimate and unique experience that is best enjoyed with a bottle of Coonawarra red.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our pick of Australia's best food festivals.