The Barossa Valley is only about an hour’s drive north-east of Adelaide and is South Australia’s best-known wine region.
As well as the vineyards there’s plenty of charming 19th century architecture, much of it thanks to the early German settlers and there are lots of delightful little towns to stop for lunch or a look around. There are more than 170 wineries in the Barossa so below is a fairly subjective overview…
The southern gateway to the Barossa Valley is the town of Lyndoch. Between Lyndoch and Tanunda there are a number of wineries including one of my favourites, Grant Burge and Rockford’s, a boutique winemaker of fine reds. The tasting rooms at Rockford are in the quaint 1850’s stable and cottage.
Tanunda is the heart of the wine region and is a good place to head to start exploring, or to kick off with a nice brunch or lunch. The Barossa Wine and Visitors Centre in Tanunda traces 150 years of winemaking and it’s not far from the wineries of Peter Lehmann, Richmond Grove, Jacob’s Creek and Basedows.
The tiny settlement of Bethany was the original German settlement. It has a pioneer cemetery and a medieval-style traditional thatched barn. The Bethany Winery has great views and is owned by the Schrapel family, descendents of the original settlers. Johann Gottlob Schrapel and his family arrived in South Australia from Silesia on the ship “George Washington” in 1844, just eight years after the colony was settled.
Turn off on Seppeltsfield Road (halfway between Tanunda and Nuriootpa) to Seppelts, nestled in one of the prettiest corners of the Barossa. Fortified wines are a speciality and this is the only winery in the world with vintage ports for every year from 1878. Penfolds is just before Nuriootpa and for a gourmet nibble (pheasant farm pate, quince paste, etc.), visit Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop.
At the upper end of the valley, Henschke has a range of great reds (Hill of Grace etc) and they make very fine whites. The Henschke family has been making wine since 1862, with Stephen Henschke and wife, Prue, the driving force.
To get ‘high’ in the region, as opposed to just tipsy, hot-air balloon flights float over the villages and vineyards in the early morning.
The Barossa is big on events and festivals right throughout the year including gourmet weekends, music and film festivals, flower shows and markets.
Tours can be arranged through the Barossa and there are information centres in Tanunda, Gawler and Kapunda. You can cycle through the Barossa, do it in style in a limo or take a coach tour from Adelaide. There are also options like Barossa Trike Tours – chauffeured trikes that can take three passengers on a winery tour or for sightseeing or just short joyrides. Here is a link to Barossa Unique Tours.
You don’t necessarily have to ‘backtrack’ over where you have travelled on the way up the valley. While ‘officially’ in the Adelaide Hills, if you are driving, you can continue through Eden Valley and Mount Pleasant to Hahndorf, the picture-perfect village founded more than 150 years ago by German settlers, and then head back to Adelaide.
Here is a link to the official Barossa Valley website - http://www.barossa.com/
And, at either end of the day, Rydges South Park in Adelaide is there for all your accommodation needs.