Top South Australia Wine Regions and Wineries
Bordeaux, France. Napa Valley, California. Adelaide, Australia?
To the average person, one of these things is not like the other.
While the wine regions of places like France, California and Italy may be household names, South Australia’s wine regions have flown largely under the radar. This is despite consistently producing some of the world’s most award-winning wines.
With more than 200 wineries and vineyards dotting the landscape, we’ll show you the best wineries, tasting rooms, and unique experiences in the top wine regions of South Australia.
Some of the oldest vineyards in the world (including some of the oldest producing grape-vines) are found in this fertile land just outside of Adelaide.
An array of different wine types, from warm-climate Syrahs and Cabernet Sauvignons to cold climate Rieslings and Pinots thrive in the region’s diverse micro-climates.
The Barossa Valley is the perfect place to start your vineyard-hopping tour of South Australia.
Tip: The Barossa Valley is also well known as a foodie’s paradise. With a Barossa Food and Wine tour you’ll get a taste of the best of both.
Penfolds Barossa Valley Cellar Door
This vineyard was established in 1844, making it among the oldest South Australia wineries. Penfolds offers tastings, tours and all the standard trappings of a vineyard visit. But what makes a tour of Penfolds Cellar Door unique is the ability to create your own blend in the Winemakers’ Laboratory.
Using Penfolds favorites like Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre, you’ll be able to make a custom mix, just the way you like it.
Try: Bin 138; Penfolds flagship blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre.
Award-winning wines produced in Jacobs Creek are a household name among Aussies with a finely tuned palate. The Jacobs Creek Visitors Centre combines some of South Australia’s best regional food and tasting tours of the winery’s finest vintages. You’ll find your happy place among the rolling hills, green valleys and lush vines overflowing with ripe grapes.
Jacobs Creek is also one of the first wineries to produce “bourbon-barrel” aged wine. After an initial aging process in a traditional oak barrel, the wine is transferred to an aged Scotch-whiskey barrel to finish. This aging innovation imparts unique flavor-nuances to their Double Barrel Cabernet.
Try: Jacobs Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon 2012; Smooth and delicious, aged in whiskey barrels to finish.
Turkey Flat Vineyards
When you talk about an aged wine, you’re talking time spent in the barrel after production. But before the first grape is ever crushed, there’s a different kind of aging that makes Turkey Flat wines some of the most unique in Australia.
Turkey Flat Vineyards are home to the oldest, commercially-producing grape vines on the planet. The original vineyard of Shiraz varietal grapes was planted in 1847 and still produces the fruit used in their wines to this day.
While these vines aren’t the oldest in the world – that designation belongs to a nearly 500-year-old vine in Slovenia – Turkey Flats vintage vines continue to bear enough fruit for commercial distribution, 170 years later.
Try: Turkey Flat Shiraz 2014; Made from the hardest-working vines in the wine game.
Established just 15 years after Europeans settled in South Australia, Seppeltsfield Winery is another page in the rich history of Barossa Valley wine. Polish immigrant Joseph Seppelt began growing grapes after his tobacco crops failed, becoming one of the true pioneers of South Australia wine.
In celebration of Seppeltsfield Winery’s grand opening in 1878, a 500-litre barrel of their finest wine was set aside to age for 100 years. Each year thereafter, the tradition of saving a new barrel to sell as a “100-year-old vintage” continued. And in 1978 when the first barrel was ready to bottle, Seppeltsfield Winery became the only winery in the world to release a century-old vintage every single year.
No surprise, this “Centennial Collection” is pricey, but can you put a price on a vintage that doesn’t exist anywhere else? For a truly special occasion, select 5 different years from significant moments of your life to taste from the Centennial Collection, as part of the “This is Your Life” tour.
Try: Seppeltsfield 100-Year-Old Port; You don’t need to buy the whole bottle, but you’ll want at least a taste of this one-of-a-kind vintage.
Head south from the city of Adelaide toward the region of McLaren Vale. More than 80 vineyards and cellar doors make up this prized-wine region. An array of award-winning wines are produced in McLaren Vale, but the prized Shiraz varietal is the region’s pride and joy. Take a tour of the highlights of McLaren Vale or stop in to these wineries on a self-drive trip.
This family-owned vineyard opened in 1912 runs four generations deep. d’Arenberg made something of a name for themselves by juxtaposing the classiness of traditional wine-packaging with fun, inventive, nontraditional names for their vintages (Footbolt, The Money Spider and The Hermit Crab for a few). But their winemaking is anything but a gimmick.
Traditional wine-making practices like foot-treading partway through the fermenting process call back to the “good old days” of wine. Most of d’Arenberg’s reds are bottled unfiltered and unfined, leaving trace amounts of sediment along with bold flavor.
You’ll love the beautiful views of large swaths of thriving vines and rolling hills surrounding the winery. You can also get hands on with a stop at The Blending Bench to mix up your own, unique bottle using d’Arenberg’s best varietals.
Try: d’Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz 2013; Award-winning flagship that tastes like the good old days.
Chapel Hill Winery
If McLaren Vale is aiming for a theme of traditional, bold, old-world wine, they have plenty of fine wineries doing it justice. Did you know that modern filtering practices still use added agents like milk casein, bone marrow, animal gelatin and even fish bladder, also called isinglass, in the refining process?
These methods are meant to remove things like cloudiness, yeast and other organic particles from each batch.
Chapel Hill Winery eschews these additives. Instead, they produce unfiltered and unfined wines using traditional methods and basket pressing for natural clarification that leave your wines tasting like wine.
Try:Sangiovese Rosé 2017; Rosé all day. Bottled and sold young for that zing of cranberry tartness.
While a proper tasting tour among the vines is the best way to experience South Australia wineries, you may find yourself short of time in Adelaide. Maybe you’re gearing up for a tour of the city and have a few hours to kill. In that case, stop by any of these cellar doors convenient to the city center to taste the best wines of the Valley and Vale.
East End Cellars & The Tasting Room
Stop by this cellar door for a huge selection of wines from all over the region. This centrally located wine bar serves favorites by the glass with charcuterie and other small plates to go with it. Every Friday and Saturday, East End Cellars puts on free tastings in their cellar.
Press* Food & Wine
A trendy, upscale wine bar and restaurant offering casual and fine-dining fare. Press* is a great stop if you’re in the mood for a world-class dining experience. Or grab a quick glass of local wine before touring a walking tour of Adelaide.
Melbourne Street Fine Wine Cellars
Find yourself without enough time to even sit down for a glass at a wine bar? Grab a bottle to go from this super-stocked fine wine cellar. You’ll find popular and under-the-radar favorites from all of Australia’s wine regions. Grab a bottle of the perfect Pinot for a picnic in the park.
Get a Taste of South Australia Wineries
See how South Australia’s wine making regions stand toe-to-toe with the Bordeaux’s of the world. Entrench yourself in the history of the area and try its finest vintages with a tasting tour across Barossa Valley and beyond.
Want to see as many as you can in one trip? A self-drive tour of South Australia lets you set your own pace and choose the perfect vineyards for you.
Ready to start planning? Call one of our Destination Specialists toll-free at (888) 359-2877 (M – F 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and we’ll work together to create the trip of a lifetime.