When most wine enthusiasts reminisce about their favorite Shiraz, Merlot, or Chardonnay, they may be surprised to find that many of their favorite brands came from the Land Down Under. Australia, specifically the state of South Australia, is the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine, and 60% of its production is consumed internationally. Wine and vineyard tourism has also exploded in the region, with many visitors to Australia coming to try the country’s signature vintages in both reds and whites.
South Australian Winelands
One of South Australia’s most established wine regions, Barossa Valley has built a national reputation for bucking the trend of red table wines in favor of perfecting its Shiraz production. It emerged as a world-class leader in the red wine variety with chocolate and spice notes. The Valley, besides the opportunity to tour different vineyards and taste some of the local Shiraz yourself, hosts many different events and festivals throughout the year. One of the most popular is Tour Down Under, a professional cycling competition that begins in Adelaide and makes its way through Barossa Valley to circle back to Adelaide again. If vineyard and winery tours aren’t enough, be sure to visit during the Barossa Vintage Festival, when all the local vendors and winemakers bring out their best wines and cuisines for a huge celebration.
One of the more scenic of the wine-producing regions is Clare Valley, a quietly understated little valley covered in golden wheat and gum trees. Clare Valley is considered the home of the Southern Australia Riesling variety, and the area’s signature reds included Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. One of Clare Valley’s intriguing sights is Martindale Hall, the former estate of a wealthy pastoralist, or livestock farmer. Built in the late 1870’s, this mansion housed only two residents with 14 servants attending them, the true epitome of extravagance. Country music fans will also enjoy the Burra AGL Country Music Festival which presents local, national, and international country artists, as well as food and vendor stalls and camping facilities.
Part of the Mount Lofty Ranges and 35 miles southwest of Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills is a welcome relief from the sweltering Australian desert sun, as the Hills are usually a few degrees cooler than the other wine regions. As one of the first areas in South Australia to be settled by European immigrants, Adelaide Hills retains some of the original German influences left by its original settlers, such as German-speaking residents and Lutheran churches still standing. The area’s German heritage is also evident in its white wine production, as Riesling is a popular product here, as well as the less flamboyant but spicier Grüner Veltliner.
One of the quirkiest and coziest little winery towns, McLaren Vale is the perfect way to end your South Australian vineyard tour. Popular wines grown here include the dry reds, Grenache, Mourvedre, and of course, Shiraz, and whites such as Riesling, Semillon, and Chardonnay. Just outside of town is the vineyard, coffee shop, and art gallery Magpie Springs, a funky little patch of South Australia with a rock climbing wall, art exhibitions of local Australian artists, and coffee roasted right on site. If you’re feeling peckish, head to one of the local farmer’s markets and pick up some bread, cheese, and smoked meats for an impromptu picnic or eat in one of the many nearby vineyard restaurants, where they are the experts in pairing your meal with the perfect wine.
Discover the Best of the Australian Winelands with Down Under Answers
Get to know Adelaide, South Australia’s elegant and cultural capital rich with colonial heritage. Stroll the city’s parklands, taste your way through some of Australia’s renowned wine regions including the Barossa Valley and visit world famous vineyards and sample quality, local produce. Meander through the Adelaide Hills where picturesque farmlands and charming villages have inspired many generations of artists. For an authentic Australian wildlife experience take a plane or boat to Kangaroo Island and get to know the variety of Australian animals that call it home.
Escape to some of Australia’s best kept secrets!
Explore Adelaide, the gateway to South Australia. Visit the Barossa Valley, Australia’s oldest and most famous wine making region, to enjoy wine tasting and local produce.
Board the Indian Pacific for a journey across the Nullarbor to Perth. Spend two nights on the historic train which allows to sit back in the comfort of your cabin and take in the incredible landscapes of the Australian Outback.
Explore Margaret River’s acclaimed wineries during a three-night stay and learn about Aboriginal food and culture with a local Indigenous guide.
An 11-night journey showcasing the best of the South and the West. Beginning in Adelaide, enjoy stunning day tours up to the iconic Barossa Valley Wine Region and the equally as picturesque Adelaide Hills. Continue on to discover the abundant wildlife of Kangaroo Island while soaking up the rugged coastline beauty of iconic Southern Ocean Lodge. End your journey by embracing the splendor of Perth and unwinding in the gorgeous Margaret River Wine Region.
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