From innovative McLaren Vale wineries to the Barossa legends, go beyond the cellar door and earn some serious vinophile cred on a behind-the-scenes experience at your favourite winery. Delve beneath the earth’s surface, craft your own barrel or soar high above the vineyards on a literal wine flight. Prime your palate, here’s our guide to the best winery experiences in South Australia.
1. Seppeltsfield Cooper for a Day, Barossa
Part artist, part scientist and part tradesman. The craft of coopering has been perfected over thousands of years and today is mastered by only a handful of artisans. With a barrel making history dating back to dating back to the 1800s, Barossa legend Seppeltsfield is one of the few wineries in South Australia home to a functioning cooperage. Here, oak barrels are hand crafted by master cooper Andrew Young and his team. Rich with the heady smell of oak and smoke, enter the workshop of this master cooper on Seppeltsfield’s Cooper for a Day experience. Spend the day with Andrew, whose cooperage cachet has been perfected over more than 40 years of barrel making and watch the master at work before turning your hand to your own barrel. Under Andrew’s guidance, you’ll create a 10-litre fortified or spirit barrel complete with a personalised engraving and contents of your choice. Yep, that’s a whole 10 litres of tawny, sherry, tokay or muscat. The experience also includes an artisan lunch, morning and afternoon tea.
1. Helivista Heli Fly-Thru Lunch, Fleurieu Peninsula
A wine tour in a private helicopter? Take your next wine flight to a whole new level on one of the
most unforgettable wine experiences in South Australia. Upgrade your designated driver to a pilot on Helivista’s Wine Flight experience and see McLaren Vale from a new perspective with your flying tour guide. After a custom wine tasting at Penny’s Hill, soar over the Fleurieu Peninsula’s stunning coastline, soak in a birds-eye view of pristine beaches and navigate the breathtaking Onkaparinga Gorge. An unforgettable drive-through dash, you’ll land to collect a gourmet lunch from the Currant Shed then soak in the view as you’re whisked away to a secret location to feast on local food and wine.
2. Alkina Rock Hammer Tasting, Tour and Lunch, Barossa
Geology seems like an unlikely pairing for wine, but a true understanding and appreciation of your favourite drop starts from the ground up. Scratch well below the surface of winemaking and discover how a region’s terroir influences the characteristics of wine. Barossa newcomer Alkina is committed to creating micro-terroir wines that reflect the varying and ancient stones and soils beneath the vines. Sprawling over 60 acres, Alkina’s vineyard is sectioned into smaller plots, called polygons, of around 200 vines reflecting the different terroirs of the land. Kicking off with a glass of champagne on arrival, the Hammer Tasting, Tour and Lunch is a deep dive into the importance and influence of terroir. You’ll taste three of their rarest polygon drops sourced from the most exclusive plots and sample wine straight from a concrete barrel egg before heading out in the vineyard to explore the polygons. The experience also includes an artisan lunch and cheese board.
3. Two Hands Holy Grail Vineyard Tour, Barossa
The search for the holy grail of wine is over, literally. Two Hands’ Holy Grail vineyard boasts one of the most impressive outlooks over the Barossa, and is also responsible for producing their 98-point single-vineyard Shiraz. On the Holy Grail Vineyard Tour, you’ll jump in a luxury 4WD Defender and journey out to this iconic vineyard. Here, you’ll taste Two Hands’ most exclusive drop surrounded by the vines from which it was sourced. With sweeping views across the Barossa Valley, it’s one of the most breathtaking spots to drink wine in South Australia. Afterwards, tour the winery then taste their latest creations straight from the barrel.
4. Seppeltsfield Taste Your Birth Year, Barossa
Arguably the Barossa’s most iconic winery, spend the afternoon sipping wine as old (or young) as you. Founded in 1851, today the historic bluestone cellars of Seppeltsfield produce a plethora of award-winning wines which stand tall among the world’s best, including the sublime 100-year-old Para Vintage Tawny. For an extra special experience, drink in the history of Seppeltsfield and descend into stone cellars dating back to 1878 to taste your own birth-year Tawny directly from the barrel, guided by a Seppeltsfield wine educator in the beautiful Centennial Cellar.
5. Gemtree Being Biodynamic Tour, Fleurieu Peninsula
McLaren Vale’s Gemtree Wines’ commitment to sustainable production has roots as deep as their decades-old vines. The wineries’ organic and biodynamic credentials speak for themselves, as does their commitment to improve the land for future generations. Flocks of sheep replace pesticides to keep weeds under control, ground quartz prevents fungal infections and negates the need for chemical fungicides, cow manure and recycled water feeds the vineyard and solar powers the irrigation, winery and cellar door. Judged the world’s best winery for Sustainable Wine Tourism at the Best of Wine Tourism awards in Bordeaux, discover how Gemtree Wines have achieved harmony with their natural environment using regenerative, organic and biodynamic practices on the Being Biodynamic Tour. Venture down to the biodynamic hut and learn how nature and the moon play an integral role in creating Gemtree Wines, then sit down for a cheese-paired wine tasting.
6. Penfolds Blend Your Own Wine, Barossa
If you’ve ever wanted to have your own wine label but aren’t sure about buying the whole winery – we’ve discovered the next best thing. Blend and bottle your very own drop at one of South Australia’s most prestigious wineries on Penfolds‘ Blend Your Own Wine Experience. Enter the winemaker’s laboratory where you’ll learn the principles of winemaking and blending. Taste some single varietal drops including Shiraz, Mataro and Grenache before concocting your own blend. You’ll get to bottle your creation and take it home.
7. The Tank at the Uraidla Hotel, Adelaide Hills
Descend into an underground liquid library where the walls are stacked high with wine. A new addition to the Uraidla Hotel, a 1900s watering tank has been transformed into a wine bunker filled to the brim with almost 4,000 bottles of wine primed for tastings. Around 70% of The Tank‘s wines are sourced from the surrounding Piccadilly wine region, with the rest carefully curated by sommelier Owen Colin. You’ll find some of Australia’s most coveted (and pricey) drops to taste alongside hyper-local, affordable wines.
IT’S WINE TIME IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Still thirsty? It’s always wine time in South Australia! Drink on with our guide to the best hidden cellar doors, where to rosé all day, discover family-friendly wineries in South Australia or find wine events near you this weekend.