Taste the Barossa

What better way to kick off winter than with a winery tour of the Barossa Valley! In Adelaide to support Flight Centre’s Travel Expo, a group of 4 of us decided to spend our Saturday wisely by partaking in some wine tasting and cheese eating. Taste the Barossa are ranked number 1 for their wine tours of the Barossa (on Trip Advisor) and with small groups of up to 20 passengers (we had 17) and a humorous guide it proved to be a great choice.

Hotel pick up was just after 9am, better than our 6.30am pick up the previous day for a different tour (that’s another story). With a coffee in hand we settled in to the mini bus and set off towards the North East along the Adelaide Hills before arriving on to the valley floor where grape vines could be seen for miles. It’s a very scenic drive and the distance didn’t feel too great (we’d been to Kangaroo Island the day prior with HUGE travelling distances, so this was nothing!). First stop was not actually a winery but an interesting pit stop non-the less. The Barossa Reservoir was built between 1899 and 1902 and is known as the whispering wall due to its acoustic effects.

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Chateau Yaldara near Lyndoch comprises of an exquisite collection of stone buildings set in beautiful gardens and was founded in 1947 by Hermann Thumm, after he immigrated to Australia from Europe. The main building is where tastings are held and there is also a well known and highly regarded riverside restaurant. Our tour offered a structured tasting of various Chateau Yaldara wines and the clear winner and first purchase was the Fortified Port, but my favourite was the sparkling. If you do spend up you can get the bottles shipped home to avoid having to cart them around. These guys were offering free shipping for us on 6 bottles or more. Not sure if we are just special or if this is a regular offering.

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From here we ventured further into the Barossa Valley stopping for a nice stroll through the main street of Tanunda, popping in to (and spending way to much time and money) Barossa’s Old Fashioned Sweet Shop. As the name suggests, it is a very old school lolly shop with childhood favourites from all around the world (Kiwi fav’s pineapple lumps and chocolate fish bought back some fond memories for me).

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Peter Lehmann Wines is just up from the main street in Tanunda and ur next tasting stop and lunch venue. An old stone winery building dating back to the 1880’s greets us, with a cosy fireplace to sit beside, shiraz in hand, private tasting rooms and function rooms. After some delicious tastings and a little about the history and impact Peter Lehmann had on the wine industry here in the early days, it was lunch time. We had a long table laid out with share platters of local cheeses, olives, breads, chutneys and pastes… yum. I polished off my first sparkling shiraz (I am a sparkling drinker but not a red fan… combine the both and it’s magic!) while gazing out of the windows through the red leaved wines on the veranda to the huge gum trees in the gardens.

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Reluctantly we got up with our full bellies, and wondered up the drive, right through some rusty gates and along a garden path past some vines to the neighbouring Langmeil Winery. (I’ve since heard many rave reviews for this winery, it’s a clear favourite). Passing some more historic stone buildings, of a smaller scale than Yaldara, we arrived for our first unstructured tasting in a small cosy room warmed by a fireplace. We chose the wines we wanted to try – I went with the sparkling shiraz (yep defs a new fav) and rose. Both delicious!  Another group who were doing some tastings took their purchases outside and set up a picnic on the grass in the sun with all the good things. Such a great idea… we were going to invite ourselves to join them, however it was time to move on to our last winery visit of the day.

The smaller boutique winery, Lindsay Wine Estate, is run by two blokes who’d both worked years ago at this winery and came together to purchase it when it came up for sale many years later. The winery is named after the Australian artist Sir Lionel Lindsay, whose artwork appears on the wine bottle labels. The owner’s grandfather was a very close friend of Sir Lionel’s and avid collector of his work. A slightly hip winery, they had a drawer full of records and some tunes on the record player, while we enjoyed a loosely structured tasting. Three of us took the Summit Shiraz home with us… souvenirs for the hubbies, or ourselves.

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It was not far from this winery out to the highway which leads straight back to Adelaide (as opposed to the windy route we took on the way there), but first a photo / boomerang opportunity along the Canary Island date palm fringed roads around Seppeltsfield estate. SO funny. We had a great tour group and shared a lot of laughs as we tried to jump the right way at the same time for our boomerangs, in the middle of the road, in between cars driving past and wondering what on earth we were up to. We blame the wine. One last distraction with a (worryingly single man with a shovel on the roof of his 4wd) stopping to ask directions from our guide, who self admittedly gives the worlds worst directions. After taking 10 minutes to explain to him to just follow us and we’ll toot when you need to turn left we took off towards the city.

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It was a very easy and scenic drive along the highway with crisp afternoon light, the perfect end to a very enjoyable day for us all, and one we’d highly recommend to other visitors to Adelaide.

Written by Corina Adams, Product Manager Infinity Holidays

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