The Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s famous and oldest wine regions, hosting some of the country’s most renowned wineries. Just an hour’s drive northeast from the city of Adelaide, the Barossa Valley has a history that dates back to the 1800’s where German migrants settled in the valley.
Best known for the production of shiraz with some vines dating almost 150 years old, the Barossa Valley has produced some of the best full-bodied Shiraz lending itself to rich notes of chocolate and spices. It has also expanded into additional grape varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Riesling, Semillon, and Grenache.
With its picturesque landscape and extraordinary culinary offerings, the Barossa Valley is a beautiful day trip escape from the city. You can choose to self-drive from Adelaide up to Barossa Valley, or join a Barossa Valley wine tour that arranges the whole thing for you. Whatever your pick, there’s plenty of quality Barossa Valley wineries to visit, plus a few other attractions along the way.
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Jacob’s Creek Winery
In the small town of Rowland Flat in South Australia, and a young gentleman by the name of William Jacob settled in a small cottage on the banks of a creek in 1940. He would later be the inspiration behind the name of Jacob’s creek, which then lent its name to the Jacob’s Creek winery.
And it was in 1847 where Johann Gramp would arrive to Jacob’s Creek and plant the first vines, cuttings he brought from Europe on 30-hectares of land. By 1850 the first barrel of wine was produced, and the winery would then become Barossa’s first commercial vineyard. By 1912, Johann Gramp’s family would lead the business to flourish where it was incorporated as G. Gramps & Sons. Then eventually by the mid-1970’s, the wine business became known as Jacob’s Creek.
Today Jacob’s Creek Wines has now grown tremendously stretching across the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, and Coonawarra all in the heart of South Australia. The label itself has become internationally renowned, and its vineyards attracts visitors from across the globe every single day.
To visit the Jacob’s Creek Winery is to be part of a piece of Australian history – to savour in a moment in a place where Gramp once enjoyed his fruits of labour at the banks of the Jacob’s Creek in the heart of Barossa Valley. This is one of the region’s most celebrated wineries, and today Jacob’s Creek Winery is committed to sustainability, recycling all of its water, and protecting the Jacob’s creek and its native species. And do give their double barrel Shiraz a try – it’s first aged in a French and American oak barrel, then finished in aged whisky barrels.
At the cellar door, it’s free tasting for 4 wines, or if you can savor 12 wines for just $5. And why not enjoy a glass of Jacob’s Creek wine sitting outside overlooking the beautiful winery.
Founded in 1844 by Christopher Rawson Penfold, the Penfolds winery is one of Australia’s oldest wineries that today has become part of the Treasury Wine Estates. Originally stretching across 500 hectares, the Magill Estate was established at the foot of the Mount Lofty Ranges, just 15 minutes from the city of Adelaide. The first vines planted were French grape vines which had been brought from England.
By the 1880’s, vines were planted in the Barossa Valley, starting with the Kalimna Block 42, which are today known as the oldest producing cabernet sauvignon vines. Overtime, Pendfolds stretched to Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, and Eden Valley all in the wine region of South Australia. They also began working with independent growers, sourcing grapes to produce their wines.
The Penfolds cellar door at the Barossa Valley has been delivering wine lovers access to an extensive range of wines, luscious tastings, and idyllic vineyard views. While treating visitors to pours of favourite vintages, the winery also offers a special Make Your Own Blend Tour for just $85 per person, that affords the age-old orchard the air of something contemporary. After seeing what the grounds have to offer and treating yourself to the Cellar Door, you can enter the winemaker’s laboratory and have your way with popular grapes such as Grenache and Shiraz to concoct your own wine and grab a bottle of it home.
Built in the late 1880’s is the icon of the Barossa Valley, Château Tanunda, which today has become Australia’s largest and oldest wine Château. Home to some of the earliest vines, the majestic bluestone winery and estate stand proof of the history and pioneering spirit of Australia’s prominent wine region. It’s also a place where famous winemakers once worked the land before establishing their own wineries.
Between 1916 and 1998, the Château was owned by the Seppelt family, and in 1998, John Geber and his wife Evelyn purchased the Château where they took up the challenge to revitalise the Château and restore it back to is historical glory.
Château Tanunda produces single estate grapes that are a yellowish color, creating wines that are perfectly paired with stews, curries, and heavier foods. Its multiple estate grapes produce wines that are better for BBQ meats because of their fruitier flavours with aromas of forest berries.
Wine tastings at the door are generally free to try, however for a taste of the Château’s more exclusive drops, it is $25 for a flight of 5. Alternatively, if you arrive before 11:30am, you can join their daily tour of the estate for just $19 per person. Wines from Château Tanunda are only available at the cellar door or can be purchased online.
Yalumba was built in 1849 using Angaston marble, and it is still owned by the original family. The winery which has been handed down from generation to generation, now has an admin building, up from the main building where wine used to be produced. The yards have higher altitude, so the grapes are harvested a bit later than what is obtainable in the other Barossa Valley wineries.
Considered the Eden valley in terms of grape growing, Yalumba has privileged access to some of the oldest vines in Australia. Having taken the opportunity seriously, it has established an Old Wine Charter dedicated to the recognition, preservation, and promotion of these beauteous vineyards.
Give the Yalumba Viognier a go, they were the first family to bring this grape variety into Australia. Yalumba’s viognier is a complex white variety that is full of flavors included apricot, ginger, and white peach. Or try their Eden Valley Roussanne part of Samuel’s Collection, a delicate and textual wine that uses 100% roussanne, unlike other roussanne wines which are usually blended with other varietals.
Barossa Valley Brewing
If you have had too much wine and are looking to taste something of a different nature, then there’s beer waiting for you at Barossa Valley Brewing.
Having chosen the Barossa Valley because of its adherence to quality and its culture of experimentation, the passionate craft brewers offer a beer experience that promises to change the way you relate with green bottles. The Barossa Valley Brewing, opens by noon daily, works with the best and freshest ingredients – Barossa-roasted coffee beans, locally-smoked malt, local-picked cherries or lemongrass tended by Barossan producers.
Enjoy the gold medal-winning Hop Haven with one of the brew’s delicate pizza or sip some coffee and chocolate stout while tuning your ears to some live music. The handcrafted drinks can be tasted for $18 per 6 beers.
Maggie Beer Farm Shop
No visit to the Barossa Valley would be complete without a visit to the Maggie Beer Farm Shop. Maggie Beer is a famous Australian chef, that has become synonymous with the Barossa Valley.
Every day at 2pm, the Maggie Beer Farm Shop host a “Verjuice Cooking Demonstration” where you might also get a chance to meet infamous Maggie Beer herself and offer yourself to help out with the demo. Verjuice is unfermented unripe grape juice, which is not wine, but juice used for cooking.
You can also make your rounds in the farm shop and sample all the delicious Barossa Valley made products including fruit pastes, preserves, vinaigrettes, and pates. Once you’ve found your calling, enjoy some light food on the deck overlooking the beautiful Barossa Valley nature that sounds the Maggie Beer Farm Shop.
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