Australia's Best Cellar Doors 2017
Gourmet Traveller WINE this week announced the winners …
Nestled between the Mount Lofty Ranges and white sandy beaches, the picturesque region of McLaren Vale is just 40km south of Adelaide, making it the ideal destination for a weekend escape. The region is known for its rolling hills, a rugged coastline and charming villages and luckily for us is ideal for grape growing, famous for its intensely flavoured Shiraz as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Grenache.
As well as exceptional wine with many family-run boutique wineries, the region is known for its produce, which is on offer at its 110 wineries and 65 cellar doors, five-star retreats, quirky cafés and funky art galleries. Your weekend starts here...
We recommend arriving on Friday evening to make the most of your weekend. Stay at the luxurious Vineyard Retreat or Manor Estate, an old Georgian manor house, and eat at local favourite the Barn Bistro, offering high quality local seasonal fare and an exciting local wine list in charming surroundings or the Star of Greece in Port Willunga. Named after a shipwreck, Star of Greece guests will enjoy Mediterranean style of cuisine with plenty of seafood, meat and vegetarian options.
Rise early and head to Willunga Farmers Market in the Willunga Town Square, the first farmers market to be established in South Australia, and now one of the best with over 80 farmers and artisan food producers selling their fresh produce. Since 2002, the market has become the regional hub for the community and visitors to gather and buy fresh, local and seasonal produce in the McLaren Vale region.
From here you are just a short 10 minute drive to Wirra Wirra. McLaren Vale has been the home of Wirra Wirra since its establishment in 1894 and it is from here that Wirra Wirra crafts the majority of its superb red wine range. Wirra Wirra's hero wine, Church Block, is the largest selling red blend in its category in Australia.
At the historic cellar door, a range of exclusive wines are available for visitors only while at the relaxed onsite providore style cafe, Harry’s Deli, a menu full of South Australian regional produce is available. Take a tour of Trott’s Cellar, a stroll around the spacious gardens, find a spot to enjoy a regional platter or family BBQ or, take our advice and opt for a beyond the cellar door experience that will fully immerse you in the culture of Wirra Wirra.
Wirra Wirra’s most extensive tour gives visitors access to all of the attractions at Wirra Wirra including the famous medieval siege machine.
Start behind the scenes in the ironstone cellars, experience the competition of a Church Block blending class, then move next door to taste five of Wirra Wirra’s very best wines in a masterclass in Trott’s Cellar. By that time, you’ll be more than ready for a lunch of regional produce in the spacious gardens or ironstone cellars.
Round out your day by hurling watermelons from Wirra Wirra’s giant catapult.
After breakfast your next stop is the famous d'Arenberg. d'Arenberg's internationally recognised red striped range includes more than 60 wines made from over 30 varieties with styles that include white, red, fortified, sparkling red and dessert - all of which are available for tasting at cellar door. You will find the cellar door in a restored 19th century homestead overlooking McLaren Vale, the Willunga Hills and the Gulf St Vincent. Here, the ultimate adventure involves a scenic flight, wine blending and an eight course degustation.
Experience 1930’s nostalgia and open cockpit flying in a beautiful Waco biplane, soaring over the stunning McLaren Vale wine region and beaches for a breathtaking 30 minute flight.
Upon landing the thrill will continue at d’Arenberg winery for a hands on, interactive wine blending experience. You get to play winemaker, and then bottle, name and label a 750ml sample of your favourite blend to name and take home with you.
Following your blending session, indulge your taste buds at an eight course degustation in d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant, overlooking the rolling hills of McLaren Vale. This is a family favourite way of eating and an homage to the old adage ‘variety is the spice of life’. The resultant combination of flavours and textures created between the food & wine pairings makes for an experience that you will hold onto for years to come.
If energy and time permit, the beaches along the Fleurieu coastline make for an idyllic end to your McLaren Vale adventure. Take a stroll in the sand, or find a scenic spot to pause and reflect on a weekend well spent.