Two iconic wine regions, beach time, biking and a little retail therapy: this itinerary has it all.
Adelaide is an ideal base for wine lovers as it’s smack bang in the middle of some of the finest wine country in Australia. This weekend getaway takes in two Paragon Wine Estates wineries in McLaren Vale, just a brief drive south, and one winery in the Barossa to the north of the city. En route, there are rail trails and hikes, pretty villages and beaches to enjoy.
Discover incredible places to drink and dine around Adelaide. (Image: Meaghan Coles)
8.00am: Arrive at Adelaide airport early on Saturday morning because there’s lots to do, see, taste and savour on this gourmet weekend getaway. Pick up your hire car and head south to the Saturday morning Willunga Farmers Market (about a 45-minute drive) in McLaren Vale. It’s the oldest farmers market in South Australia and is jam-packed with goodies from local farms and producers. Think baked goods and freshly roasted coffee, cheeses and tomatoes, olives and olive oils, almonds and local honey – all of which contribute to the ideal picnic hamper. Be sure to fill up a cooler bag of produce, ready for dinner.
Stock up at Willunga Farmers Market. (Image: Karen Walker Photography)
10.00am: Head into the town of McLaren Vale where you’ll find the Shingleback Wine tasting room in the barn of one of the region’s original farms. First built in the 1800s, last year’s restoration retained the rustic heritage while adding a sleek touch of modern refinement.
Enjoy the lovingly restored decor.
As for the wine, Shingleback has a long pedigree of excellence with their iconic wines, winning the 2006 Jimmy Watson Trophy and the 2017 Max Schubert Trophy. Choose between four different tasting flights: a selection of light, bright and aromatic wines (prosecco, fiano, rose, grenache and sparkling shiraz), a broad range of red wines (including shiraz grenache, tempranillo blend, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon), their top-shelf Icon Reds (focusing on shiraz and cabernet sauvignon) – or make it your own with a choose your own adventure selection of wines to taste.
Match your wine with a tasting plate of local pate, cheeses, cured meats, olives, almonds, bread, dukkha, and olive oil which you can enjoy with a side of sweeping views of the vineyard and surrounding hills as you dine on the wide, shaded verandah
Match your wine with a tasting plate,
1.00pm: It’s early afternoon and you have some choices to make. Perhaps rent a bicycle in town to ride the eight-kilometre section of the popular Shiraz Trail from McLaren Vale to Willunga, or go for a hike in the Onkaparinga River National Park.
Go for a hike in the Onkaparinga River National Park. (Image: Callum Jackson)
2.30pm: After stretching your legs, it’s time to visit one of McLaren Vale’s trailblazing wineries, Chapel Hill. Head straight to the cellar door for more than one reason: inside an 1865 ironstone chapel, it has an impressive stained-glass window with an equally impressive view overlooking the Onkaparinga Gorge. It was here, in the 1980s and 90s, pioneering female winemaker Pam Dunsford made Chapel Hill one of Australia’s most recognisable boutique wine brands.
Choose from a range of tasting experiences. (Image: Meaghan Coles)
Today, chief winemaker Michael Fragos and his team craft some of McLaren Vale’s classic shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, and white wines. You have a choice of tasting experiences, like the Shiraz Masterclass which offers five different shiraz styles where you taste how soil, vineyard site and winemaking choices influence what goes into your glass. Or, the Icons Tasting of five Chapel Hill flagship red wines accompanied by a platter of delicious local produce.
4.00pm: It’s just a short stroll to the gorgeous stone, wood-panelled and glass three-bedroom, three-bathroom Chapel Hill Guest House, which will be your home for the night.
Stay the night at Chapel Hill Guest House.
5.00 pm: Cook your own dinner from your haul at the Willunga Farmers Market in the fully equipped kitchen, or drive 20 minutes down to the beach at Port Willunga. Here, you’ll have time for a swim in the calm aquamarine waters and a stroll along the sandy shore before dinner at The Star of Greece, with one of the best restaurant views in Australia.
Enjoy a picnic at Port Willunga beach. (Image: Trent John Martin)
9.00am: It’s a one-and-a-half-hour drive through the pretty, undulating country to Barossa Valley.
10.30am: Stop for excellent coffee at Darling’s Food With Passion Cafe in the thriving little township of Tanunda. Once fuelled up, indulge in a little retail therapy in what has affectionately been named the Tanunda Style Mile. Shop for homewares at Living by Design, Sage Homewares and Ironstone Cottage and carefully curated fashion at Alabaster Store and Primp Style Co.
12.00pm: Now it’s time for some serious wine tasting nearby. Step through a small door in the bluestone facade of an 1800s flour mill and discover the inextricably linked history and contemporary luxury of Krondorf Wines cellar door. This important piece of Barossa history was renovated in 2021 to create an inner-city wine bar vibe.
Step through a small door to an 1800s flour mill.
Discover how Krondorf became a cult brand in the 1970s and 80s when trailblazing winemaker Grant Burge was at the helm. In 1980, it won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy and the bottle is on display at the cellar door. Krondorf has been awarded over 300 wine show medals, an International Wine Challenge trophy, and the James Halliday Grenache Challenge. Today, chief winemaker Nick Badrice is busy crafting the winery’s latest masterpieces.
Try Krondorf’s range of wine-tasting flights or join a master class.
What’s most exciting is that your tastebuds can take a journey through the Barossa with Krondorf’s range of wine-tasting flights. For the piece de resistance, the Grand Icon Masterclass offers insights into the intricate winemaking techniques that go into Krondorf’s finest wines while also giving a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the Barossa Valley. These exceptional wines, including the velvety 2019 King’s Mantle, are matched with a local Barossan charcuterie plate.
1.30pm: Head to FermentAsian, located just down the road in a pretty stone house with a deck, to enjoy a delicious lunch of Southeast Asian food crafted from homegrown produce.
3.00 pm: All good things must end, and with stomachs full and palates satisfied, take the hour’s drive back to the airport.