Acclaimed, yes. But rest on its laurels? Not a chance. The Barossa Valley continues to entice. Here’s the ideal itinerary for 49 hours (or a weekend getaway) including where to stay, what to do and the best places to eat and drink.
The wine has been flowing in the Barossa Valley, just an hour’s drive north-east of Adelaide, for almost 180 years. But tradition shares the floor with innovation in Australia’s most hallowed wine region as seventh-generation growers and winemakers introduce new ideas. Spend a weekend exploring the latest additions, including luxury accommodation in a French-style farmhouse and a vineyard where the soil is as important as the types of grapes produced.
Drive down an avenue of manicured plane trees past century-old grenache vines and you’ll discover a slice of southern France in the middle of the valley floor at Rowland Flat. Modelled on a classic Provençal farmhouse, Le Mas, a boutique homestead of four suites, strikes an elegant and understated balance.
French armoires, silk curtains and objets d’art decorate each room and an airy conservatory houses the guests-only restaurant, The Orangerie. Take in the evening breeze outside with a bottle from a wine list that leans heavily on the Barossa but leaves room for champagne, too. Then savour hearty traditional fare such as moules-frites, escargots and coq au vin prepared by matriarch Marie-France, who makes liberal use of a well-tended vegetable patch.
Relax in the shade of the large gums lining the Para River or take a dip in the heated mineral pool tucked behind the small onsite vineyard. And when it’s time to explore further afield, grab one of the property’s teal e-bikes and visit some of the nearby wineries or have the owners take you for a spin in their restored Citroën 2CV.
On the undulating slopes of the valley’s western side at Greenock, Alkina zooms in on terroir, prioritising soil over varietal. Explore the influence of schist, clay and limestone on the minimal-intervention wines at the gorgeous new cellar door overlooking blocks with names including The Maze, Spice Garden and Old Quarter.
Just outside Tanunda at St Hallett, the focus is on the region’s most famous grape. Down a rose-lined avenue, the cellar door pours bold shiraz from the Barossa floor, distinctive single-vineyard expressions and a soft, elegant syrah from neighbouring Eden Valley; try the wines together during the Shiraz Masters tasting.
It’s worth planning ahead for Eperosa, which is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. Visitors to the small off-grid winery near Krondorf are likely to be greeted by 2021 Halliday Wine Companion winemaker of the year Brett Grocke, who uses organic fruit from hand-tended vineyards to create memorably complex (mostly red) wines.
The hangover-busting South American breakfasts and Friday pizza nights at El Estanco are a firm favourite with locals across the valley. And with the Greenock eatery’s recent move to more spacious premises, there’s plenty of room for everyone. The addition of an in-house coffee roaster guarantees those breakfasts now have even more kick.
There’s always a hum of conversation at Lou’s Place, a new restaurant at Lou Miranda Estate, Rowland Flat, housed in a welcoming cellar door furnished with salvaged timber. The “feed-me” menus of fresh pasta and generous share plates accompanied by the winery’s Italian-style drops bring a touch of the Mediterranean to the region.
Appellation in Marananga has long been one of the Barossa’s leading fine-dining destinations but sister venue Three75 offers a more casual experience using the same produce (and wine cellar) as its luxe sibling. This kitchen is the place for flavoursome comfort food such as fish burgers and tender slow-cooked barbecue short rib.
The early Lutheran settlers in the Barossa prided themselves on self-sufficiency and their spirit lives on at Seppeltsfield Estate. Artisans at Jam Factory studios pursue traditional crafts such as knife making, millinery and leatherwork, while Vasse Virgin uses local olive oil to make a range of skincare products in the old vinegar factory. Breathe in the soothing scents of lavender, bergamot and cedarwood then blend your own fragrance using plant-based essential oils, make lip balm from food-grade natural ingredients or embark on an olive oil masterclass comparing local oils with those from further afield.
SEE ALSO: Your Ultimate Wine Weekend in Coonawarra
Image credits: Thomas Schaefer, Josie Withers