We’ve done the legwork so you can pick and choose the wineries to suit you.
Artisans of Barossa
With views that stretch across the valley floor, an extensive tasting list from six producers and an on-site restaurant, Harvest Kitchen, co-helmed by Tracy Collins of MasterChef fame, it’s no wonder Artisans of Barossa gets a lot of airplay. It’s deserved, though, and weekends here are often pumping. Stand at the bar to sample vinos from Hobbs, John Duval Wines, Massena, Schwarz Wine Co., Sons of Eden and Spinifex or upgrade to a premium tasting for $15 (redeemable with purchase) conducted in a separate lounge and try the top drop from each winemaker. Local potters and jewellers sell their wares in the small adjoining gallery space.
Corner Light Pass and Magnolia Roads, Tanunda
Ballycroft Vineyard and Cellars
Ballycroft Vineyard and Cellars is the passion project of Joe Evans, a New Zealander who came to the Barossa in the ’90s and fell in love… with Sue (now his wife) and the region’s wines. Diminutive and animated, Joe is a trained horticulturist so he knows his stuff and he makes wine he likes to drink: big, bold, brave reds. The fruit comes almost exclusively from his 15-acre property in Greenock, tastings are held in a glorified shed and Joe produces less than 500 cases a year – but you’ll learn oodles about vines, wines and the region. Tasting sessions are by appointment only and Joe will serve up an array of local goodies as part of the deal (the bacon jam made by his neighbours is to die for). In theory it’s a 45-minute appointment but keep in mind Joe loves a chat so it’s not unheard-of to be here for well over an hour.
By appointment only
Trevor Harch of Brockenchack is a warm, garrulous fellow; a Queenslander who, in 2007, after spending the bulk of his career in commercial construction, bought a vineyard in the Barossa with plans to create his own wine. He named his label using letters from the names of his grandchildren. Although family is a big influence here for Trevor, this is no hobby operation. He employs two highly regarded winemakers, Shawn Kalleske and Joanne Irvine, and his winery has already earned a five-star rating from James Halliday. A visit to the Barossa winery includes a 4WD golf buggy ride through 40 acres of vines with Trevor and the chance to try out his zip line – both the flying fox he installed and the wine he named in its honour.
351 Sawpit Gully Road, Keyneton
Charles Melton Wines
Surrounded by picturesque vines, the Charles Melton cellar door is a delightful stop on the Barossa wine trail. Tastings are held at a communal table crafted from recycled fence wood by the winemaker, “Charlie” (real name Graeme Melton but known to all and sundry by this moniker). A chalkboard announces what’s available for tastings but bear in mind red (and rosé) is the name of the game here because that’s what Charles Melton makes. Feeling peckish? Opt for the tasting lunch on the pleasant verandah; the set-price menu includes gourmet pies and tarts with a wine flight and a bottle of wine from the Family Series per couple. The on-site kirche (church), built in the 1860s, is now a renovated B&B so you can also stay here.
Krondorf Road, Tanunda
Established in 1890, the imposing and elegant Château Tanunda was a winery and then also the Commonwealth’s largest brandy bond store but by the 1990s it had fallen into disrepair. Since businessman John Geber bought it in 1998, investment has amplified, the winery has flourished and the property has been restored to its former glory, complete with its own a croquet lawn. If you want to taste the premium end, pay $25 (redeemable with purchase) for a sample of five wines, including those from 50-year-old and 100-year-old vines and The Everest range. Cheese and ploughman’s platters are also available.
9 Basedow Road, Tanunda
First Drop Wines Home of the Brave Wine & Tapas Room
This quirky shack next to Penfolds, in Nuriootpa, is a converted 1930s still house. As the cellar door of First Drop Wines, it has been open for just under a year and is already making waves. It’s the creation of Matt Gant and John Retsas, two maverick wine guys who clearly have an eye for the eccentric, cool and absurd. This is a great spot to spend an afternoon – outside are awnings, planter boxes and super-grass while inside it’s all retro-hipster furnishings. A $5 tasting fee gets you a four-wine flight of the food-driven vinos; if you want to try four more, just pay another fiver. There are also wines by the glass and tasty tapas bites to savour.
30-38 Barossa Valley Way, Nuriootpa
Being a titan of the region, it has to be said that Henschke runs a rather abbreviated cellar door opening on weekends: Saturdays only, 9am to 12 noon. But, given it remains a family-owned and relatively smaller producer, I think we can forgive them. The top tip? Come here first: that 9am opening time is a good hour before most other cellar doors open. (On weekdays it’s a similar story, with the cellar door opening from 9am to 4.30pm.) Inside you’ll find the place steeped in history and heritage. Apparently, Cyril Henschke (fourth-generation winemaker and father of current winemaker Stephen) would do his lab work out the back of this room in the 1950s and ’60s. When people visited to taste, he’d call out to them to help themselves and he’d be with them shortly. You can’t quite pour your own any more but it’s a treat to sample from the Henschke range. A word, though: if you want to taste the icons (Mount Edelstone, Cyril Henschke, Hill of Roses or Hill of Grace) you need to pre-book the VIP Tour and Tasting, which runs Thursday and Friday at 10am and 2pm and Saturday at 10am.
1428 Keyneton Road, Keyneton
Even if you’re not partaking in the four- or seven-course degustation at the celebrated on-site restaurant, it’s worth coming here to sample the award-winning Hentley Farm wines. As you turn off Gerald Roberts Road, pause a moment to admire the view: the road is elevated above the farm, offering a sweeping view of this corner of the valley. Tastings are complimentary (or $10 per person, redeemable with purchase, for groups of 10 or more) and are conducted in an old stone house built in the 1840s. Jack, the resident canine, is an enthusiastic greeter of all visitors and will even bark farewell as you leave.
Corner Gerald Roberts and Jenke Roads, Seppeltsfield
It may not be the wine you’d bring to an oenophile’s house party but Jacob’s Creek still has a pretty impressive pedigree. One of Australia’s most successful brands, it has built a visitor centre at its home in the Barossa that pays homage to the region and its suitability for vineyards. A walk around the complex and grounds is both informative and interesting. There’s a restaurant on site and you can taste some exclusive wines not available elsewhere.
Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat
At Kalleske, in the heart of Greenock, you’ll find a strong offering of shiraz and grenache alongside lighter styles such as zinfandel and tempranillo. There’s also a chenin blanc and a rosé for those who prefer the whiter end of the wine spectrum. The wines are all organic and biodynamic and there’s no charge for wine tastings. The cellar door is small and charming and serves platters featuring regional produce from the likes of Maggie Beer, The Barossa Valley Cheese Company and Linke’s Central Meat Store in Nuriootpa. Alternatively, opt for the $15 Kalleske Tasting Experience where six wines are matched with local produce.
6 Murray Street, Greenock
With one of the Barossa’s most extensive tasting lists (more than 40 wines), it’s no surprise that Peter Lehmann is a hotspot on the wine trail. Don’t attempt to try all that’s on offer; instead, pick and choose depending on your palate. The famed Weighbridge Platter is available if you’re famished (and you have a friend to share it with). Outside are inviting gardens and sprawling lawns with picnic tables – ideal for families and groups. In winter an open fire roars in the lounge and there are couches to kick back on. Most tastings are complimentary (or $5 per person for groups of 10 or more; $20 per person for private tastings of the Masters and Stonewell ranges).
Para Road, Tanunda
The 32-year-old Rockford winery crafts hand-picked, handmade offerings, many of which enjoy cult status (think Basket Press Shiraz and Alicante Bouchet rosé.) A note to punters: time your visit during vintage. The working winery is right outside the cellar door so you’ll see grapes being forked off trucks into the vintage Bagshaw crusher and vibrant juice pumping into open fermenting tanks. A remarkable experience.
131 Krondorf Road, Tanunda
Just off Seppeltsfield Road is the home of Rolf Binder, a 60-year-old business formerly named Veritas. Rolf the elder, founder of the winery, passed away in 2003 and Rolf the younger and his sister, Christa, have taken the helm as custodians and winemakers. At the large cellar door, which is flanked by pretty gardens, hearty fare is available (Hungarian-style platters – a tribute to the family’s heritage – and pizzas) and there’s a play area for the littlies. The must-try is the powerhouse shiraz mataro, Bulls Blood.
Corner Seppeltsfield and Stelzer Roads, Tanunda
After a multimillion dollar makeover in 2014, Seppeltsfield is enjoying new-found cool: the tasting room is lively and airy; the adjoining Fino is the happening restaurant of the area; and there’s a chic outpost of Adelaide’s JamFactory here, where you can peruse the creations of glass, ceramic and metal artisans in a gallery-like setting. The whole complex centres on a sun-filled terraced courtyard and water fountain rimmed with large palm trees. Quirky fact: there are more than 2000 palm trees in this part of the Barossa, all thanks to the Seppelt family who, during the Depression when wine production slowed dramatically, kept workers on staff by having them beautify the property with palms instead of growing grapes.
730 Seppeltsfield Road, Seppeltsfield
Wayne Ahrens of Smallfry is a laid-back kind of guy. He opens his cellar door on Saturday when he gets back from the Barossa Farmers Market, usually around midday. But as to when he closes, it’s not entirely clear – just when he no longer feels like being open. But that’s kind of fair, given tastings of his organic and biodynamic wines are conducted in the front room of his home, an old bank building in the main street of Angaston. If you prefer to taste at another time, just email to make an appointment. Out the back is a large stone verandah where Wayne will happily cater for groups (the fare is Mediterranean in style – think paella, tapas and pizza). There’s a peahen in the garden but, although the peacock is no longer, he’s still with Smallfry in spirit as the graphic on several of the wine labels. Open Saturday from approximately 12 noon to 4pm or by appointment.
13 Murray Street, Angaston
Taste Eden Valley
The focus here is on – you guessed it – Eden Valley. There are 12 wineries in the portfolio, all passionate small-scale producers. The tasting list changes week to week and might include zinfandel, pinot gris, merlot, shiraz, grenache and grüner veltliner. Whatever the selection, expect a few rieslings on offer – after all, that’s what Eden Valley is famous for. The hippest one has to be Not Your Grandma’s Riesling from Chaffey Bros. Wine Co. – the name says it all. Other labels include Brockenchack Wines, Forbes & Forbes, Dandelion Vineyards, Irvine Wines, Radford Wines and Hartz Barn Wines. And, if you don’t get to Henschke’s own cellar door while in the Barossa, you can usually taste one or two of its wines here. Tastings cost $5 (redeemable with purchase).
6-8 Washington Street, Angaston
Off a dirt road, surrounded by vines and olive trees, Torbreck winery offers tastings in a small stone cottage over an antique wooden grain store. Pay a fiver (redeemable with purchase) and you can sample from a red-heavy list of about 20 wines – The Steading grenache mataro shiraz and RunRig shiraz viognier are good bets. If you’re very lucky, they might just have a bottle of their famed shiraz, The Laird, open for sampling.
Lot 51, Roennfeldt Road, Marananga
In Marananga, in a sweet German-style cottage overlooking manicured gardens and fields of vines, you’ll find the tasting room of Damien Tscharke’s dynamic, textural vinos. Book ahead for the Bread and Wine Experience ($15 per person) and you’ll get to banter with the maker himself in his atmospheric “cave” twinkling with fairy lights, downstairs from the public tasting room. Virtually adjacent to the cottage, Damien has crafted a remarkable underground barrel store that’s designed to work with no refrigeration or heating yet is cool and humid enough to store and age wine. It’s a testament to his green principles and passion for sustainability. Chances are, in time he’ll conduct tastings down here, too. Before you leave, don’t miss the sculptural pottery of Damien’s talented wife, Eva, on the mezzanine level of the tasting room.
376 Seppeltsfield Road, Marananga
Step into the cool, polished air at Two Hands for a lesson in the diversity of Australian shiraz. Red-lovers should aim to spend at least 45 minutes here as part of a structured tasting. Impressively, the winery has several charitable initiatives on the go, including giving the $5 tasting fee to the Uganda Project, which raises funds to aid the two-million-plus orphans living in that country.
273 Neldner Road, Marananga
Yelland & Papps
Susan Yelland and Michael Papps are not your average winemaking pair. Michael hails from Adelaide and Susan is from the Yorke Peninsula and, unusually for this area, neither of them has winemaking, grapegrowing or viticulture in the blood. Instead, theirs is a passion of choice. Alongside their snappy, quaffable wines you’ll find a selection of local produce: eggs from their own hens, the occasional pot of jam, and lentils and chickpeas grown by a farmer in Susan’s home town, Kadina. The tasting bar is actually the side boards of a 1927 Chevy truck, the tables are laid with gingham cloths, plants are potted in jam jars and steel drums, and inside there’s chalkboard art. Yes, it’s a bit hipster but without any attitude. Tasting here is both charming and unique. Nab a beanbag on the lawn, order the indulgent “YP picnic platter” to nibble on and savour wines by the glass once the tasting is done. Kids will no doubt enjoy the on-site trampoline and the swinging tyre hung from a large tree in the car park.
279 Nuraip Road, Nuriootpa