South Australia’s Barossa Valley is home to countless vineyards and cellar doors. The region specializes in rich red wines such as shiraz, but it also produces fortified wine.
It’s also famous for its old vines, which are celebrated during the annual Barossa Vintage Festival. A local legend, Peter Lehmann, saved the Barossa’s wine industry by buying grapes from struggling growers.
The Barossa Valley is renowned for Shiraz wines (or Syrah in Europe) that are powerful and full-bodied. Though other deep reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, do well in the region as well, it’s the opulent, flavorful Shiraz wines that give the Barossa its reputation.
These are typically very full-bodied wines, with significant fruit flavors and aromas of blackberry, raisin, spice and mocha, and a touch of dried herbs. The tannins are generally grippy but fine-grained, rather than harsh or chapping. These wines have a reputation for ageing well and pair well with beef dishes such as rib eye steak.
Shiraz is Australia’s most planted grape variety, and some of the world’s most acclaimed examples are produced in the Barossa Valley. A few famous names to look out for include Henschke, Hill of Grace, Torbreck and Penfolds Grange.
Many wineries in the Barossa Valley are family-run, and the people who work here love to share their passion for the region’s delicious produce with visitors. They often offer an array of tasting and food pairings, and are happy to answer questions about the history and production methods used at their cellar doors.
A few of the best wineries in the area also operate cafes and restaurants, where you can sit down for a delicious meal while sampling their wines. You’ll find a great selection of gourmet foods, including cheese, bread, and chocolates at several locations around the valley.
The fertile land surrounding the Barossa Valley also provides a bounty of mouth-watering produce all year round. The Saturday morning Barossa Farmers Market is a popular place to browse for local fruits and vegetables, artisan oils and other products made from the region’s abundant soil.
The picturesque Menglers Hill Lookout is a great spot to admire the Barossa Valley. You can take in the stunning view of the surrounding countryside, or even enjoy a picnic on the grass. The view is particularly impressive during sunset or when there’s a cool breeze blowing through the vineyards.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon
The Barossa is primarily known for its red wines, with Shiraz making up the majority of the region’s production. However, Cabernet Sauvignon, with its big, berry flavors and often spicy aromas, is also well-suited to the climate and soils of the area. While not as famous as its sister variety, there are a good number of fine examples of the wine produced in the Barossa Valley.
The grape is typically sourced from the cooler west side of the valley, where several of the area’s most renowned single vineyards can be found. The fruit from these vines is used in Penfolds Grange and in many top-quality concentrated bottlings from the likes of Henschke, Peter Lehmann, Rockford Basket Press, and St Hallett.
Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the Barossa are generally rich and intense, with long aging potential. However, some producers are working to make more elegant styles of the wine, while still maintaining its trademark intensity. These styles can often be found in blends with a high proportion of Shiraz or other varieties.
While a visit to the Barossa Valley is largely about the wine, there are a number of other things to do as well. There are plenty of luxury cottages, hotels, bed and breakfasts, Airbnb’s, and caravan parks available in the area. When choosing a place to stay, keep in mind that the area is heavily policed for drink-drivers and that driving while under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in South Australia.
Visitors can also enjoy a unique experience by taking a Segway tour around the Seppeltsfield Winery estate. This is an excellent way to see the vineyards and get a different perspective of the area. The Whispering Wall is another must-see attraction. This unusually shaped wall creates the effect that two people standing at opposite ends of the wall can talk to one another with a whisper.
There are a number of great food and wine events held in the Barossa throughout the year, including the Barossa Gourmet Weekend. In addition, the Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Markets on Saturdays at the Showgrounds showcase Barossa produce as well as other Adelaide Hills products.
The sultry, sun-soaked Barossa Valley is known for big red wines, particularly Shiraz and GSM blends. It’s a region where deep reds are the norm, with some whites (Riesling and Chardonnay) also grown in the vineyards, but for wine lovers, a trip to the Barossa is all about the wines, especially the classic Shiraz!
In addition to the wines, there are plenty of foodie and sightseeing highlights in the region. The main towns of Nuriootpa, Tanunda, and Angaston are charming and worth visiting, while lovers of kitchen goodies will love Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. If you want to take in the views over the whole region, head for Menglers Hill Lookout. It’s a great spot to see the Barossa from above, and there are also some large sculptures in the park that you can walk through too.
Another must-do is the Barossa Farmers Market, which opens every Saturday morning in Angaston’s Vintner’s Shed. It’s a great place to pick up local fruits and vegetables, meats, smallgoods, honey, artisanal oils, and much more. You can even get a delicious breakfast burger here, so it’s well worth stopping in for!
A visit to the Barossa Valley is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in South Australian culture and experience the true spirit of the region. The community here loves to celebrate and showcase their local produce, with parades and gourmet events happening throughout the year. It’s also a very family-friendly destination, with a lot of restaurants catering to children too. The region has a lot to offer for those who like to mix it up with some fun activities, and the famous vintage festival held in April is a great time to visit.
In recent years the Barossa Valley has seen a resurgence in interest for blend wines. These blends often feature Shiraz with Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache grapes from within the region. They are known for their intense fruity flavors and their ability to develop over time in the cellar.
South Australia’s climatic conditions make it perfect for the cultivation of many different grape varieties. Its long, hot growing season is ideal for ripening the country’s flagship red wine, Shiraz, while it also offers perfect conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that has become a staple of the world’s finest wines. Other popular red varieties include Grenache and Mataro (Mourvedre).
The vineyards of the Barossa Valley are famous for their high concentration of very old vines. These old vines are often proudly displayed on the winery labels and during vineyard tours. They are able to produce low yields of intensely flavorful grapes that can be blended into some of the most sought after wines in the world.
Some of the more modern winemakers in the Barossa Valley are experimenting with new techniques and styles, as well as pushing the boundaries on existing ones. The result is a range of wines that are sure to delight both the most traditional and most adventurous palates.
A number of the world’s best wineries are located in the Barossa Valley, including iconic names such as Grange and Hill of Grace. The region is also home to smaller, boutique winery labels that focus on specific wine styles and lesser-known grape varieties. The combination of luxurious winery brands, a world class terroir and the winemakers’ desire to challenge expectations is what makes the Barossa Valley one of Australia’s most renowned wine regions.
The Barossa Valley is a short drive from Adelaide Airport (ADL); both international and domestic flights land here regularly. Car hire is available at the airport, as are a range of tours and transfer options. The Barossa Valley is also accessible by train or bus from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Autumn is a great time to visit the region as the weather is warm but not too hot. It is also the peak time for harvest festivals and other special events.