Barossa Valley is known to many as perhaps the most iconic South Australian Shiraz wine growing region. Appropriately so, as it is indeed home to the oldest still-producing Shiraz and Grenache vines in the world! Like its soil, the region’s history is layered, so much so that it will leave you asking for more. With soft rolling hills and vines for as far as the eye can see and a minimal number of inhabitants, the region offers a chance to recharge and relax while visiting. Listed below are some of my personal favorites from the region as well as the most requested estates by guests during my time as a sommelier in Australia. It is safe to say, any winery on this list will not disappoint a Winetraveler.

Getting to Barossa Valley

The best way to get to Barossa Valley is via Adelaide airport. This gives you a short hour drive to get to the Barossa Zone. It is best to rent a car to get around the region as public transport is minimal. Taxis are also readily available and can get to most places within the valley with about fifteen minutes notice. If you are flying internationally, you will have to arrive through the international airport first and then connect into Adelaide. Do yourself a favor and do not fly Jet Star. It is the budget airline of the region (similar to Spirit or Frontier for you US based readers) and is not worth the troubles.

Winetraveler Tip: Get Updates on Flight Deals as the Arise into Adelaide Airport

When mapping out the drive, it is worth the extra few minutes it takes to drive west through Adelaide Hills and north through Eden Valley to get there. Passing by countless vines and wineries on the way gives you a little extra anticipation and excitement for what’s to come. Part of the fun of traveling is spontaneity, if your schedule permits, leave a few hours of extra time to stop at an Adelaide Hills winery, like Ashton Hills along the drive, and kick off the trip with a tasting of bubbles, one of the regions specialties.

Once you have arrived in the region, there is a beautiful range of large-production well-known names and brands, as well as smaller family-owned estates where the owner/winemaker is at the helm of tasting room. The list below contains a combination of both to ensure there is a little something for everyone. One of the many great things about the region is that almost all Barossa cellar doors are “walk-in welcome” with no appointment needed unless the group is larger than six.

RELATED: An Overview of Australia’s Barossa Valley Wine Region

Where to Stay

There are no major hotel chains or really any large hotels in general in Barossa Valley. The lodging options are mostly bed and breakfasts with some wineries having a few rooms on property. It is possible stay in Adelaide where there are more hotel options available, but that would add an hour each way to your drive to the wineries. Our recommendation is to find a bed and breakfast that suits your needs. Tanunda is the center of Barossa with the main restaurants and several wineries within a few mile radius, making it a good jumping off point. Seppeltsfield and Nuriootpa are also nice options if you can find a place that suits your needs there.

What to Pack

Barossa Valley is considered a Mediterranean climate. The tumble weeds rolling past and yellow grass add to the understanding of how dry it really is. You will be hot, especially in the summer, so pack light clothing options. However, the saving grace for the vines in the hot climate is the large diurnal shift, the extreme change in temperature that allows the grapes to recoup after a full day of sun. So, while it could be in the 80s during the day, it can also go down to the 50s at night. That being said, pack layers.

Day 1: Barossa Valley

Torbreck

Big wines full of character and sense of place. Torbreck, who have been around since 1995, just recently built a new tasting room and are still in the process of completing the outdoor patio. The new tasting room is open and airy, with floor to ceiling windows and a great view of their vines. Their wines command a high price in the market, due to a series of high Robert Parker scores. If you are a fan of cult Napa Valley Cabs and are a bit skeptical of Barossa Shiraz, give the Laird a try. Other highlights include the Woodcutters Semillon and Les Amis Grenache.

  • Hours: Daily 10am – 5pm
  • Address: 348 Roennfeldt Rd, Marananga SA 5355, Australia
  • Phone: +61 885688123

Seppeltsfield

A great example of the early days of the wine industry of Australia. Seppeltsfield is one of the oldest wineries in Barossa valley, established in 1850. With that comes an immense amount of history. The estate has several of the original 1900’s structures, including the family home, on property and available to tour. The recent renovation to the cellar door includes a large restaurant named Fino; a new art center featuring locally made ceramics, artwork, and glass; and several incredible landscape features including an ornate fountain. When visiting, be sure to reserve extra time in your schedule to chat with the artists creating and displaying their products at Jam Factory.

If you’re feeling a little athletic, take a walk or bike ride (rentals available) around the surrounding land. It’s well worth the energy as the vistas are stunning and it will give you a chance to see their prized bush vined Terrace Vineyard. As far as the tasting goes, feel free to walk in for a complimentary tasting of their current vintage tawny and still wines at the standing cellar door or, with a booking in advance, visitors have the opportunity to experience several differ tour options including a private visit to the historic barrel museum and a chance to taste up to five different 100+ year old tawnies from the barrel.

  • Hours: Daily 10:30am – 5pm
  • Address: 730 Seppeltsfield Rd, Seppeltsfield SA 5355, Australia
  • Phone: +61 8 8568 6200

FINO at Seppeltsfield

  • Reservations must be booked in advance.
  • Hours: Open daily for lunch 12pm – 3pm
  • Dinner on Friday and Saturday 6pm – 8:30pm
  • Phone: +61 88562 8528

Tscharke

Great tasting room, very affordable wines. Tscharke offers a wide-range of wines at their complimentary tasting room. The tasting is hosted in a quaint house with creative fixtures, ceramics for sale, and a very relaxing outdoor sitting area. I would recommend this being your last stop of the day as their wines are not as taxing on your palate or pocket book. Thus, they may taste a little better after a few glasses.

Hours: Daily 10am – 5pm

Address: 376 Seppeltsfield Rd, Marananga SA 5355, Australia

Phone: +61 88652-4922

How To Spend 3 Days in Barossa Valley Australia

Day 2: A Day of Shiraz

Rockford

Old school Barossa Valley Shiraz. Rockford does not accept appointments and will have a line out the door for their tiny tasting room almost all-day. My tip is to arrive at the winery a few minutes before 11am to ensure a spot in the tasting room with minimal waiting. Rockford has a storied past as many great Barossa winemakers have started here. Their most famous wine, the Rockford Basket Press, is a Shiraz made in the traditional basket pressed technique and is beloved by many Australians. Most of Rockford’s production goes directly to wine club members and tasting room visitors. With such a high demand, and so little wine, their cellar door is chakka block all day long. (Chakka block is one of my favorite Aussie terms and means packed full.) Winetravelers, it’s worth the wait!

  • Hours: Daily 11am – 5pm
  • Address: 131 Krondorf Rd, Tanunda SA 5352, Australia

Peter Lehmann

Wines for the people, from the people. Peter Lehmann makes a lot of wine, there is no getting around it. 2019 will mark their 40th vintage, and with that comes 40 years of grower/ winemaker relationships. Although Peter himself is no longer with us, Casella brands has done a fantastic job of maintaining his vision of supporting the growers of Barossa Valley. As hinted at above, a majority of the grapes Lehmann uses to make their wines are purchased from local growers. Many of these growers have had a personal relationship to the Lehmann family since. The wines range in price from $11 to $150 a bottle, highlights include the Barossan, a great expression of the region aged in American oak for 12 months & 8 Songs which is considered part of their premium line.

  • Hours: Weekdays 9:30am – 5pm
  • Weekends 10:30am – 4:30pm
  • Address: Para Rd, Tanunda SA 5352, Australia
  • Phone: +61 88565 9555

Kaesler

Old vines, new wine making techniques. Kaesler has been around since 1893, and although they are now on the third owners, are still family owned. They are doing some fun experimental wines including a whole bunch Grenache and a delicious white with the Italian varietal, Garganega. My personal favorite Cabernet Sauvignons of the region is also on offer from them. Hot tip: Kaesler ships to the USA, it is a hefty price tag, about $200 USD for 12 bottles, but the nice part is they will ship other wineries bottles in addition to their own.

  • Vineyard tour and B & B
  • Hours: Daily 11am – 5pm
  • Address: Barossa Valley Way, Nuriootpa SA 5355, Australia
  • Phone: +61 885624488

Maggies Beer

A Barossa Institution for artisan prepared foods. Maggies Beer does make wine but I would recommend passing on their alcoholic libations and focus on the food, sights and sounds. Maggies Beer has a unique incorporation of live animals. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the caged and wild ones! They make a mean coffee and have a great selection of pate, cheeses and baked goods that provide some great provisions for a day of wine tasting.

  • Hours: Daily 10:30am – 5pm
  • Address: 50 Pheasant Farm Rd, Nuriootpa SA 5355, Australia
  • Phone: +61 88562 4477

Vintners Bar and Grill

The local favorite. Open for both lunch and dinner they are situated in a beautiful location surrounded by vines. The spotting of local winemakers dining here is very common so you know it’s good.  If you have not had enough wine after a day of tasting, Vintners offers a great selection of reasonably priced wines from Barossa and the old world. Their menu is small, yet offers some local delicacies.

Book ahead and request a window table

  • Hours: Lunch Daily 12:00pm – 2:30pm
  • Dinner Monday to Saturday 6:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Address: 752 Stockwell Rd, Angaston SA 5353, Australia
  • Phone: +61 8 8564 2488

Best Wineries and Things To Do in Barossa Valley Australia | Winetraveler.com

Day 3:

Tom Foolery

New kids on the block featuring cheeky wines of bold character. Ben Chimpan and Toby Yap started the winery back in 2004. They both worked at Rockford for years as part of the wine making team before taking on this venture, a very small winery with seriously good juice. Tom Foolery has plantings of Tempranillo on its property, a Spanish grape that does quite well in the Barossa and is my personal favorite of the line-up. The tasting room is small, and their production is even smaller, but this is a stand-out from both visits for me.

  • Hours: Thursday – Monday 11am – 5pm
  • Address: 517 Stockwell Rd, Light Pass SA 5355, Australia
  • Phone: +61 8 8564 2214

Artisans of Barossa

The one-stop shop for Barossa. A tasting room for five different wineries and a delicious restaurant this is a must see when visiting Barossa, especially if you are short on time. John Duval, Spinifex and Sons of Eden all have a representative and wines offered to taste at Artisans. Their restaurant has lovely outdoor seating and a lawn where children can run free. Be prepared to spend hours here as it is like you are stopping at 5 different cellar doors in one. Also, don’t sleep on the lunch, you are going to need some sustenance after all that wine!

  • Hours: Monday – Thursday 12pm – 9pm
  •             Friday & Saturday 12pm – 10pm
  •             Sundays 12pm – 6pm
  • Address: 64 Murray St, Tanunda SA 5352, Australia
  • Phone: +61 8 8563 3935

Hentley Farms

A gastronomic and wine tasting delight. Arguably the best restaurant in Barossa valley, they are a two hatted restaurant that utilizes produce sourced from their own garden. Reservations are required, and the meal comes with a hefty degustation price tag. Needless to say, it is worth the price, even if you can’t make it to the restaurant – go for the wine. The cellar door is based in an old sheep shearing shed, with antique accents, the tasting is conducted in what feels like your grandmother’s living room. Wines are quality across the board, especially their Riesling and a side-by-side comparing of the Beauty and Beast Shiraz.

  • Cellar door hours: Daily 11am – 5pm
  • Address: Gerald Roberts Rd, Jenke Rd, Seppeltsfield SA 5355, Australia
  • Phone: +61 8 8562 8427

Side Note – If you are wondering how all the palm trees got so perfectly planted on the roads leading up to Seppeltsfeild on your drive. It is the Seppelt family who is responsible, they employed all of their winemaking staff to plant them during the depression between 1914-1918. This allowed the family to not have to lay off any of their hardworking team members during this hard-financial time for all in the region.

I truly could spend a lifetime focusing on this one region and could learn something new every day. Although, I have taken two trips and spent countless hours researching and visiting wineries in Barossa, there is still so much more to see and do. One thing that has proven much help is the fact that I have experience selling and sharing these wines to guests as a sommelier in Australia over the past year. Working with two extensive wine lists and learning from the wine directors though their selections, I was able to better understand who the best producers are in the region. That was the jumping off point of this journey and my ability to share with you these special places that one day I hope you can experience too.


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Alexandria Sarovich
Alexandria is a sommelier from Chicago where she was previously the beverage director at The Florentine. She left the USA in February 2018 to pursue the world of wine in Australia and has since been traveling avidly to understand all the Aussie wine regions. Alexandria has served wine and hospitality at Attica and Rockpool in Melbourne and is currently a level two certified sommelier traveling the wine regions of Australia while preparing to take her level three advanced exam through the court of master sommeliers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandria is a sommelier from Chicago where she was previously the beverage director at The Florentine. She left the USA in February 2018 to pursue the world of wine in Australia and has since been traveling avidly to understand all the Aussie wine regions. Alexandria has served wine and hospitality at Attica and Rockpool in Melbourne and is currently a level two certified sommelier traveling the wine regions of Australia while preparing to take her level three advanced exam through the court of master sommeliers.

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