The Barossa Valley is a major wine-producing region and tourist destination of South Australia, located 60 km northeast of Adelaide. It is the valley formed by the North Para River and the Barossa Valley Way is the main road through the valley, connecting the main towns -Nuriootpa, Tanunda, Rowland Flat and Lyndoch.
When it comes to cellar doors in the Barossa Valley, the big question is where does one start, quickly followed by how long do you have? The list is seemingly endless. You can start your visit by donning the white lab coat and getting a taste for the region by creating your own shiraz blend at mighty Penfolds’ popular Make Your Own Blend. The whole winemaking started about eight years ago when a group of Barossa winemakers went over to the UK for the international wine fair and started speaking over a few drinks after each day and they came back and decided to do something more organized in a marketing and sales sense with all the production kept separate. So, what sets the Barossa apart from other wine regions? The Barossa is a unique part of the world. It has the oldest shiraz, grenache, mourvedre and cabernet vineyards.
Where there is a wine region, there is always a ripper country market. None packs a punch for quality fresh local produce heftier than the Barossa Food Markets in Angaston where the free-range lamb, pork, poultry, vegetables, chutneys, sauces and pastries are flying off the shelves in a hive of morning activity every Saturday. Visitors love going there to buy their goods and head back to their B&Bs to cook up an amazing meal. The farmers’ philosophy of a sustainable farming program is an example of the heart and soul each and every Barossa farmer puts on the tables, tubs and wheelbarrows at these markets – and in the kitchens of local families, the region’s restaurants and visitors staying at B&Bs or cabins.
While the Barossa Valley community as a whole prides itself on being down to earth, sometimes such an earthy, charming country setting calls for something heavenly and exclusive – say hello to The Louise in Marananga and Kingsford Homestead on the edge of the Barossa in Kingsford, two very different small luxury accommodation offerings hitting many top 100 lists. The Louise is a world-renowned luxury private getaway with sweeping vistas in a vineyard setting that goes hand in hand with acclaimed restaurant Appellation, a fine-dining star on the world stage. It has also gorgeous artworks and glassware, king beds, crisp linens, spa with TV and private outdoor shower.Over at Kingsford Homestead the 1856 two-storey sandstone Georgian house has been extensively renovated with seven luxury suites. The property is world-famous and better known as “Drover’s Run”, the setting for long-running TV series McLeod’s Daughters.Original features within include a Gothic style cedar staircase, the slate flagged entrance hall and rustic old-world stone cellars where guests can also dine.
The Barossa offers the full gamut of foodie experiences all over: modern South-East Asian cuisine at FermentAsian, a bit of everything including modern Australian at the stone villa known as 1918, scrumptious snacks at cool cafes like Nosh in Tanunda, and of course, the fresh takeaways on offer at the Barossa Farmers Markets.There’s also the opportunity to enjoy a cooking demonstration in the adjoining function centre from Maggie Beer’s daughter, Saskia, a celebrity cook and producer in her own right.”Yes, I was brought up with good farming and honest cooking,” says Saskia.
Things get a little spooky for the uninitiated when you lob in the Barossa in autumn when strange brainless beings can be seen on rooftops, by the roadside, at shop fronts and in vineyards. But it’s all OK – they’re only the resident scarecrows who surface to mark the start of the Barossa Vintage Festival, a one-week event held throughout the Valley in March biennially to celebrate wine, food, art, music and culture.Australia’s oldest wine festival, traditionally. It has also signaled the end of grape harvest and “no one throws a bigger or better party than the Barossa”, says Chris Whistler of Whistler Wines in Marananga, a generations-old family winery that hosts a day of family fun and great food. Other Barossa Vintage Festival events include Carnival at Seppetsfield Winery, comedy in the vines, special dinners, parades, live music, and various winery events. Another popular festival is the Barossa Gourmet Weekend held in August, offering visitors food and wine experiences, family fun days, markets, music recitals, long lunches, cooking classes and wine master classes.