Why would you travel to Adelaide? For the nightlife? For the coffee? For the excitement?
In fact, a survey of tourists flying into Adelaide discovered nearly all of them were heading to the wine regions!
It’s no secret the wine regions near Adelaide are some of the best in the world, and I’ve researched them thoroughly. As a proper Aussie, I spent many months in the Adelaide hills, in my Landcruiser, with my dog, sampling the many wines.
Why are the wine regions near Adelaide so good?
First off, the cool Adelaide weather offers perfect grape growing conditions.
But that’s not all!
The Adelaide Hills are really pretty.
They offer a great mix of rural and urban scenery, with plenty of green hills and forests. You’ll discover charming small towns and villages, some dating back to the early days of settlement.
Make sure you check out the old house of John Horrocks, an early pastoralist and explorer, who was shot, with a shotgun, by his camel.
If you don’t believe me, here’s some more information from a trustworthy source.
So if you’re looking for a picturesque place to relax, take in some fresh air, and discover interesting history, then the Adelaide Hills are definitely worth a visit.
Oh, and of course, to try the wine…
How to get there
A great way to visit the wine regions near Adelaide is with one of the many day tours. They go direct from the city, and really save you the trouble of driving around sober.
Alternatively, if you rent a car from Adelaide it’s easy enough to drive to all wine regions. Thankfully they’re all within an easy driving distance, and Australia benefits from uncomplicated roads and hardly any traffic.
Even in Adelaide driving is easy, so don’t worry!
The two main wine regions
You’ve heard of Jacob’s Creek, right? After all, you’ll find these wines all over the place from Adelaide to Tesco, England.
Jacob’s Creek is one of the most well known wines from Barossa Valley, but there are many more to discover.
In fact, the Barossa Valley wine region is one of the most visited in Australia.
Barossa Valley is a valley reminiscent of some of the best wine-growing regions of Germany – both in architecture and due to the large number of German settlers who populated the area in the late 1800s.
The weather is similarly cool, creating perfect Barossa wine-growing temperatures.
If you’re into quaint stone churches with tall spires scattered amongst the many vineyards, then Barossa Valley will not disappoint!
Accommodation in the Barossa Valley ranges from discrete B&Bs, luxury retreats, such as Peppers, through to stunning resorts such as the Novotel Barossa Valley. Given its close location to Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is a popular weekend escape, or a welcome addition to an Adelaide vacation.
The best way to get to know the area is through one of the many Barossa Valley wine tours, or wine and cheese tours.
Château Tanunda is one of the oldest and most famous wineries in the Barossa Valley. Its Grand Barossa range is very popular, with wines dense and rich with intense fruit flavours.
Château Tanunda’s Old Vine Grenache is particularly well-loved, as is its Reserve Shiraz. It’s definitely worth a visit, and if you don’t believe me, look how grand it is:
Other top producers in the region include Peter Lehmann, d’Arenberg, Penfolds and Torbreck. These wineries all produce excellent wines which reflect the unique characteristics of the Barossa Valley region.
Popular varieties from these producers include shiraz, grenache, mataro/mourvèdre blends and semillons.
The red wines are typically full-bodied and laden with rich fruit flavours.
For white wine lovers, chardonnay and riesling are excellent choices from Barossa Valley.
One thing you’ll love about Barossa is they know how to host a party. Nearly every month a Barossa Valley festival celebrates the best of the wine, food and music of the area.
Most tourists visiting the area combine a visit to a festival with a stay in some friendly accommodation in the Barossa Valley, which I highly recommend to get the most from your trip.
The Barossa Vintage Festival in Easter is one of my favourites, where the wineries and Barossa restaurants across the valley open their doors to celebrate the vintages both past and present.
There’s literally no shortage of quality wineries in the region, so it’s definitely worth spending lots of time exploring all that this world-renowned wine region has to offer! You could visit two wineries a day for a month and still not have tasted every winery in the Barossa!
If you’re like me and like to shy away from the mainstream, then to the north of Adelaide you’ll find the lesser known Clare Valley.
The Clare Valley is located next door to its well-known wine growing cousin, the Barossa Valley and approximately a 90-minute drive north from Adelaide.
It’s one of the coolest mainland wine-growing regions in Australia and produces superb and complex Rieslings. Clare Valley wines, especially the Rieslings, are rapidly gaining an international reputation.
While a few of the larger wineries have a base here, Clare Valley is known for its boutique wineries whose cellar doors are generally located in close proximity to each other along the Main North Road.
This makes wine tours of the Clare Valley really convenient and easy whether you drive or take a tour from Adelaide.
Sevenhill Cellars winery in Clare Valley is one of the most unusual of all of the wineries. It was started in 1848 by the Jesuits to create sacramental wine, a tradition that continues today – take this as my best tip which I’m sure you’ll love!
Given its closeness to Adelaide, group Adelaide tours leaving from the centre of the city to Clare Valley are really popular day trips.
Alternatively you can easily hire a car in Adelaide and drive to the Adelaide hills yourself, which makes a great day (or week) out. I absolutely loved driving through the Clare Valley, and regard it as the nicest wine region near Adelaide.
The main town is Clare Valley, which being the largest offers convenience, but you’ll likely prefer the more scenic countryside and smaller towns.
A great tip if you’re planning a leisurely stay, and if you’re into cycling, then the Riesling trail bicycle path is a fantastic way to travel through the region while visiting many cellar doors. It’s a great way to really experience the surrounding countryside as well.
B&Bs are popular Clare Valley accommodation options, and AirBnBs are well worth scoping out – there’s some gems on offer!
The Clare Valley wine region has so many hidden treasures to explore in terms of wine, restaurants and its beautiful heritage buildings. Or pack your clubs for a round at the Clare Country Club!
Clare Valley is well worth a visit, and I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did.
Lesser known wine regions near Adelaide
Are you up for discovering a lesser known wine region? If you’ve been to Barossa Valley already I’m sure you found it overflowing with not only great wine, but lots of tourists?
Half an hour’s drive south of Adelaide is the McLaren Vale wine region, known for its Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Mouvedre.
I’m sure you would love the region, given it’s one of the most picturesque and world-renowned wine regions in Australia. It’s well known for its stunning landscapes and Mediterranean climate.
McLaren Vale is definitely my best tip, especially if you love red wines – I’ve actually found some of the finest red wines in the country to hail from there.
If you’re interested in vino history, the McLaren Vale region was first planted with vines by James Busby way back in 1838. Today there are over 80 wineries in the region crafting sublime wines that express the unique terroir of this special place.
With the McLaren Vale wine region only 30 minutes from the city, why would you not?
Basically it doesn’t matter where you head from Adelaide, you will find some of the best wine regions in Australia.
What have you discovered in the wine regions near Adelaide? Leave a comment!