We’ve all sampled Australia’s world-renowned wine, well I certainly have! I am lucky enough to have stayed in and explored each of Australia’s beautiful wine regions, sampled new vintages directly from the barrel and spent time with the winemakers. I am now truly spoilt and struggle to choose anything else when selecting wine from a menu.
One of my absolute favourite regions is Margaret River, where rolling hills, blanketed by vines sit against a backdrop of forest and dramatic ocean scenery. Located in the far south-west corner of Western Australia, the region is a three-hour drive south of Perth. As well as its 155 wineries, Margaret River has a vibrant food scene with fine restaurants, boutique breweries, art galleries and fresh produce. It is highly regarded as one of the premium wine regions, predominantly producing elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. Spend a morning exploring the many bays and coves of the region before heading to one of the wineries for a spot of wine tasting, finished off with a delicious lunch. Leewin Estate, Vasse Felix and Voyager Estate all come to mind and each offers private cellar door tastings. If you prefer to leave the driving to someone else we can arrange a tour with a local guide who’ll show you some of the most spectacular, untouched stretches of coastline, followed by a private tour at Vasse Felix. Experience behind the scenes, meet a winemaker and discover unique historical insights into the Margaret River Wine Region, followed by a tasting of the Vasse Felix Collection. At the end of the day, Cape Lodge is a boutique hideaway, tucked amongst the vines, it is the perfect place to base yourselves – the accommodation, food and wine are exceptional.
Another region that holds a place in my heart is the Barossa, an hours drive north-east of Adelaide and easily combined with Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges for a quintessential Aussie experience. Spanning seven generations the Barossa is home to award-winning restaurants, stone churches, and heritage buildings, in a uniquely Australian landscape of gum trees and vineyards. The Barossa region produces a great variety of wine, with the main styles being Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz.
Spend a day in the Barossa and you’ll see well preserved 160-year-old villages, chateaus and churches, gracious heritage towns, century-old cellars and some of the world’s oldest Shiraz vineyards. Exploring by bike along the Barossa Trail is one of my favorite past times. Parts of it follow an old railway line where the tracks have been replaced with bitumen for smooth cycling. With a town or winery not more than a few kilometers apart, you don’t have to travel far and the views are stunning in every direction. There are numerous wineries offering unique experiences in the region, from blend bar at Jacobs Creek through to estate tour and intimate tasting at Penfolds Magill Estate. Mary Ann Kennedy, owner of a Taste of South Australia is, in our opinion the best person to introduce you to the more off the boutique wineries, she knows the region inside and out and can arrange day trips out of Adelaide or pick you up from your accommodation in the valley. The Louise, a luxury boutique hotel, offers a warm welcome at the end of your day.