Saturday, May 07, 2011

Holiday: South Australia - Barossa Valley

We woke up bright and early the next day, so we could drive from Adelaide to the Barossa Valley to taste some of Australia’s finest wines. Ok, well that’s a lie – I don’t drink so I was really there only for the cheese.

None of us had ever gone on a wine tour before. In my mind, I had pictured us driving through scenic countryside with wineries every where and choosing some little hole in the wall winery with a name we’d never heard of and sitting down in a family owned label enjoying a glass of their finest and pairing it with a set of the most delicate and exquisite and if at all possibly smelliest cheeses on offer.

That is not how this day was going to go.

My uncle is a bit of a wino and he suggested that we try the winery called Penfold because their wine is apparently quite amazing. So we drove through some scenic countryside and passed a few small hole-in-the-wall wineries before pulling into a very stark and unwelcoming parking lot at Penfold’s. Penfold’s does not have a restaurant, any information about how wine is made, or particularly helpful staff. Yeah, I said it.

Where we actually had lunch was rather disappointing and let ye be not as naïve as us, if you’re planning a trip to the Barossa Valley and you’d like to eat lunch at a hole-in-the-wall winery do some research and book in advance because who knew? But people like to drink and eat and thus you need a reservation. Whoops.

We ended up going to Jacob’s Creek Winery where they had a very nice tour of how wine is made, the different types of grapes used, and why some years are good and some are not so much (hot tip 2002-2003 Barossa Valley wines are spectacular the weather was just perfect…2011 is going to be a dud year, just a head’s up!). Their staff were helpful and patient with us as we mocked them at every turn (I’m sorry, but I am not going to pass up an opportunity to describe the round, earthy tones that wine leaves on the palate. The hint of barnyard, if you will. And of course, the breathing technique where you’re supposed to slightly purse your lips and breathe in while holding a sip of wine in your mouth…).

I could have spent hours walking around the vineyards in between rows of grapes. There is something inherently romantic about farm land to me and I was happy to be able to do something with the people I love most in the world that we’d never done before. We drove back to Adelaide that night to prepare for our next adventure: Kangaroo Island.

Photos's Courtesy of Father Decoybetty.

And also I was not compensated for this post in any way by Jacob's Creek...But am open to it. Just Saying.


  1. LOL @ your last comment!!! You are hilarious. And those grapes look mighty yummy...

  2. But they might compensate you with wine, and you couldn't drink it.

  3. This sounds lovely, even if it wasn't what you expected. I want to see wine country in California so bad!! Glad to see time with the parents was fun. ;)