I will start by saying I am a big fan of the Barossa Valley. So much so that usually round January each year we pack the car up and make the long drive to the Barossa to enjoy the spoils of the area.

From our numerous trips we have visited many of the regions cellar doors. But every trip seems to unearth a new winery or cellar door. I can say from all the cellar doors that we have visited over the years we have never had a bad experience. The Barossa has something for everyone – large wineries, boutique wineries and small family wineries.

What attracts me to the Barossa is more than just their great wines, and they are great. It’s the community feeling, friendly locals, the amazing German food traditions and beautiful scenery. The recent Barossa Valley television commercial “be consumed” pretty much summed up what the Barossa means to me.

A friend of mine (a Barossa Valley legend) recently suggested writing a small article “cherry picking” what I would recommend being a regular visitor to the Barossa.

Food

The Barossa has some amazing food traditions. The best way to get started is to ask a local. To start with there’s the old Bacon debate regarding which butcher makes the best smoked bacon. Schultz in Angaston or Linke’s in Nurioopta. I have now tried both and can say they are equally great. In fact I have a supply of bacon from both places in my freezer ready to go. I won’t pick a favourite here but do yourself a favour, visit them both pick up some bacon, mettwurst, and pickled cucumbers and make your own decision.

The second thing any visitor should do is to check out some of the Barossa bakeries. The first is Apex bakery in Tanunda which makes all their breads using a wood fire oven originally built in 1824. Their breads are pretty special and fresh. A local also tipped me off that their pasties and sausage rolls were something amazing. I tried both and can now agree.

The second bakery is Tanunda bakery which has large selections of German breads and sweets. This place is pretty impressive and worth a visit.

It would be a miss of me not to mention the Barossa Valley Farmers Markets in Angaston. If you are in the Barossa for a few days over the weekend then this place is a must visit even if only for the breakfast alone. You cannot go wrong with one of Barossa breakfast rolls to start the day off. This is a true Farmers markets and has an amazing selection of fresh meats, seasonal fruit and vegetables, breads, sweets and sauces. We always stop there and pick a selection of food to make ourselves a nice authentic Barossa dinner. The only thing to do after this is to start visiting some cellar doors  shortly after leaving here we commence searching for some Barossa wines to go with the dinner . www.barossafarmersmarkets.com.au

Ok enough with the food let’s get serious and get on to the wine. I easily could list thirty wineries I would visit on each of our trips but then we would be here all day and I would run out of funny and witty anecdotes. So I have cherry picked what wineries I would pick if I was visiting for only a couple of days.

Wine

Rockford

Yes this is a mainstay winery but I don’t think any visit to the Barossa is complete without stopping at Rockford. The winery and cellar door itself is worth a stop to show the Rockford traditional method of making wine. The wines themselves are exceptional and there is something for most tastes. To do this place justice plan your visit when they are not busy as the cellar door can get quite full at times. Another great feature of Rockford whilst you are tasting their wines is you can often pick up some vegetables from their gardens. We have gone there to pick up some wines and left with a box of wine under one arm and a bag of beans in the other. They also have a large selection of local flavoured mustard, sauce, chutney and jams. www.Rockfordwines.com.au

McLean’s Farmgate

McLean’s Farmgate winery would have been to one of the smallest wineries but in my opinion one of the best. McLean’s wines actually have the highest altitude vineyards in the region. A visit to Bobs’ cellar door come winery is must for any fan of the Barossa. Bob is one of the great characters of the Barossa and makes some amazing wines. Bobs makes Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet and a delicious GSM blend. You will be hard pressed to find someone who is more willing to share so much time and knowledge with their customers. To visit McLean’s wines is to sit down around Bob’s table share some generous tastings and amusing stories. This is the sort of place where you arrive as a visitor and leave as a friend.

Murray Street Vineyard Winery

Yep you guessed it is located in Murray Street. Murray Street Vineyard Cellar door is a must visit for numerous reasons. The first, they make some exceptional wines and the current winemaker is an
original from the Seppelts. For any Barossa newcomers the Seppelts were kind of a big thing when the Barossa started growing wine. Murray Street Vineyard have it all worked out – they sit you down at table on the deck under the vines or on a comfy lounge inside the cellar door. You are then guided through a structured tasting so there is no need to rush anywhere. What we like to do whilst we do a tasting is enjoy one of their delicious regional tasting platters and sit on the deck with a bottle of wine overlooking their vineyards. www.murraystreet.com.au

Whistler Wines

If you are looking for a small family winery then this is the place. Whistler seem to have it all from great wines, friendly staff, regular events and things to amuse the kids. The staff at Whistler are second to none and make you feel welcome. There are not a lot of places where they remember your name but this is one of them. Whistler make some terrific wines some of my favourites are their Reserve Shiraz, Mouvedre (Move over deer) and rose. But they also offer platters, a great picnic area outside the cellar and an animal sanctuary where kids can get up and close to some rescued native animals. www.whistlerwines.com.au

Shobbrooke Wines

I will admit I had not heard of Shobbrooke wines until reading a recent article in a wine magazine. After reading the article I decided to contact the winemaker Tom Shobbrooke and see if we could tee up a tasting. We met Tom at the family farm. Also there to meet us was a gaggle of the farms geese which made my wife quite nervous. Apparently it had something to do with a childhood incident involving a goose taking a liking to her frilly socks. Tom is a passionate winemaker who makes his wines as natural as possible. At Shobbrooke you will likely be standing in the winery amongst the barrels tasting his wines. Tom also took the time to show us numerous barrels samples. You can easily spent an hour or two enjoying Toms’ hospitality, knowledge and great wines.

David Franz Wines

Previously I had tasted David FRANZ wines, and heard good things but had never visited his cellar door. This trip we contacted him and Dave was only more than happy to do a tasting at his family farm in Tanunda. Again we had a tasting direct with the winemaker in the winery. Dave is a passionate winemaker and really makes some outstanding wines. Dave is a knock about bloke so it is all about making great wines and people enjoying them. Its worth asking about his vino cotto which has a strong fan base in the Barossa. www.david-franz.com

Yelland & Papps

Yelland & Papps is another example of a small family winery. The winery is run by husband and wife duo Michael and Susan with their two young children. The cellar door is located next door to their house on the outskirts of Tanunda. Michael and Susan are two of the most welcoming people in the Valley. They will take the time to explain their wines and passion for the area. They make some amazing wines with some of my favourites being their Vermentino, Roussanne, Grenache and Greenock Shiraz. It is also a good place to bring the kids where you can take a seat outside for a tasting and let the kids run around on the grass or play with one of the many toys at cellar door. www.yellandandpapps.com

Soul Growers

I first became a fan of Soul Growers a few years ago after tasting some of their slow grown reds at a food and wine show. Soul Growers make a variety of white and red wines with my favourites being Riesling, Slow grown Grenache, Slow grown Shiraz, and Slow grown Cabernet. Allright I like all the slow grown wines. They also make a great blend called El Major which is a magical wine. It is well worth organising a tasting at either one of their vineyards in Seppeltsfield, in the old farmers shack or in the historic winery at Lyndoch. One of the owners Paul is a terrific bloke and happy to share as much time and knowledge about their wines. www.soulgrowers.com

Sieber Wines

I don’t think a visit to the Barossa is complete without a visit to Sieber Wines on Sieber Road. If you are lucky to be served by one of the owners – Val then you are in for a treat. She is beautiful lady and one of the true characters of the Barossa. She could not make you feel more welcome. She will sit down and have a yarn with you whilst going through her amazing wines. Make sure you are not in a rush as Val doesn’t mind a chat. www.sieberwines.com

Moorooroo Park Vineyards

Moorooroo Park Vineyards is a small cellar door with boutique accommodation and beautiful gardens. The Cellar door is quite rustic in appearance (plus low level doors which are a hazard for 6 feet 4 inched people like me). They serve with their tastings local produce including some of the best homemade salami I have tasted. The Salami had a bit of a kick to it but I wish I could have taken a few rolls with me. Rachael who works at the cellar door on weekends is a real asset to the Barossa. She has knowledge of the region, wines and is just a friendly person. Moorooroo can easily be missed as it is a little off the main road i.e. dirt road. But anyone visiting the Barossa should look it up. They make a Shiraz that you will remember for years to come and a Rose that made me buy an additional one chilled. www.moorooroopark.com.au

Travis Earth

On our most recent trip we visited Travis Earth wines for the first time. You don’t get more boutique then this place. The cellar door is up a dirt road with no signs and you would never know they existed if you did not ask for some recommendations at local cellar doors. I am glad we were recommended to visit Travis Earth. At present they only make three red wines but all three were excellent. The cellar door is located in an old farm house and has some charm along with a veggie gardens and plenty of chickens. Email travisearth@hotmail.com

 

Honourable Mentions

Peter Lehmann Wines
Langmeil Wines www.langmeilwinery.com.au
Greenock Creek Wines www.greenockcreekwines.com.au
Two Hands Wines www.twohandswines.com
Tscharke Wines www.tscharke.com.au
Small Fry wines www.smallfrywines.com.au
Kalleske Wines www.kalleske.com
Standish Wine Company www.standishwineco.com

 

About the Author
Simon is from Sydney, New South Wales and has been a Police Officer with NSW Police Force for the past 18 years. He and his wife enjoy good food and wine and over the years have slowly built up a nice collection of wines.  During their travels they have visited many Australian wine regions. Through their travels they have become addicted to the Barossa and each year make an annual road trip to the Barossa to enjoy the spoils of the area for a week or so.