How to have a di-vine time in the Barossa Valley

Sustainability is a passion for Tony Brooks of Pindarie.

Sustainability is a passion for Tony Brooks of Pindarie. Photo: Pindarie

There’s something about a mini road trip that’s good for the soul. You don’t actually have to go far – just get out of town.

In this case, about an hour from Adelaide to the historic Barossa Valley, famed for its heritage towns, church steeples, pioneering Lutheran settlers, rolling hills and literally hundreds of vineyards and dozens of cellar doors.

Once there, we’re set for a little vineyard wining and dining – yes, we have a dedicated driver!

First stop: Pindarie

Wendy Allan, and Tony Brooks, owners of Pindarie, and their lively Jack Russell, Patch, greet us at the cellar door, at the heart of their 283-hectare property.

Pindarie is not only a winery – it’s a sustainable certified farm with pastures, olive trees and merino ewes as well as its 36 hectares under vines.

‘Water is like gold’ on this winery and farm, but so is the wine. Photo: Pindarie

Wendy is the viticulturist, while Tony is the farmer, “though restoration is his passion”, Wendy says. That becomes clear when you see the recycled timbers, the beautiful slate and stonework of the 1864 Stables tasting room and the Grain Store.

Sustainability is a passion for them both.

“Since taking over the property in the 1990s, we’ve planted 15,000 native shrubs and trees, such as sugar gums. You need to look after the land,” Wendy remarks as she leads us to Schoff’s Hill for a sweeping view of Seppeltsfield, the property’s dam “water is like gold here”, and the distant golden canola fields.

Back at the Stables, winemaker Stuart Moffat guides us through a tasting including a La Femme Sparkling Rose (“fun, off-dry and summery)”, Sicilian-style fiano and a Reserve Shiraz, to a syrupy (and delicious) Pedro Ximenez, a fortified ‘sherry’ (but you can’t call it sherry).

We don’t mind what it’s called, but we do buy some.

Trail walks, wine tastings, food grazing in the Grain Store, and lunch under the trees with wonderful views are all on offer. Open daily 

Sustainability is a passion for Tony Brooks of Pindarie.

Turkey Flat

Next stop is Turkey Flat vineyard, surrounded by heritage vineyards – the first vines were planted in 1847. Owner Christie Schulz’s family has been on the property since the 1860s.

In the cellar door, a restored bluestone butcher shop, winemaker James Adams, a fifth-generation Barossa Valley local, introduces some award-winning Turkey Flat wines.

He also talks about climate change and sustainability. “We need to manage the ecosystem,” he says. “We’re just custodians.”

As to the wine, “we’re best known for our rosé – a summer drink using grenache, the most popular grape in Barossa at the moment. We’re now making magnums of the rosé – it’s so successful.”

Easy drinking under the gum trees with a grazing platter and a glass of wine. Photo: Turkey Flat

We also sample a crisp marsanne, and the Butchers Block Shiraz, “a more modern style of red”, and one of their best sellers.

There are grazing platters loaded with lavoch crisps, cheese, fruit, nuts and pate laced with Pedro Ximenez. You can order the platters with a glass or bottle of wine on the verandah, under the gum trees, or if the weather’s chilly, by a roaring fire inside.

Cellar door and ‘Wine Food’ menu, open daily  

Stop off in Tanunda

From Turkey Flat it’s not far to the leafy main street of Tanunda.

A leisurely stroll takes us past stone buildings, old-world verandahs, and even a band rotunda. The Visitor Centre has plenty of excellent local intel, including maps and brochures. 

1918 Bistro and Grill

Also in Tanunda is the century-old stone house known as 1918, with wisteria-draped verandah, a towering Norfolk pine in its front garden and welcoming staff.

Original floorboards, fireplaces, polished timbers and pressed-metal ceilings create an inviting dining space.

Regionally sourced and house-made is the focus here. The menu is generous and wide ranging. You might order pork belly with bacon jus and crushed peas, or an intense mushroom risotto, or chilli prawn linguine. There are family-sized Tomahawk steaks with crunchy rosemary potatoes and truffle butter.

Dessert? Hard to go past the sticky date pudding with salted caramel and house-made vanilla bean ice cream (we didn’t).

The wine list is extensive, specialising in small local vineyards – wine shelves are stacked high.

Open daily for lunch and dinner

A little gin late in the day

Don’t be shy about sneaking a little gin into your wine journey. Photo: Seppeltfield Road Distillers

The Barossa is all about wine, but it’s also about good spirits. In this case – gin.

Seppeltsfield Road Distillers (or SRD) is modern and streamlined – timber decking, sun brollies, stools at long benches, gum trees whispering in the breeze.

You feel as though you are in a tree house. Smack bang in the middle stands the shiny still.

There’s a classic gin, of course, but then there are SRD’s variations, such as a Native Ground gin, with coriander and  wax flower. Their Barossa Shiraz Gin is a revelation. Served with Dark Soda (with smoked vanilla and kola nut flavours), it’s almost like a negroni. So surprising.

Distiller Jon Durdin and wife Nicole are very happy to explain the intricacies.

Perhaps try a flight of four gins, then try your favourite in a cocktail? A very pleasant way to end the day.

Indoor and outdoor seating, light snacks available, open daily

Bedding down

We based ourselves in Adelaide at The Playford – MGallery on North Terrace. It’s a five-star boutique hotel that has been recently refreshed from top to bottom, with a design that melds art nouveau, art deco and sleek Italian modernism.

Award-winning Luma Restaurant is open all day and there’s a fab bar for cocktails. From $350 per night.

If you feel like staying in the Barossa itself, try CABN tiny houses ­– they’re off-grid, eco-friendly, self-contained and ultra cute, tucked into countryside locations. From $265 per night, plus service fee.

Barossa Valley is on the ancestral lands of the Peramangk, Ngadjuri and Kaurna Aboriginal peoples.

Margaret Barca was hosted by The Playford – MGallery and Accor

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