The Best Wine Tours in South Australia
Here's where to go wine tasting in the state of South Australia.
As one of the world’s best wine regions, South Australia’s viticulture scene offers some of the best wine tours in unique, natural, beautiful settings.
There’s the Barossa Valley, known for its bold Shiraz that can often be found on the menus of leading Michelin restaurants; McLaren Vale, set across a pristine coastline; and Adelaide Hills, which has over 60 wineries located in close proximity to the city, making it the perfect weekend escape.
In addition to producing many award-winning bottles, South Australia has had a rising focus on natural wines over recent years, with many regional vintners moving towards organic varietals. There have also been several wineries that have infused artistic elements into the scene with sculpture gardens, contemporary architecture, and immersive sensory experiences.
Whether you’re seeking a relaxing couple’s getaway or planning a group trip to celebrate an occasion, it’s a good time to venture south to explore Australia’s dynamic wine regions.
Designer wineries are on the rise in Australia, and McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg recently unveiled a multi-level Rubik’s Cube-style center, housing an immersive art gallery, a wine tasting room, and a restaurant. The center, named the d’Arenberg Cube, offers unique sensory experiences including a wine inhalation room, a virtual fermenter, and a 360-degree video room.
There are a number of tours available at d’Arenberg, one of the most extravagant of which involves transfers in a 1930s open cockpit bioplane, followed by a degustation lunch and wine tasting, and an interactive wine blending session, where guests can mix their own bottles to take home. The family-run winery has been in operation since 1912 and remains one of McLaren Vale’s most essential destinations for wine lovers. It’s also an eco-friendly business that is NASAA certified for organic and biodynamic production processes.
Scott Dunn’s Private Barossa Valley Wine Tour
One of the best ways to experience the Barossa Valley is through luxury tour operator, Scott Dunn, renowned for coordinating elevated travel experiences around the world. On the Barossa Valley tour, private guides facilitate wine tastings at leading vineyards throughout the region, which is home to some of Australia’s most revered wine brands, including Penfold’s, Wolf Blass, Yalumba, Orlando, Seppelt, and Peter Lehmann. After an itinerary full of sampling signature Shirazes and Cabernet Sauvignons, dining at the best local restaurants, and learning about the wine-making process, guests are transferred to five-star boutique retreat, The Louise, which has an excellent culinary program and offers cooking courses using local produce and, of course, wine pairings. It’s the perfect option for first-timers to the region that appreciate the finer things in life.
St Hugo is one of the most high-end wineries in the Barossa Valley with an elegant wine tasting space designed by Studio-Gram and some tours going for upwards of $100,000. There are, thankfully, more reasonably priced options available, including chef’s table experiences with wine pairing, a glassware course in collaboration with Riedel, and fine wine tours that involve private helicopter rides, wine-blending programs, degustation dining, and exclusive accommodation.
St Hugo is part of Pernod Ricard’s glossy portfolio, and is an essential South Australian destination for lovers of wine and architecture.
Small Batch Wine Tours
Known for touring Adelaide Hills, the Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale, Small Batch Wine Tours offers excursions with groups no larger than six, ensuring an intimate and interactive experience. Each tour involves wine tasting sessions and elevated culinary experiences that are curated to match the interests of guests – think back vintage tastings and access to the most impressive vintners across South Australia. There are also private tours available that are perfect for couples seeking a more individualized journey.
A Taste of South Australia
A Taste of South Australia offers a variety of tours across the country’s most verdant wine destinations, including the Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra, Barossa, and McLaren Vale. The tours are tailored to all levels of wine experience and range from half-day excursions to week-long programs, some of which also involve scenic cycling and wildlife watching, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the area. The company also offers two-hour wine education courses in conjunction with the National Wine Center, covering off key topics such as wine styles, labels, and technology.
McLaren Vale United Tour
Local tour operators, Coast & Co, have partnered with five-star boutique hotel, The Vineyard Retreat, to provide high-end travelers with the quintessential South Australian wine experience. “We see ourselves as the concierge providing access to the very best food and wine, coastal and nature experiences in South Australia,” says Simon Burley, owner of Coast & Co, which is renowned for coordinating dedicated tours throughout McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills. Stu Cross, the owner of The Vineyard Retreat, says that the new McLaren Vale United Tour is a seamless experience, marking a natural extension of the hotel that is centered in the idyllic McLaren Vale region. “This will offer our guests customizable and intimate insights into the key wine regions around us,” Cross adds.
Rich & Lingering
Award-winning local tour operator, Rich & Lingering, offers bespoke tours across the Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, the Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale. Each tour is designed to be indulgent and intimate, accommodating up to four guests and involving winery tours, tastings and dining at high-end local restaurants. The company also works with respected purveyors to coordinate masterclasses on wine and cheese.