A 90 minute drive from the port through the Adelaide Hills brought us to the Barossa Valley-the foremost wine producing region made famous from the wines sold in the U.S., Jacobs Creek and Penfolds. Settlements emerged in the Barossa in 1839 and it was considered a “free state” or one that was not settled primarily by convicts and criminals but rather those who chosen to relocate. Many Germans settled in this area escaping religious persecution in Europe and their influence remains strong.
We started our tour at Chateau 1847 Valdara tasting a smidgen of 7 different varietals. The most interesting of which to me was the sparkling petite verdot. I have never had a sparkling red wine. After the tasting and a brief stop at the cellar door (their name for the wine shop) we headed on to our next stop-Seppeltfields. This winery has recently be in the news as Prince Charles and Camilla were here last Tuesday-tasting wine and enjoying the grounds. A unique feature here is that the winery was started by Seppelt who had 12 boys and 4 girls-guess that gives one lots of “employees” and heirs. One of them in 1878 started a tradition they continue today by putting up a barrel of single vintage wine for 100 years. The 500 liter barrel reduces to 200 liters over the 100 years making for a very thick, syrupy “port” style wine. So, one can purchase wine from their birth year, or just this years 100 year old batch for $500 for 100ml bottle. It comes with a certificate signed by 6 generations and a special wooden box. We refrained from purchasing any-amazing.
The next stop was the largest producer we were to visit-Jacobs Creek winery. This one is available in the U.S. Beautiful grounds, a lovely restaurant (that I noticed was fully booked for today), a bike path and lots of picnic areas made it a special spot. In our tour around we noticed a large tree and our guide said it was a 250 year old Eucalyptus tree. Quite impressive.
Time for LUNCH! This last stop was at Chateau Barossa/Creed. The winemaker was pouring and discussing the wines we were tasting. The used to export to the U.S., but not since 2008. We were then directed from the barrel room to the tea room/gallery for lunch. The winery owner-former owner of the first winery we visited before he sold it and it went public-is a collector of antiques and there was quite a collection gathered in this museum. One of the most beautiful and fragrant locations here is the rose garden dedicated to Queen Elizabeth.
On our long ride back to the port we saw cricket matches, lawn bowling and some interesting electrical poles that the city engineer devised due to termite problems-cement in the middle with wood on either side. It solved the termite problem, but was found for those losing control of their vehicle it was it made for a big impact.
We missed the Christmas Parade in downtown Adelaide, but the wine sufficed! Now off to Kangaroo Island.