We’re currently travelling through some of Australia’s famous wine regions as guests of Wine Tourism Australia, for whom we’ve also been doing a few presentations. Here are some of the highlights from our first week, which kicked off on 13 April in South Australia:


This is a picturesque range of rolling hills and valleys half an hour from central Adelaide, South Australia, renowned for cool-climate wines including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. It is also known for its ciders and distilled products, as well as its curated restaurants and pubs.

Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard

We had a fantastic afternoon visiting Garry Sweeney, Sharon Pearson and Amber Flavell at this Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism 2024 winner, located at 166 Harris Rd, Lenswood. The wine and food are spectacular. We had a chance to taste pockets and rows within a single-site vineyard, tasting the difference in fruit ripening on a steep slope within a row to see how gradient and aspect alone can create a complex wine with enough fruit flavours, texture and acidity from a single pick. What wonderful wines, hosts and hospitality. Thank you!

Golding Wines

It was such a pleasure catching up with Darren and Lucy Golding at this third-generation family winery on the outskirts of Lobethal. We met them when they visited South Africa in 2015 on a Wine Tourism Australia study tour. They have shown a great deal of tenacity after a huge bush fire ripped through their property at the end of 2019, destroying their vineyards. The only thing saved was their hospitality building, and it is remarkable to see how everything has been replanted, rebuilt and improved. We had a great safari and wine tasting overlooking their land with a delicious Bento-style antipasto platter prepared with local ingredients by their South African chef. We also had a chance to visit their Nido tasting nest, a peaceful cocoon made from handwoven vine stalks. Both signature experiences were inspired by their South African visit. It’s an exquisite set up, well worth a visit!


We really enjoyed an immersive experience here, hosted by MD Deb Kingsbury, distiller Rose Kentish and chef Matt. While exploring the region’s bounty through an incredible range of drinks and dishes, all hyper-local, we learned from Rose about her winemaker-and-perfumier-background approach to distilling, obviously enhancing the aromas, textures and flavours of the various spirits that she is working on. We were then treated to a whisky tasting, focusing on the impact of barrel ageing, followed by a wonderful pairing lunch. There are some big plans for this property in terms of creating wine and spirit pairing menus to delight the senses.


Our next stop was the Somerled Cellar Bar in Hahndorf, which is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, established in 1839 by refugees escaping religious persecution in Prussia. Somerled is a very smart operation with exceptional cool-climate wines, owned and run by the Moody family, who have set up their cellar door and wine club on the high street, where the footfall is. A few South African brands are doing this in Stellenbosch, too. It was great to catch up with Lucy Moody who also visited Creation on the 2015 Wine Tourism study tour. She spoiled us with a tasting of several wines, starting with a lovely and refreshing sparkling.

Shaw + Smith

At this smart operation in Balhannah, we had a chance to chat to joint CEO David LeMire MW about the past vintage and all the issues we face in the Fine Wine World. This year, they had the same challenges as South Africa, with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay both down a little in crop size due to flowering and weather conditions. We enjoyed a great cellar door experience hosted by Lachlan Aird, with excellent Chardonnays among their exceptional cool-climate wines.

Penfolds Magill Estate

Home to one of the most recognised wine brands in the world, and one of the oldest in Australia, it was here that Dr Christopher and Mary Penfold first planted vine cuttings in 1844 with health and medicine in mind. At first Dr Penfold created remedies for his patients, just as monks in Europe had done for centuries, but then Mary realised that the need for wine as a more pleasant beverage was greater. We learnt about the legendary winemaker Max Schubert, and how his great secret experiment of Grange was born, and we were then taken on a cellar tour and given a chance to taste a range of fabulous wines. These included CWT521, a new (pre-release) wine made using Cabernet Sauvignon and Marselan grapes from five regions in China. It is the most impressive wine that I have tasted from China so far, made by the Penfolds team and yet another innovation in terms of sourcing and winemaking and bilateral relations.

National Wine Centre of Australia  

We spent the morning in Adelaide at this national hub for wine education, tourism and appreciation having a Wine Discovery Tour, Cellar Tour and Tourism Discussions with general manager Simon Burgess, Robin Shaw of Wine Tourism Australia, Amando Corsi (Associate Professor in Wine Business at the University of Adelaide) and Libby Cupitt of Cupitt’s Estate. What an impressive building and set-up, offering tastings of Australia’s best wines curated by sommelier Andrew Bruce as well as a cellar for events. After a light lunch, we did a presentation on Cellar Door and Direct Wine Marketing for Master of Wine Business students, joined by Emily Hay from Paragon Wines, a portfolio of eight well-known labels from Australia and New Zealand.

Longview Vineyard

We had a fabulous tasting and lunch here, with director Peter Saturno presenting the wines to us. Standouts were the Macclesfield Chardonnay with a pairing of white anchovies on bruschetta and preserved lemon – what a combination! – and also a fabulous Nebbiolo. We were fortunate to stay in the cabins overnight, and that meant a long walk in the vineyards, a wallaby sighting, and a lovely relaxing massage in the spa the next morning.


Also located close to Adelaide, McLaren Vale is a small region (roughly 15 square kilometres) with a multitude of climates and geology. It is famous for ultra-premium old vine Grenache Noir and Syrah but there is also much experimentation taking place with other varietals such as Fiano and Vermentino. We tasted some exceptional Roussanne and Grenache Blanc during our stay, based at Vale 1/194, a newly built luxury holiday home, highly recommended (contact Jodie to book).

Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards

We were super-spoiled by winemaker Corrina Wright, who runs this sixth-generation family business with her cousins, Brioni Oliver and Sam Oliver, but first we were met by four-legged Tex in the car park and Marg on the stairs. Corrina took us for a vineyard tour of the most incredible old vines, planted in the late 1800s and all on original rootstock as the McLaren Vale area is phylloxera free. We then had a great tasting with Mark, who runs the cellar door, and we also tasted their delicious olive oil and almonds.


Given our deep-rooted commitment to sustainability at Creation, we really appreciated the Being Biodynamic experience at Gemtree, where we saw first-hand how the philosophy of biodynamics is applied in the vineyards and winery, including the infinity water whirl. This was followed by a wonderful picnic lunch at the dam, delivered by the Salopian Inn. One of our very best picnics ever!

Wirra Wirra Vineyards

Our visit to this landmark ironstone cellar with its famous belltower started with the cutest greeting from a koala in a tree in the car park, and ended with our presentation to McLaren Vale cellar door personnel – no fewer than 50 attendees! Serious FOMO after seeing their little stainless steel, small-batch open fermenters. Who does not want those?!

Yangarra Estate Vineyard

This is an impressive cellar door in terms of the host’s knowledge and shows why time and experience matter. The Jackson family believe every vineyard has a story to tell, and although they are one of the largest family-owned wine businesses in the world, they are deeply rooted in sustainability. The quality of the farming and the way they work in the cellar is evident in the stellar wines we tasted. Especially impressive were the Ovitelli Blanc (blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourboulenc), Roux Beauté Roussanne and the High Sands Grenache Noir.

The d’Arenberg Cube

Try and figure out this giant Rubik’s Cube if you can! It’s a world-famous landmark and we were privileged to be taken around by Chester Osborn, owner, winemaker, and visionary behind the project. Starting with the music of the wind when you enter, this is the most surreal wine experience you will ever encounter. Inspired by Salvador Dali, Chester has created countless art installations and tactile experiences to explain the wines of d’Arenberg. After this, we had lunch at d’Arry’s Verandah with d’Arenberg brand manager Christian Burvill-Holmes, another visitor to Creation on the 2015 study tour. What a mind-blowing experience.

Chalk Hill Wines

We met the owner, Tom Harvey, and although the cellar door is a relatively new project, he has a busy wine tourism spot here with 100K visitors annually. We tasted some great Vermentino and Grenache Noir, and discussed a few ideas on how to develop the project. What incredible views and wine tourism vision, a stone’s throw from McLaren Vale town centre.


The Wonder Room at Dandelion Vineyards is open seven days a week from 10h00 to 18h00, and besides the unique combination of artisanal wines sourced from exquisite sites, there is an artisanal food pairing to go with the wines. We loved the warm hospitality and the link between vineyards, vignerons and culinary combinations. Attention to detail was evident in the wines and clearly a thread in Elena Brook’s winemaking background. There was a multi-cultural influence as well as a world view on Dandelion’s fine wines in the presentation by general sales manager Berenice Axisa and Zar Brooks, who popped in to say hello. The Wonder Room is everything it promises to be!

FINAL STOP: Karrawatta

On our way back to Adelaide, we sneaked into Karrawatta back in the Adelaide Hills. Exemplary old-vine and single-site vineyards planted here, and the cellar door set up in a converted dairy, all done beautifully with impeccable taste. It was wonderful to have a tour of this converted property and try the small-batch single-vineyard wines. We loved the whole line-up but especially Popsie, the Méthode Traditionnelle named after granddad by the grandchildren, and of course the Chardonnay. We wished we had more time – it truly is a five star experience – but we had to catch a plane to Melbourne for the next part of our Adventures Down Under in Victoria.


Photo credits: Wine Tourism Australia