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During the last decade or two, wine and food have finally coalesced into a harmonious experience for Australians. No longer do we associate fine dining with indoor spaces, pressed napkins and an array of cutlery. Our food industry features the best of what South Australia has to offer in locally-sourced fresh produce and showcases it in al fresco settings in the city, country regions and at our cellar doors.
The influence of European culture taught us to appreciate food eaten outdoors again. While past generations loved a traditional barbecue or meal cooked over an open fire, some saw it as a poor second choice to being seated at a dining table.
Europeans taught us about new types of food, cooking styles, and we became more discerning about wine too. Nowadays, we feature prominently in the culinary stratosphere, with top chefs and food innovators creating tastes we are exporting to the world.
Al fresco dining has become our preferred way of eating.
We pair food with a wine chosen from an array of available styles, of excellent quality and endless variety. Weather permitting, we shun the best seats in the house to opt for a kerbside table, where we observe the passing parades in the street. Or we gravitate to a shady spot where we can watch our children play while we enjoy lunch.
Of course, what really tops it all off is a view. When we have leisure time to enjoy a food and wine experience, we adore a place which offers us a pleasant perspective of a rustic idyll or panorama.
This is where Adelaide and its surrounding wine districts excel. From our Hills to the southern vales, Limestone Coast or Barossa or Clare Valleys, every region offers special culinary experiences at many of their cellar doors.
These gastronomic events become special because they involve all our senses. The superlative smoothness of an excellent vintage, paired with the taste of expertly cooked food, the warmth of sun on skin, the sound of a magpie chorus and the views to a distant skyline.
This is what a feast for all the senses truly means, and South Australia delivers it in spades.
We’re literally spoilt for choice. You simply couldn’t visit every cellar door offering great food if you had a whole season here, even with unlimited time and funds. So where do you begin?
The number of wineries offering quality food is constantly growing.
Many venues are family friendly if you have children, although some of us want a more intimate wine and food experience.
You’ll find everything under the sun, from simple fare in reasonably priced platters to accompany a tasting, to world-class culinary experiences – yet still with a similar atmosphere, placing you among the vines, soaking up the environment, whatever time of year you visit.
Decide what kind of experience you want to have, and then add these suggestions to your wish list. All have their own unique character in places that are easy to access, where you can sample the best products of the soil.
Only a few kilometres from the city, you’ll find wine history and contemporary culinary excellence at Penfold’s Magill Estate. Their five star restaurant is renowned and you’ll love the modern vibe contrasted with the estate’s rich heritage. The experience will leave you with a memory that lasts a lifetime, watching the sun sinking over the vines.
The following wineries all have gastronomic delights waiting to be sampled, nestled amongst their vineyards or perched on hillsides for perfect views.
Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard, Anderson Hill and Pike & Joyce are all close by in the Hills region of Lenswood. There’s Sidewood in Verdun, Nepenthe and Shaw & Smith in Balhannah, or The Lane Vineyard in Hahndorf. Visit Bird in Hand or O’Leary Walker at Oakbank, or Barristers Block at Woodside, or Glen Ewin Estate at Houghton. All have multiple accolades and are only a short drive from the suburbs. Primo Estate, Angoves, d'arry's Verandah, Serafino and Coriole are in McLaren Vale, an hour south of the city, and all have excellent reputations.
Venturing further afield, the Barossa has Salter’s Kitchen, Whistler Wines, Kies Family, Hentley Farm, Seppeltsfield, Jacob’s Creek, Artisans of the Barossa, Lou Miranda Estate and St. Hugo, all offering incredible food with the best wines. In the Clare Valley, put Paulett’s of Polish Hill, Mr. Mick Cellar Door, Reillys, Skillogalee and Seed Kitchen on your list of places to experience.
This isn’t a definitive list, we’re only scratching the surface here with a few suggestions. And if you can’t experience many of them in one holiday, you’ll just have to come again. You know you’ll be welcomed back.