Hidden gems in the Adelaide Hills

When it comes to wine, the Adelaide Hills belong in the same class as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

By Annalise Toms | @annalise_toms

When you think of South Australian food and wine, one tends to instantly picture the vineyards of the historic Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale.

However, it’s high time the Adelaide Hills gets mentioned in this discussion, as it is home to more than 100 wineries run by progressive winemakers. The region is renowned for its cool climate wines, sauvignon blancs, sparkling wines and playful white varieties, as opposed to that of the heavy, earthy flavours of the Barossa and McLaren Vale.

Nevertheless, the Adelaide Hills Shiraz has won awards around Australia, and the region still produces a variety of Pinot styles. The Adelaide Hills is also leading the way in chardonnay, rieslings, award-winning pinot gris and the not so familiar grüner veltliner.

Adelaide Hills Tourism says its winemakers have “youthful confidence without fear of judgement”. Their approach to wine is a blend of traditional values and a modern state of mind which is exciting for SA’s wine market.

The Adelaide Hills boasts a range of festivals and events during the year that showcase the best of what the area has to offer. Here are three of the best wineries in the region.

Artwine – Woodside

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Entrance of Artwine (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

Artwine’s modern architecture and contemporary cellar door truly capture the essence of their wine.

Not only can one purchase one of Artwine’s best bottles, but the cellar door also gives you the opportunity to purchase the work of local artists.

To accompany the wine, all the delicious food served on their well-known platters is made from fresh, local produce.

Artwine was established in 2008, and they have won a total of 19 trophies, six of which were won in 2018 alone.

This includes the Chanticleer Cup for “best and most welcoming Cellar Door in the Adelaide Hills”. If that doesn’t want to get you up there, then I don’t know what will…

But let’s get down to wine…

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Tastings at the cellar door (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

Artwine is leading the way in both the emerging varieties and the traditional. This winery is also the first in the Adelaide Hills to produce an estate grown prosecco. Moreover, the first albariño in the region also emerged in Artwine’s 2018 vintage.

Some of their other varieties include fiano, prosecco, Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Graciano, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc and Montepulciano.

Artwine owners Judy and Glen Kelly say their passion is to “sustainably produce new-emerging quality wines that offer wine lovers an Australian version of some of the outstanding European varieties”.

“We produce wines with elegance and give the ability to enjoy with friends, family and the ones you love.”

Sitting outside on the lawn, you are surrounded by a sea of vines, reminiscent of a vineyard you would find somewhere in Europe. In truth, once you reach Artwine, you feel as if you’re in a whole new country—and it is only a short drive from the Adelaide CBD!

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The rolling vineyards of Artwine (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

Cobb’s Hill Estate– Oakbank  

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A bottle of 2017 Southern Cross Sparking at Cobb’s Hill (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

This leafy oasis in the beautiful area of Oakbank is divine for a Sunday afternoon getaway. On a beautiful autumn’s day, you have the opportunity to soak in the rays and enjoy their crisp Southern Cross Sparkling on the lawn.

The heritage of this estate started in 1854 when the pastures for Cobb & Co. horses were used for pulling stagecoaches through the Adelaide Hills from 1867.

Now, Cobb’s Hill Estate has over 50 acres of vineyards and some Black Angus Cattle with an additional 100 acres of rich farmland.

They also offer a Bed & Breakfast service located in the old homestead where the new Cellar Door resides as well.

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A view of the Cobb’s Hill estate from the tasting room (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

Cobb’s Hill has six wines to purchase that come from their cool-climate vines. This includes their Methode Traditionelle Sparkling, which is a pinot noir chardonnay blend, as well as their 2017 Sidesaddle Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Mail Run Rosé, 2017 Charlotte Chardonnay, 2017 Pioneer Pinot Noir and their delicious 2017 Stagecoach Shiraz.

Along with the pristine botanic gardens and acres of vineyards, Cobb’s Hill also offers a couple of walking trails for the keen and adventurous. Moreover, the game of Petanque is available for any of those who are keen enough to try.

Their modest menu incorporates the local flavours of the Adelaide Hills very nicely. The “make your own platter” is an all-round winner, providing you with a personal choice of cheeses and cured meats to accompany local Kalamata olives, pickled vegetables, muscat fig & almond praline, and a fruit chutney.

They also serve beautiful homemade hot pot pies and have options for the kids along with desserts for the avid sweet tooth. There is also the attractive option of purchasing a picnic basket with the choice of a platter and wine to enjoy on one of their picturesque walking trails.

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A grazing platter for four on the lawns of Cobb’s Hill (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

Bird in Hand – Woodside

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A 2008 shiraz at the Bird in Hand estate (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

Known for their wedding ceremonies and iconic events, Bird in Hand has been in the business of winemaking for quite some time.

They are a family-owned winery that began in 1997 that has the “ambitious goal of making wines that rank among the world’s finest”.

Founder of Bird in Hand Andrew Nugent came across this property when it was a run-down dairy farm. It was at this time that the Adelaide Hills was transforming into the prestigious wine region that it is today.

Bird in Hand is one of the most recognised wineries in the region producing varieties such as Shiraz, pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc along with a range of Italian varieties, including nero d’avola, montepulciano and arneis.

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A lunch platter with a drop at the Bird in Hand estate (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

Their four tiers of wine include the “Tribute Series”, which consists of their premium, special occasion wines; their “Nest Egg” range which is barrelled in French Oak where time is needed for the wine to establish their true character; the “Bird in Hand” tier, where the wines have a lighter diversity suitable to enjoy in its youthful years; and the final tier “Two in the Bush”, which is their fruit oriented variety recommended for casual drinking.

In 2015, the prestigious Winestate Magazine named the Bird in Hand’s Nest Egg Chardonnay “Wine of the Year”.

At Bird in Hand, you can either enjoy their fine dining experience at the Gallery Restaurant or enjoy a platter on their terrace of the Cellar Door. The Gallery combines Bird in Hand’s signature wines and pairs them with a seasonal and local culinary experience. You can enjoy their “joy flight”, which includes a six-course meal paired with the perfect drop to accompany the flavours.

There is also a range of other dining options including private dining in “The Red Wine Room” for those extra special occasions shared with friends and family.

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The famous “Red Wine Room” at Bird in Hand (Image Source: Annalise Toms)

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