McLaren Vale & Barossa

Gateway to the famous Australian wine regions of McLaren Vale, Barossa and Coonawarra, Adelaide, with 1.5 million population is the fifth-largest city in Australia. Noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food, wine and culture, Adelaide ranks in the Top 10 of The Economist's World's Most Livable Cities index.

Day 5 - Sunday March 13 - continued . . .

Our flight from Sydney arrives at Adelaide Airport and then our favorite limo driver Joe Ahern takes us on to Chapel Hill Winery with breathtaking views across the Onkaparinga Gorge to the sea. We stay overnight in The Retreat at Chapel Hill with its specifically designed culinary school teaching kitchen where we join the chef In a hands-on class to help prepare our own dinner, the embodiment of the wine and food experience.

Day 6 - Monday March 14 - 9:30 am

Starting at d'Arenberg Winery we participate in a wine blending session and then enjoy lunch at d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant. Fresh, seasonal dishes such as tender lamb, rich pork belly with citrus jam or warming dishes like home made Apple pie, are all paired with the famous d'Arenberg Shiraz and Grenache style wines.

After lunch Joe drives us to the Barossa Valley where we visit Standish Wine Company. Dan Standish is one of the "Young Guns", the new, powerful young winemakers of the Barossa Valley and his wines are exceptional.

After tasting the fabulous Standish Wines we check into The Louise which offers absolute luxury and inspired design with totally private areas, generous ensuites and breathtaking vineyard views.

No visit to The Barossa would be complete without dinner at Appellation at The Louise recognized as a world class destination for dining in South Australia, with food that unashamedly reflects the local growing seasons. Executive Chef Ryan Edwards and his team are passionate about freshness, seasonality and regionalism.

Day 7 - Tuesday March 15 - 9:30 am

Off to Torbreck Vintners founded by David Powell in 1994 to produce wines from a few sections of dry-grown old vines from a run-down but ancient Shiraz vineyard. Near lifeless, he nurtured them back to health and was rewarded with small parcels of fruit that he made into wine. Torbreck is based around the classic Barossa Valley varietals of Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro, and a love for the wines of France's Rhone Valley.

Next we enjoy a tranquil lunch at the farm of culinary legend Maggie Beer after participating in a "Cooking with Verjus" class. Maggie was the first in the world to produce Verjuice commercially, which is made from the juice of unfermented grapes.

Our afternoon commences with a visit to Rockford Wines where the winery is equipped with plant from the pioneer era, all valuable pieces collected when they were discarded by other Australian wineries as they modernized. This allows Rockford to carry on the traditional Australian winemaking techniques, with the winery being the same scale, age and pace as the growers’ vineyards.

Last tasting of the day and then dinner is at historic Yalumba, founded in 1849 and named "Yalumba" – aboriginal for "all the land around". Here we will enjoy a selection of sumptuous seasonal dishes made using Barossa regional produce and of course, to enhance our gastronomical experience, we have selected premium Yalumba wines.

Day 8 - Wednesday March 16 - 9:30 am

Today we visit the historical German town settlement and Langmeil Estate, home of “Freedom 1843” the world’s oldest surviving Shiraz vineyard. Here the philosophy is to produce only 100% Barossa premium quality wine made from varieties which excel in the Barossa. Langmeil uses open fermenters and basket presses believing the synergy of new and old world equipment helps to capture the characteristics in each variety and protect the subtleties of individual vineyards.

Leaving Langmeil, it’s on to experience the taste of Peter Lehmann. Surrounded by iconic Australian red-gums and wide, green lawns in a rustic building reminiscent of early days in the Barossa Valley, there is a sense here of easy Australian informality. A cork pops somewhere. There is laughter; there are smiles and a drawing together of chairs as we enjoy an Australian tradition, the Weighbridge Platter lunch together with the wines of the house.

In 1851 Joseph Seppelt established Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley and on the last day of our 2014 Oz Odyssey we visit Seppeltsfield Winery for a wonderful experience with vintage tawny ports.

While visiting you will have the rare opportunity to taste your own birth year vintage tawny, directly from the barrel as we take a behind the scenes look through the estate's treasure trove of historical buildings and spectacular surroundings, hearing the Seppelt family history and their profound influence on the Australian wine industry.

We saved a rare experience for our final dinner together. In 1847 a surveyor named William Jacob built a cottage on the banks of the (Jacobs) creek which later lent its name to the famous wine brand Jacob's Creek, produced by Orlando Wines.

In 1997 Orlando Wines commenced a rejuvenation project for Jacobs Creek on which all non-native plants were removed, and replanted with blue gums, red gums and other Australian native trees and shrubs. In this historic cottage of William Jacob we will savor a degustation dinner to celebrate our last night together on our 2014 Oz Odyssey.

Day 9 - Thursday March 17 - 9:30 am

We spend our last morning in the beautiful Barossa and then each visitor goes their separate way to explore incredible Australia. Here are some recommendations for on-going trips.

  • Queensland -Australia's Sunshine State, Queensland, includes the Great Barrier Reef, world-class beaches, sun-baked islands, and green rainforests.  

  • Victoria – Australia’s second-largest city, the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne boasts great festivals and shopping, a passion for food and wine, and fabulous arts.  
  • Tasmania – This little piece of England transplanted is recognized for its Pinot Noir and picturesque beauty, an island haven at the edge of the world where you can still journey deep into pristine wilderness, and walk with wildlife found nowhere else.  
  • Western Australia – Perth is a modern city and is the gateway to the famous Margaret River wine area. WA’s splendid isolation has resulted in a vibrant, original music and arts scene - and locals that welcome visitors with open arms.  
  • Northern Territory – A western adventure, visit Ayers Rock or Uluru as it is known by the aboriginal people, Kakadu National Park, Alice Springs and Darwin where the beach lifeguard is always on the watch for crocks.  
  • New South Wales – Have some more fun in Sydney and visit the Blue Mountains.  
  • New Zealand – Discover the fantastic flavors of New Zealand from Auckland's fresh cuisine to the vineyards of Marlborough and Queenstown's stunning scenery.  
  • Tahiti - Return to the US via Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea and other islands in this South Pacific paradise where you can recover from the overindulgence that defines life in Australia.