Whoever said wine should not be consumed before lunch, obviously hasn’t been to South Australia’s Barossa Valley.
After piling our luggage into our small hatchback (quite a feat when you’ve got four fashion-obsessed 20-somethings packing), three of my best friends and I took a short road-trip from Adelaide Airport to the valley of the Barossa.
After an hour of listening to Beyoncé, car dancing and downing our weight in chocolate, we arrive at Penfolds for a mid-morning masterclass where we’re given the opportunity to make our own personalised blend of wine. Donning lab coats and feeling a little bit ‘nutty professor’, we start working our way through a Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre, smelling and tasting each to find our favourite. Using test tubes, each of us measure different ratios of each wine, until we come up with our own favourite. For four girls who have such similar taste in ice-cream (salted caramel), movies (Mean Girls forever) and high street fashion (Zara), we had vastly different taste in wine!
Next on the Barossa Buck List was a stop by Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, which has tastings, cooking demonstrations and a café that serves all the best home-style dishes that made Maggie the icon she is. While we waited for our shared picnic of breads, dukkha, olive oil and pate, we made our way around the shop trying an assortment of vinegars, fig paste, chocolate topping, marinades and oils.
Once we’ve refuelled, we hit the road again, driving to Yelland & Papps. A small vineyard with a quirky tasting cottage which looks as though it’s straight out of the 1950s. Complete with appliances of old, an old stovepipe oven and a charming and quirky host, Ifan, we sipped and swilled our way through the wine list. This hipster friendly boutique winery is suited for a more mature palette and is the perfect spot for a long afternoon picnic.
Sated from a day of eating and drinking, we make our way to our home for the night, Novotel Barossa. Overlooking the vineyards from atop a hill, this hotel has everything a connoisseur needs – incredible views, a great locally-sourced menu of food and wine and a rumour that the boys from One Direction stayed here during their Australian tour.
We made an executive decision to have a quiet evening which involved antipasto, more wine and chocolate, Pitch Perfect 2 and an impromptu pillow fight.
The next morning, we drag ourselves out of bed, using the Novotel’s promise of a full buffet breakfast as motivation. Stocking our plates full of bacon, eggs, mushrooms, fresh fruit, yoghurt and a few serves of Coco Pops, we decided to hire some bikes for one final vineyard visit.
Jacob’s Creek has to be one of the most well-known wineries in the region and at just a 30-minute ride from the Novotel, it’s not too hard to get too (if you’re willing to trek up a hill or two along the way). The huge venue has plenty of bar space to cater to dozens of tasters at a time and the picnic area is vast. The wine list caters for all palettes, but the majority of selections are on the sweeter side and extremely easy to drink.
A few glasses of wine later, the ride back to Novotel was a little quicker and involved loads more giggles. The only way to finish a girl’s weekend is to pump up the tunes and engage in a bit of car dancing as you drive through a picture-perfect backdrop of rolling green paddocks and endless skies.
To book your own weekend in the Barossa, visit southaustralia.com.