Barossa Valley wine tasting: Guide to the Shiraz region

As the region that put Australia on the international wine map, the Barossa Valley is arguably the influential wine growing area in South Australia – where most of the country’s finest wines hail from.

The so-called Barossa Zone, which incorporates two designated sub-regions – the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley – features some of the most picturesque countryside in Australia, while its closeness to Adelaide has made Barossa Valley wine tasting an incredibly popular pastime for visitors to South Australia.

Wine growing in the valley dates back to the first European immigrants in 1842, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that the region attracted interest from afar when a group of small but dedicated wineries produced a distinctive style of Shiraz that took the world by storm. Today there are over 150 wineries, ranging from small boutique estates to internationally recognised commercial producers such as Penfolds, Jacob’s Creek and Seppeltsfield – with most offering the Barossa Valley wine tasting experiences.

A Wine Paths, our local expert can organise exclusive, bespoke wine tours of the Barossa Valley and beyond, which can include elaborate tastings, luxury stay, fine dining experiences and some unique activities. Shiraz remains the most widely planted grape in the region, which is often supplemented by Grenache and Mourvedre to produce typically full-bodied red wines with rich chocolate and spice flavours.

Among other grape varieties that can be sampled as part of Barossa Valley wine tasting tour are Semillon, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, while Viogner, Marsanne and Roussane are also being experimented with. And, the nearby Eden Valley is renowned for the quality of its Riesling that is planted on elevated terraces where the cooler climate encourages wines with more intense acidity that can age extremely well.

A typical Barossa Valley wine tasting will involve exploring several vineyards accompanied by a professional guide (or the wine makers themselves), before the opportunity to taste several premium wines, often accompanied with local gourmet cuisine.

There are several specific food and wine trails that pair vintages with fresh local produce such as home-baked breads, smoked meats and artisan cheeses. Or, for cultural enthusiasts, there’s a chance of visiting the region’s charming heritage towns – where tastings can take place in cellar doors housed in historical buildings.

Although Adelaide is only around 35 miles away, the main towns in the Barossa Valley area – Lyndoch, Tanuda, Nurioopta and Angaston – offer a range of accommodation options that are recommended if you want to indulge yourself in a complete wine tour experience. There are numerous ways to discover the region, ranging from traditional tours to more intrepid means of travelling such as cycling, vintage cars, hot air balloons and even VIP helicopter rides.

Like many wine growing regions in South Australia, the Barossa Valley enjoys a Mediterranean climate characterised by warm dry summers and cool wet winters. It is possible to visit the region all year round, although harvest typically takes place between early February and April.

Every March, Barossa has a vintage celebration that features special tastings accompanied by various lunches and dinners. But, more importantly, the Barossa Vintage Festival is held every two years (in years ending with odd numbers) to celebrate wine, food, music, art and culture with around 100 events taking place over several days. To truly appreciate the region’s viticulture and history during a Barossa Valley wine tasting tour, we recommend spending between three-to-four days in the region – and there are several other wine-growing areas in South Australia including Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and McLaren Vale that are within driving distance.

Contact Wine Paths for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a Barossa Valley wine tasting experience.

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