Just 20 miles long, Australia’s most famous wine region is an enchanting place, with a landscape of rolling hills and neat vineyards. Its small but sophisticated towns such as Tanunda and Lyndoch display a Teutonic tidiness, which, along with excellent sausages and Lutheran churches, provides evidence of the German immigrants who joined the original British settlers. Most Barossa Valley wineries and cellars are low-key compared with the grand estates of the Napa Valley and the châteaux of Bordeaux, but they offer warm and unpretentious hospitality. The Barossa should be toured at a gentle pace, stopping for wine tastings, excellent meals and walks down old-fashioned main streets lined with bakeries, craft shops and boutiques.
During harvest time, March through April, the vineyards and wineries are at their most active. Private tastings can be arranged, however, winemakers have more time to sit down and chat during other seasons. Oenophiles worldwide covet the finest Barossa Shiraz for the robust flavors that are a result of complex geological conditions — small, twisting subvalleys and sandy soils — combined with low humidity, limited rainfall and generally warm temperatures.
Eden Valley Wines
Eden Valley is both a town and a significant wine-growing area that is part of the Barossa region. Its signature varieties are Riesling and Shiraz. Henschke, which dates to the 1860s, lies a short drive from Eden Valley township. Its flagship Shiraz, Hill of Grace, is world-renowned.
Most wineries have tasting and sales rooms — here called “cellar doors.” Tastings are free, up to a point. Choose three or four wines, then use them as a springboard for a discussion with the staff. They appreciate your interest and can better direct your tasting if you give them a general sense of what you enjoy.