Some truths are too little told. We know that you don’t need to be an oenologist to enjoy wine. And you definitely don’t need to be a seasoned traveller to find the best places to eat, relax, and enjoy. That’s not the problem. The problem is that when you are presented with an area that offers nothing but great wine, food and accommodation – how on earth do you choose?
Don’t stress – we’ve got you covered for the best cellar doors, restaurants, accommodation, and lastly Adelaide Hills wineries. We’ve taken the time to narrow things down from a burgeoning list of established wineries to 6 that are hands down the best in the region. But first, you’ll need to get there. . .
How to Get to Adelaide Hills
You can reach the hills in about 20 minutes by car from Adelaide city, with most of the main townships within half an hour of each other. Once there you can criss-cross the hills on bike, horseback or even steam train.
Adelaide Hills Wine
The variety of topographies in the hills, the altitude and the different rock and soil types make this region significantly cooler than your McClaren Vales and Barossa Valleys. Perfect conditions though for those classic cool-climate wines: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit concentration, natural acidity and flavour spectrum allowed by the climate and conditions help to distinguish the Hills’ wines among their competitors. If you’ve ever tasted the difference in the cleaner, almost lighter, Shiraz produced in the Hills and compared it to some other bold, earthy Shiraz from Coonawarra, you’re part-way to understanding what this region’s wine is all about.
Adelaide Hills Winery Restaurants
everyone knows that a good wine is complimented by great food. Adelaide Hills winery restaurants are known for their use of local produce and bold inspired flavour pairings. The Ginkgo Restaurant at Golding Wines certainly lives up to this standard with their seasonal menu flaring innovative Italian dishes and a long list of delicious wood-fired pizzas.
If you’re after a winery lunch in the Adelaide Hills we also recommend checking out the Sidewood Estate Restaurant. Their menu captivates patrons with the essence of the South Australian coastline guiding the flavours and components of the whole experience. the coffin bay octopus chargrilled, romesco, olives, and basil pairs perfectly with their 2020 Tempranillo rose.
Adelaide Hills Winery Accommodation
Your best bet for accommodation in Adelaide Hills is sticking around Hahndorf. In particular, Manna by Haus is a gorgeous, modern inspired hotel with executive or superior rooms and Spar Suites.
If you’re looking for a baller weekend away and luxury accommodation in the Adelaide Hills is more your style, indulge at Mount Lofty House. Its elegance is only surpassed by the experience. Capturing the unique style of an old British styled cottage in the countryside paired with a modern suede, roaring fire, and hearth rug decor on the inside.
The Best Adelaide Hills Wineries
Read on to find out Wine Regions Australia’s picks for the best Adelaide Hills wineries.
1. Golding Wines
The best winery experience in the Adelaide Hills region right now has to be that one going at Golding Wines in Lobethal. Among the winners in Gourmet Traveller’s ‘Best Cellar Door Awards’ of 2020, they also took out the Chanticleer Award for ‘Adelaide Hill’s Best Cellar Door’ prize the year before. They are open seven days a week, with the tasting room open from 11am, the Ginko Restaurant offering a Grazing Menu from Monday to Thursday and a whole range of other menu options Friday to Sunday. Outdoor seating in the warmer months make it perfect to kick back in the evening and, for the cooler months, the stone barn beside the Western Branch Vineyard becomes the setting for long and cosy nights. Their wine flights can feature a selected or a custom tasting, matched with plates of local produce.
Look out for their extensive list of delicious drops. They do a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Savagnin and a superb sparkling. But it’s their bundle of tailored ‘Experiences’ that got us.
Golding offer small-group ‘Wine Safari’ tours; a ‘Hamper in the Hills’ self-guided picnic where you can pick up a basket loaded with wine and food, wander the trestles and set up lunch wherever you like; and there’s the ‘Nido Experience’ where you and your friends can climb and sit in human-sized “nests” that look down over the hills into the vineyards. This one comes with all drinks, a six-course lunch of seasonal dishes and a dedicated concierge to attend to your every whim.
Well, not quite. But one afternoon or evening here will have you feeling magisterial, we don’t doubt it.
4.4⭐️ Google Review from 107 reviews
4.0⭐️ Trip Advisor from 104 reviews
2. Shaw + Smith
Awarded ‘Best Tasting Experience’ by Gourmet Traveller in 2021 and co-founded by the first Australian to make good on the Master of Wine examination, we just had to have Shaw + Smith in the list. Cousins Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith MW established their brand in 1989 and in 1999 planted their Lenswood vineyard, growing mainly Chardonnay and PinotNoir, with a smattering of Sauvignon Blanc. These vines sit at an altitude of 500 metres on soil that is brown loam over clay, with broken shale at the ridges. Their Balhannah vineyard, where you’ll find the winery itself, is sandy loam over red clay with underlying shale and quartzite and is up at around 420 metres. This second vineyard was planted in 2000 with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz, bringing the total growing area to 136 acres.
Be sure to book at the Balhannah winery site where Wine Flights start at $25 per person (where you’re invited to taste five Shaw + Smith wines and three local cheeses) and range up to the ultimate “Friday Table” experience ($240 per person) that includes a hosted tour that goes behind the scenes of the winery and, of course, wine tasting and lunch. The tasting room is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm.
4.6⭐️ Google Review from 208 reviews
4.0⭐️ Trip Advisor from 175 reviews
3. Sidewood Estate
Nestled in the hamlet of Hahndorf is the Sidewood Estate, established in 2004 by Owen and Cassandra Inglis with their 120 hectare ‘Mappinga’ estate near Oakbank. Of their three vineyards, it is the coolest in temperature, housing Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. They have a specialist Shiraz site in Echunga and, along with bottling facilities and the winery itself, the sun-soaked Nairne site. Control of every stage from vine to glass is your assurance of quality for this Hills institution. They have dedicated themselves to good environmental practice too, being the largest fully Entwine Accredited sustainable winery in the Adelaide Hills. This allows the Australian Wine Research Institute to continue their work in supporting winegrowers’ sustainability goals. And even though they have already claimed over 20 trophies and 200 gold medals from all over the world, this is a wine label that seem poised for even bigger things. And I haven’t even got to the restaurant and cellar door!
In among the gum trees and landscaped gardens, the striking black outside contrasts with the warm wood and stone of the bar overlooking the petanque and lawn bowl courts. The space also holds a gallery that features some impressive works of Australian art. All their famous wines can be sampled and expertly matched to their menu.
4.4⭐️ Google Review from 156 reviews
NA⭐️ Trip Advisor
4. Mount Lofty Vineyards
Mount Lofty Vineyards can boast one of the best views of any of the wineries we’ve mentioned here. An intimate, almost cottage-like restaurant and bar overlooking deep sloping valleys. The word “breathtaking” was invented only to describe this place – you just know it’s been the perfect stage for everything from weddings to more casual get-togethers. The restaurant is open seven days, includes some great vegetarian options and looks pretty reasonable for the kind of deliciousness they describe on their menu. They do small plates from Monday to Thursday and Friday to Sunday offer three- and five-course options. But what about their wine? We’re glad you asked. The vineyards were established in 1992 at Mount Lofty’s Lenswood property which sits atop a sandy clay loam with a rock base of quartz, sandstone and ironstone. The minerality of this terroir, the land itself, is, as always, at the heart of a wine and the Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes so far bottled attests to this magic spot.
4.5 ⭐️ Google Review from 98 reviews
4.5 ⭐️ Trip Advisor from 137 reviews
5. Hahndorf Hill Winery
Hahndorf Hill’s ‘ChocoVino Experience’ has been rated among international Top 10 polls forfood and wine must-dos. The experience involves matching their signature wines to some of France and Australia’s finest, most delectable, chocolates. Mmmm. . .red wine berry flavours and sweet, earthy cocoa goodness -yes, please! Their wine flights also match cheeses and – wait, wha? – ice-cream? Here’s my card – book me now!And there’s a view to die for. The tasting room opens onto a sun-drenched deck overlooking acres of vines. It’s a small place – not too flashy – and it doesn’t need to be. Intimate afternoons and evenings are the key to its charm.Their wines include the cool-climate favourites Pinot Grigio and Hills-style Shiraz and intriguing mix of little-known Austrian grape varieties in Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt and GrünerVeltliner. And they have an excellent brotherly-red-blend called ‘Compatriots’ and a lovely dry Rosé.
4.6⭐️ Google Review from 89 reviews
4.5⭐️ Trip Advisor from 255 reviews
6. Bird In Hand Winery
Bird in Hand’s philosophy is like that of a growing number of South Australian wineries, one geared toward the environment, sustainability and respect for the country. A family run business that is looking to the future, they work with the surrounding environment of the Adelaide Hills by including native vegetation near to the vines, using biodiversity as a tool Their Chardonnay grapes have been raised from original plant clones from Burgundy, a region that perfectly matches the conditions at the Woodside Vineyard and its 80 acres of vines that receive the sea breeze up from the Gulf of St. Vincent and the moisture that drifts down from the Mount Lofty. And their range is huge – look at this list: Riesling, Merlot, Nero d’Avola, Pinot Gris (vegan friendly), Pinot Nero Rose, a dry Rose, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, a sparkling Pinot, Montepulciano and, of course, their signature Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Whew. Oh, and they make their own extra virgin olive oil if you need just a bit more Mediterranean goodness to go with that tasting you’ve got tomorrow. . .
3.9 ⭐️ Google Review from 126 reviews
4.5 ⭐️ Trip Advisor from 288 reviews