Another instalment in my blogging duties for the lifestyle, inspo site Adelady…
This is the second year in a row that I’ll be flying back to Adelaide for a special event marked on my calendar with little Crayola Mini Stamper hearts. It’s not my Mum’s birthday or even my birthday for that matter, it’s the Adelaide Hills’ Winter Reds Cellar Door Weekend, 24–26 July 2015.
I love, love, love it, and have seven reasons why you’ll love it too:
1. A great excuse to break your winter hibernation
Yes, this sub-temperate weather is a bitch and you’d rather spend the weekend at home wrapped up like a blanket burrito watching episode after episode of Orange is the New Black, sitting dangerously too close to your portable heater.
But there’s no denying that a crackling Adelaide Hills fireplace, carb-loading lunch and glass/s of body-warming Shiraz are a hearty mix of reasons to crawl out of that snuggie cocoon of yours.
Now all you need to do is get on those boots and a beanie, round up some wine-toting sisters and choose a winery to hibernate within instead.
2. 30 different Adelaide Hills wineries to choose from
With over 30 participating Adelaide Hills wineries all offering up a unique twist of an experience across the three-day ‘playing with fire’-themed event, you can make the Winter Reds Cellar Door Weekend what you like.
The Adelaide Hills are most definitely putting on a show; from an Asian banquet (Howard Vineyard), and a Taco Cat and Burger Theory catered lunch while DJs spin the decks (Nepenthe) to a Spanish feast alongside a fire pit (Artwine) and a ‘Pinot Speakeasy’ complete with candlelit tables, dim lights and closed doors (Somerled).
Saturday, Sunday, take your pick. Some wineries are offering a lunch and tasting special on both days (some are only doing one day, so do check), with a few planning exclusive ticketed events to kick off the weekend on the Friday night. Either way, I’d definitely book so you don’t miss out.
Best to study the official program in detail and make a decision. Warning: it will cause some serious salivation.
3. It’s a local secret – no drunken crowds
The Adelaide Hills’ Winter Reds Cellar Door Weekend is reminiscent of McLaren Vale’s Sea and Vines Festival about 10 years ago when it was uber cool. That is before it started resembling ‘The Vic’ on a Friday night.
Only in its fifth year, the Winter Reds Cellar Door Weekend is still quite sophisticated. You blessedly don’t have to battle the drunken heaving crowds that have become synonymous with a wine festival. Sure there’s some ‘happy’ behaviour, but the weekend is more about appreciating good wine, good food and good company.
So don’t expect to find the plastic cup and goon sack-wielding bogans, falling out of mini buses, stealing wine glasses and eventually rowdily getting kicked out.
4. A bucket load of good wine
Personally I think Adelaide Hills’ cool-climate wines are underrated – they’re nothing short of amazing.
Spending an afternoon with your friends Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, do I need to say more?
5. Live music serenading you
If your gathered-up group of girlfriends aren’t proving the best of company then you can always chat to the musician. Actually, perhaps just listen to them. They may not be the best conversationalist either if they’re mid belting out a Sam Smith cover.
If live music is your thing, look out for those wineries hosting an afternoon with a backing track of acoustic (Glen Ewin Estate and Artwine), Latin (Pike and Joyce Wines) or jazz (Ngeringa), among others.
6. The Adelaide Hills are sexier than Margot Robbie
There is something breathtakingly beautiful about the Adelaide Hills in wintertime. Fog rolling across those well-watered, lush hills, orchards and vineyards – this is as close as you get to a winter wonderland. Alice would be beside herself.
7. Foodies will rejoice
A feast of some fantabulous fireside fare ties a neat little bow around convincing arguments for why you simply must attend the Adelaide Hills’ Winter Reds Cellar Door Weekend.
Choose from hearty winter-appropriate menu options such as spicy chilli beef potatoes (Anderson Hill), coq au vin (Deviation Road), slow braised lamb shanks (Paracombe Wines), rabbit risotto (Robert Johnson Vineyards), spit-roasted meats (Barristers Block Wines) and sticky date pudding (Mount Lofty House). YUM!!
So, what winery do I recommend?
I’ll be the one in a wine, winter heaven in Howard Vineyard’s rustic barn, up to my elbows in their six-course Asian degustation menu – courtesy of top chef Anthony Skibinski, who’s ex-Red Lantern in Sydney – and tasting list of new vintage reds. All for $69pp (excluding wines). I’ll see you there!