Another instalment in my very serious blogging duties for the lifestyle, inspo site Adelady…
This is the third 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, 29–31 July 2016.
I love, love, love it, and have seven reasons why you’ll love it too:
1. The perfect 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. There are lots of 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 rolling out My Kitchen Rules winner Bree May to cook up a Spanish feast (Howard Vineyard) and a bush dance in the Uraidla Show Hall (brought to you by Basket Range Wine) to a paddock to plate masterclass (Ngeringa) and a Pinot-fuelled degustation of eight vintages matched with a four-course feast (Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard).
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. The Adelaide Hills Winter Reds Cellar Door Weekend is a hidden gem, free of 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 sixth 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. Did someone say wine? Good wine? Great 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. Some sweet, sweet sounds of music
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), DJ beats (Golding Wines) or blues (Longview Vineyard), among others.
6. The Adelaide Hills are Victoria Secret sexy
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 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 beef short ribs and sago pudding (Lobethal Road), Spanish paella (Deviation Road), chicken and leek pie (Paracombe Wines), wood-fired pizzas (Nepenthe Wines), rabbit risotto (Robert Johnson Vineyards) and spit-roasted burgers (Barristers Block Wines). YUM!!
So what’s my pick of wineries?
I’ll be the one in a wine, winter heaven at Pike & Joyce, enjoying a three-course lunch ($65pp excluding wines) that involves the word CHEESE, along with the pretty panoramic cellar door views. I’ll see you there!