We arrived back in Sydney tonight from a 4 day stay in the Barossa wine region in South Australia (near Adelaide). Quick summary here for you: go - if you can afford it and like red wine, go. You won't regret it.
We had a great time. We had decided to splurge by renting a small house, deviating a wee bit from the hostels that we are staying at the rest of the time. The place we rented was great - 360 degree views over rolling vineyards, horse farms, orchards, etc., a fireplace, whirlpool tub, and more. Pretty damn nice....except for all the damn bugs, including a complete infestation of one to two inch long millipedes. Glad to know they are harmless, not so glad to know that several have taken up shop in my luggage. Anyhow, a slight negative, but absolutely wonderful to have our own place.
The Barossa region was amazing - great wine, at wonderful prices, and all the tastings were absolutely free (except a few ultra premium tastings that Julie batted her eyes at me to get me to buy for her...). I should state now that we are well into a bottle of wine that we actually blended ourselves...good times, more on this later.
We visited several wineries known for inexpensive wine in the US but that actually have a huge array of premium and ultra premium ($100++) wines. Jacob's Creek, Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Yalumba, Peter Lehmann, and then a bunch of small boutique wineries (the best being Two Hands, if you can find it, buy it). Though we tasted many, many wines, sparkling and red, we did not taste a bad wine. Some weren't the best, but all good, and many amazing. Plus we got to try a wine unique to Australia, a sparkling red. Julie loved it, I am withholding judgment until I return to somewhat reality.
Barossa was beautiful - not a penned in valley like Napa, more like the Russian River area (rustic, other farms, pretty rolling hills).
To end our experience we decided to shell out a few bucks and get on a private blending seminar where Julie and I got to blend our own wine from three base grape varietals. We had a blast! And the wine we made actually turned out pretty well, especially I am fine to admit, Julie's (the lady leading us through the seminar said females are known to have better blending skills...)
Here we are mid-blending seminar...and after sampling quite a bit, for quality purposes of course. :)
Here's our final product - note the wine stains on my bottle - true genius doesn't mess with keeping things too neat. Julie's of course was perfect. Both wines were, much to our surprise, actually quite good.
After that experience we drove back to Adelaide and then flew to Sydney. Tomorrow we fly on to New Zealand to start 30 days of adventure, almost all on the south island.
Ok, got to run. Take care and much love from down under!!
While the wines at this boutique winery weren't our favorite they had a great tasting room that opened up onto a deck and looked out upon beautiful rows of grapes.