“The cool thing is…you will find exciting wines to drink in the humblest of places,” says Mark Davidson, Wine Australia’s education manager for North America. Indeed, the South Australian capital has an explosive culinary scene that keeps growing, fueled in part by first-rate wine regions within an hour’s drive. The city and its winegrowing hills boast a funky counterculture driven by creativity and minimalism. From skin-contact bottlings, to classic Riesling, carbonic Grenache and beyond, Adelaide does it all.
Wine While You Dine
The Adelaide Central Market, running strong since 1869, has more than 70 stalls that range from brekkie (breakfast) vendors to wine purveyors and then some, like Jamface Central, that sell both. An elevated pub menu at The Crafers Hotel covers French dishes that twist on the country’s classics like prawn and barramundi curry, but the stellar wine list commands the spotlight.
In Adelaide Hills, you can savor sweeping views with South Australia wine selections at Hardy’s Verandah restaurant at the Mount Lofty House. A fantastic cocktail bar, Gin Long Canteen’s salt-and-pepper eggplant has achieved local fame. At Restaurant Orana, pace through 20 or so courses of modern Australian fare. Casual spots with considered lists include breezy industrial Peel Street and regional Thai-focused Soi.38. BYO T-Chow Chinese Restaurant is a standby for members of the wine trade.
The Hills Are Alive with Natural Wine
Despite its diminutive size, the cool-climate Adelaide Hills region has earned a global reputation for minimal-intervention winemaking, at least among the natural wine crowd. Ochota Barrels has been a darling of sommeliers for years. Discover all the fuss at Lost in a Forest, a cellar door/lounge that offers wood-fired pizza housed in a quaint former church. Try the anchovy-based Jesus Fish pie with a glass of Kids of the Black Hole Riesling. The self-deprecating, self-proclaimed “lazy” winemaking duo behind The Other Right also pours at LiaF.
Just yonder, The Summertown Aristologist showcases several low-intervention bottles like those of its owners, Anton van Klopper of Lucy Margaux Wines and Jasper Button from Commune of Buttons. BK Wines adopted the “Don’t Tread on Me” motto to capture its philosophy of “creativity not conformity.” Wines like the Skin n Bones White and their Gin-n-Bones vermouth have a hard time making it to the U.S. market, so you’d be wise to try them while you’re here. Charlotte Dalton Wines puts out a fresh perspective on Sémillon, while Jauma sells out of its preservative-free Grenache in a flash (pro tip: check for organic cherries as consolation if you miss out).
The Route to Kangaroo Island
A 35-minute flight or 3½ hour ride by car and ferry alights on Kangaroo Island, home to diverse landscapes, wildlife and wineries. Visit weird rocks and wild beaches inside Flinders Chase National Park, and snap pics of the playful pups at Seal Bay Conservation Park.
Hit the Kangaroo Island Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail for numerous wine-and-food sampling itineraries. Watch and learn as angasi oysters get harvested and shucked at The Oyster Farm Shop, then sip Cabernet Sauvignon on the deck at Dudley Wines. Other spots for wine tasting include Bay of Shoals and The Islander Estate Vineyards, while Two Wheeler Creek Wines does incomparable crayfish paired with Sauvignon Blanc at on-site Marron Café. Book a stay at the Southern Ocean Lodge, a stunning cliffside retreat with some of the region’s best food and drink.