South Australia is very well known for the various wine regions, the one that is closest to Adelaide is the Adelaide Hills area. There are around 60 wineries (a fact that surprised me!) that produce cool climate wines. As a way of promoting the Adelaide Hills wine region a Winter Reds Weekend is happening July 28th to 30th.
Winter Reds Weekend
I had my first experience of visiting an Adelaide Hills winery this past week. (Surprising considering the area is so close! I'm more familiar with the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine regions) A reunion of sorts was organised to be held at the Mt. Lofty Ranges Vineyard at Lenswood, as well as some wine tasting, lunch was to be the main event!
The vineyard was established in 1992 (so not that old compared to some of the other wine areas), it had been an apple orchard. That's what I mainly knew the Lenswood area for, it was where apples are grown! There are still apple orchards and I passed through some on the way to the vineyard. The cellar door was opened in 1998 as was one of the first in the area, all this illustrates how young the wine industry is in the Adelaide Hills.
The vines are grown on the slopping hillside and are still hand pruned and the grapes handpicked. A very labour intensive way to care for the vineyard, most large scale vineyards are mechanically pruned and harvested. The owners want to retain the old style practices in running their vineyard.
There was a 360 degrees fireplace which I was VERY happy to see, it was cold! The Adelaide Hills are chilly in winter! The bar behind is where you could taste the wines that are produced from the vineyard, all very agricultural chic! The cellar door and restaurant building used materials from old demolished buildings so lots of reclaimed timbers and galvanised iron.
There was a lovely view out to the vineyard and the hills beyond, the bifold windows open up in the warmer weather so it makes for a real inside/outside feel to the restaurant.
There is an outdoor seating area, complete with knee rugs for those hardy enough to sit outside. The indoor option was far more appealing!
The restaurant, from Monday to Thursday offers a "Light Lofty Lunch' and then Friday to Sunday an a la carte and degustation luncheon. (Quoted from their website!) There were plenty of options on the "Light Lofty Lunch" menu, reasonably priced from $12 to $22.
The Roasted winter root vegetables salad, with Buffalo curd and almonds and honey. This was my order, a warm winter salad, the buffalo curd tasted like a mild sour cream, with the crunchy almonds the dish made for an interesting collection of tastes and textures.
Apple orchards, some are undercover to protect them from birds.
Vines and the Mt. Lofty Ranges.
Being so close to Adelaide, a day spent exploring the various wineries of the Adelaide Hills, would be a great way to get to know the area. As well as the scenery and the wine tasting there's also the bonus of sumptuous food!