If travelling to Adelaide, it’s worth taking the 20 minute drive to the Adelaide HIlls, home to some of Australia’s great new-wave wine grower and producer stories. Adelaide Hills is one of the cooler wine regions of mainland Australia, and also one of the oldest. A veritable maze of valleys and sub-valleys, it stretches across the Mount Lofty ranges, from Mt Pleasant in the north, to Mt Compass in the south.
A Cool Climate
The area is surrounded by some of the most famous regions in South Australian wine, including the Barossa and Eden Valleys to the north and McLaren Vale to the south.
In January and February the days are warm, when the grapes are ripening. But the nights are generally cool. This significant diurnal variation* results in cool mean daily temperatures, which is what makes Adelaide Hills a world-famous high-quality cool climate region. Popular varietals include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Shiraz.
Grapes, figs and strawberries
The Hills sit between 400 and 700 metres above sea level. Aside from vineyards, you’ll find orchards rich in cherries, apples, figs and strawberries, as well as verdant dairy farmland. It’s one of Australia’s prettiest wine regions, and makes for a very pleasant road trip. The good news is, it’s just 20 minutes’ drive from Adelaide.
A case for the Queen
The first vines were planted in 1839, three years after South Australia was declared a province, and a case of wine was once sent to Queen Victoria. The replanting of the Adelaide Hills in the late 1970s and early 1980s was a pivotal time in Australian wine culture. Initial plantings were dedicated solely to fine wine, which saw a revolution in Sparkling Wine, Chardonnay and stunning cool climate Shiraz.
You're invited to a cellar door
Today you’ll find more than 50 wineries and cellar doors, which are open most days for tastings and cellar sales. An ever-experimental region, some wineries are seeing great success with other varieties, most notably Tempranillo, Montepulciano and Pinot Grigio. If you’re ever in Adelaide, put ‘The Hills’ on your must-do list.
*In weather, diurnal temperature variation is the variation between a high temperature and a low temperature that occurs during the same day. Peak temperature generally occurs after midday. Minimum daily temperature generally occurs after midnight.