There are more than 1700 winery cellar doors in Australia and here are some lesser-known cellar doors worth seeking out.
1. The Little Red Grape, Clare Valley. SA
This was one of those finds that was not on your plans, but you’re so glad you stopped! After a morning drive from the Barossa, I thought I’d pull up for a coffee. An hour later, I was stacking the cases of wine into the car! A bakery, a gift shop and a cellar door, this is the ultimate Clare Valley stop.
Owned by Dorham Pfeiffer, the cellar door acts as a face for many of the smaller producer’s that don’t have their own.
Some of my favourites were Mark Barry’s (Jim’s son) label Mad Bastard and the ultimate riesling producer RieslingFreak.
While you’re there, have a quick look in the gift shop and grab a bite to eat from the bakery. You too will spend longer than you planned there but your visit will be worthwhile!
2. The Lane, Adelaide Hills, SA
Probably one of the best views in the Adelaide Hills, The Lane is also known for more than their view.
The cellar door meals are second-to-none and their wines certainly challenge the best in the business. A must-do if you’re around over lunchtime is to grab a meal at The Lane and enjoy a bottle whilst dining with a cracker vineyard view.
The Lane’s single-vineyard wines constantly receive awards and high ratings.
3. Merilba Estate Winery , New England. NSW
Situated in the original stage coach station come sheering shed, this building is one of the best cellar doors I’ve ever visited.
Merilba is a relatively small producer, but brings out some beautiful wines, including a tempranillo and gewurtztraminer alongside more traditional varietals such as chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, . The service from owners Shaun and Kassy Cassidy is second-to-none, and the divine seasonal menus ensures the food is wow.
Needless to say, I’m a regular here.
4. Pieter Van Gent, Mudgee. NSW
This place is overlooked too often.
The cask hall is full of huge oak casks from Penfolds, which were once located in the basement of the Queen Victoria Building, and offers some great experiences, including the unique barrel room tasting.
One of my absolute favourites from this Mudgee producer is the white port – a unique sweeter style that lends itself an after-dinner tipple.
5. Alpha Box & Dice, McLaren Vale. SA
So definitely one for hipsters, this is certainly an experience you won’t forget by a great alternative producer from beautiful McLaren Vale.
This place was recommended to me by every other cellar door I went to in the region.
Renowned for their quirky blends, Alpha Box and Dice have some great eccentric decor and furnishings which only add to the atmosphere. The cellar door staff are some of the best I’ve ever been served by and really tell the story of each and every wine!
Now I know you’re going to question some of my choices here, but that’s the beauty of a list right?
So what makes a good Cellar Door experience? For me it’s those things that make each and every one unique. No doubt the wine is different, but take into account the people you meet, the meals you enjoy, the surroundings and location, all of these factors create a memorable cellar door.
What’s the beauty of this list? This is only a list to get you started. You could spend all day every day exploring wineries and still not see all of them ,so write your own list and make it your mission to visit the ones that you love.
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