South Australia’s first state cellar door wine festival!


On 25 February 2011, the first ever state cellar door festival was launched in Adelaide. Over 100 wineries attended, each presenting their best wares. It stretched over three days – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and the perfectly chosen venue was the Adelaide Convention Centre near the railway station in the centre of Adelaide.

The general feel of the wineries and the attendees was that it was a roaring success with over 3,000 tickets sold for this inaugural event, and people were truly interested in the wines and the wineries, not just coming along to see how inebriated they could get – a criticism of some wine events! There was an overwhelmingly friendly and relaxed atmosphere and at every wine stand I went to I was welcomed warmly and shown the wines with enthusiasm and without pressure. I shall certainly attend in 2012 if they organise this again and would encourage wineries to participate and wine lovers to come along and enjoy it.

The $20 ticket included an elegant Riedel glass (RRP $20) which was perfect for the tasting and it entitled you to unlimited tastings. It also included a $5 token to buy a glass of wine – although some wines cost $10 for a glass, as was the one I chose – an Amadio sagrantino – see below. There were also a number of master classes at an extra cost.

I attended for the whole day on the Sunday (7.5 hours!) and did not run out of people to talk to and wines to taste, arriving at 10.30am and leaving as it was closing at 6pm. I barely scratched the surface, visiting a fraction of the stands, although I did my best for the sake of my readers!

The venue was ideal, with plenty of space and a very clear layout. Wineries were organised by key South Australian regions and there were also a few micro-breweries represented. (Full list at the end of this article.)

In addition, the premier sponsor of the event, A+ Australian Wine – Wine Australia, had a large stand with varietals – they were presenting a bottle from each of (most of) the wineries, giving an excellent overview of the whole event. The two clear standouts for me at this stand were Knappstein’s Clare Valley (Watervale) hand-picked 2010 riesling – which had great length, honey characters, strongly varietal and rounded fruit; and a Barossa wine that surprised me – Amadio winery’s 2009 sagrantino – an interesting Italian red variety that gave me tomato leaf, rhubarb and cherry. A pleasing amount of fruit sweetness balanced with modest oak, it was a medium-bodied red wine with a long finish. Fabulous – this is the kind of experience that makes these events memorable.

Looking at the regional stands, the first region I came to was Fleurieu/McLaren Vale. Although I am familiar with most of the wineries there, it is always good to refresh your memory and try their latest releases. I stopped by Serafino, Chapel Hill, Penny’s Hill, d’Arenberg, Dog Ridge, Hugh Hamilton and Vinteloper. There were so many to try that I mainly noted the standouts – purely subjective of course:

Penny’s Hill 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – lovely fruit, great varietal characters, only $24.

Vinteloper’s ‘Adelo’ (meaning obscure) – a 2010 blend of touriga, shiraz and pinot noir – an obscure blend – but it worked for me!

My pick of Coonawarra was the Raidis Estate winery – I loved all of the wines I tried – the riesling, pinot gris and the cabernet sauvignon, all giving generous yet elegant fruit and all notably varietal. Typifying Coonawarra the cabernet had a gentle hint of eucalypt. The labels were memorable by the goats, signifying the goats that they have at the vineyards eating the grasses and cover crops.

I visited the St Mary’s Wines stand, representing the Limestone Coast and was pleasantly surprised to find some aged reds, particularly a 2001 merlot and 2006 cabernet sauvignon, made in the European, elegant Bordeaux style. The cabernet was just beautiful.

From Langhorne Creek I had to stop by and see Anne and Mac of Cleggett winery – of white cabernet sauvignon fame – I visited their winery recently and wrote the whole story behind their white and bronze cabernet sauvignon grapes (see “White cabernet sauvignon – sampling a world first from South Australia“). They had brought along some bunches of the bronze and white grapes to show people, picked that very morning (pictured).

Adelaide Hills is an area I am very familiar with so I went to a winery I was not familiar with – Coobara, in Birdwood. Their labels have a range of birds on them, making them memorable and attractive. I very much enjoyed their low alcohol 2010 riesling (10.0%) which had a fruity, zingy nose and a slight sweetness on the palate with a clean finish. The pinot gris was also pleasing with a smokiness on the palate, rounded generous fruits and great length.

I also must mention the Paracombe Adelaide Hills 2007 Cabernet Franc – always a good wine.

From Clare Valley a new winery for me was the Good Catholic Girl Wines. The 2007 shiraz was rich and flavoursome. A definite standout.

Neagles Rock presented some lovely Clare Valley offering, with great fruit, especially the sangiovese, a lighter style of red wine.

I had to taste some of the Paulett’s riesling too – always exceptional and did not disappoint.

Last but not least for me after a long day of tasting was the Barossa – I headed to my friends at Barossa Valley Estate – these guys always produce a most excellent shiraz for all ranges in the price spectrum, up to the E&E Black Pepper Shiraz, current release 2006 – an icon of South Australia in my opinion.

I sincerely hope that this event is supported even more strongly in 2012 as it has the potential to be one of the best wine events of the year. The list of wineries who attended is provided below and I have added a few photos to give you a feel for the day.



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For your reference, this is the list of wineries represented, plus a few SA micro breweries:

Amadio Wines
Coobara Wines
Golding Wines
Hermitage Premium Wines
Howard Vineyard
K1 by Geoff Hardy
Kersbrook Hill Wines
Nepenthe Wines
One Planet Cellars
Paracombe Wines
Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill
Protero Wines
The Lane Vineyard
Tomich Wines

Balthazar Barossa
Barossa Valley Estate
Craneford Wines
Domain Day
God’s Hill Wines
Gumpara Wines
Hart of the Barossa
Hentley Farm Wines
Jamabro Wines
Linfield Road Wines
Milhinch Seize the Day Wines
Murray Street Vineyards
Saltram Wine Estate
Schild Estate Wines
Smallfry Wines
Soul Growers
St Hallett Wines
Tomfoolery Wines
Winter Creek
Wolf Blass Wines

Annie’s Lane
Good Catholic Girl Wines
Jeanneret Wines
Kilikanoon Wines
Knappstein Enterprise Winery & Brewery
Neagles Rock
O’Leary Walker Wines
Paulett Wines
Reillys Wines
Sevenhill Cellars
Stephen John Wines
Taylors Wines
Tim Adams Wines
Tim Gramp Wines

Battle of Bosworth Wines
Cascabel Winery
Chapel Hill
Conte Estate Wines
Dowie Doole
Hardys Tintara
Haselgrove  Wines – Modern McLaren Vale
Hugh Hamilton Wines
J&J Wines
Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards
Leconfield – Home of Richard Hamilton Wines
Oxenberry Wines
Penny’s Hill & Mr Riggs Cellars
Rosemount Estate
Serafino Wines
Ulithorne Wines
Vinteloper Wines
Wirra Wirra Vineyards
Yangarra Estate Vineyard
Zimmermann Wine

Cleggett Wines
Gipsie Jack Wines
Hearland Wines
John’s Blend by John Glaetzer
Kimbolton Wines
Lake Breeze Wines
Rusticana Wines
Step Rd

Mosquito Hill Wines

Brand’s Laira Coonawarra
DiGiorgio Family Wines
Flint’s of Coonawarra
Hollick Wines
Leconfield Coonawarra
Penley Estate
Raidis Estate
Rymill Coonawarra
Zema Estate – Coonawarra

Henry’s Drive Vignerons
Morambro Creek

St Mary’s Wines

919 Wines
Banrock Station Wine & Wetland Centre
Mirabella Vineyards
Spook Hill Wines

SA Micro Breweries
Knappstein Enterprise Winery & Brewery
McLaren Vale Beer Company

About tigchandler

English-born, lived several years in Wellington, NZ, then in Adelaide, South Australia, and recently moved back to New Zealand. With an economics background, I have worked in researching wine consumption patterns, marketing, economics and social media at the University of Adelaide. I also worked a vintage and in wineries in McLaren Vale so have seen both the research/analytical side of the industry and the practical/hands-on side. I have retail experience and many ongoing industry links all around Australia and overseas. This blog reflects my ongoing passion for everything related to the wine industry.
This entry was posted in Barossa wine, Cabernet sauvignon, Langhorne Creek wine, McLaren Vale wine, New World wine, Riverland wine, South Australian wine, Syrah/Shiraz, Wine events, Wine news, Wine varietals and blends and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to South Australia’s first state cellar door wine festival!

  1. WineQuota says:

    Nice one Tig! I liked Vinteloper’s ‘Adelo’ too! I reckon his Pinot Noir was even better.

  2. Amanda says:

    Great post on a fantastic event. it was an impressive weekend with only one or two tweaks required to make it perfect for next year – a credit to Olivia Stratton, the organiser.
    I struggled to pick favourites, but the Raidis Estate Cab Sav was new to us and particularly notable.

    • tigchandler says:

      Hi Amanda thank you for your comment. Yes a credit to Olivia for sure! I’m sure there were hundreds of standout wines, I couldn’t get round them all! I reckon I need to go all three days next time.

  3. Pingback: Encore! The second South Australian cellar door wine festival | Wine news from Tigchandler

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