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July 20, 2023

Open up to a bottler of a weekend in the Adelaide Hills

Three days seems hardly enough to take in everything at the upcoming Winter Reds festival. So, we’re here to help you give it your best shot.

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  • This article was produced in collaboration with Adelaide Hills Wine Region.

Looking at the 48 events programmed for this year’s Winter Reds festival, it could leave one wondering how on earth it should be approached.


Winter Reds 2023
28–30 July
Multiple locations in the Adelaide Hills
Tickets and more info

The three-day festival presented by the Adelaide Hills Wine Region (AHWR) celebrates those cool climate reds that the region does so well. And that means there is a lot of wine to taste!

AHWR’s Amy Hickling says the easiest way to find your path is to explore the event categories – alliteratively and helpfully themed as Fire + Feast, Tour + Taste and Cosy Classes.

“If you only have one day to enjoy Winter Reds and you want to experience the diversity of the Hills, I recommend finding a designated driver or booking a mini bus with friends, and getting to a few of the Tour + Taste events,” Amy says.

“These are great for visiting different wineries over the day and you can buy a glass of wine and some food at each place.”

Of course, there’ll be cosy fires and cool beats to soundtrack your day. And if you’re short a designated driver, there’s a range of bus loops to take you from Adelaide CBD to cellar door and back. Or download a cellar door map to plan your own route between wineries.

Picking a hills town as your epicentre can make for easier decisions and a leisurely short drive between venues, Amy suggests.

“For example, near Hahndorf you can go to Hesketh at Grunthal, Nepenthe, Adelaide Hills Wine Bar and Sidewood Estate.

“Around Lobethal you have Anderson Hill, Golding and Tilbrook Estate, and in Woodside, you can go from Artwine, to Barristers Block and then Murdoch Hill.”

If you’re a wine novice, but need some conversation starters, Amy has plenty of interesting titbits to prepare you for sprinkling into your conversation. (This writer wrongly assumed that white wines dominate the region.)

“It’s true that Adelaide Hills does make great white wines, but Winter Reds is actually the longest running wine festival in the Adelaide Hills, since it began in 2009,” Amy says.

“Red varieties have been grown here for a long time before that. In fact, there are some 120-year-old Shiraz vines up in Paracombe that were planted in 1903, which Max Schubert used in Penfolds Grange back in the day!

“Shiraz, or Syrah, grown in the cooler climate of the Adelaide Hills has unique peppery notes and tends towards elegance over intensity on the palate, compared with those grown in our warmer neighbouring regions of McLaren Vale and Barossa.

“We also grow lots of other interesting red varieties. Including Pinot Noir, of course – the Hills being the only place in South Australia that is cool enough for this finicky variety.

“In the last two decades, we’ve seen an explosion of other interesting red varieties, including Spanish varieties like Tempranillo, and Italian varieties of Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Barbera.

“And now a rapidly rising star is Gamay, which wine writer Tony Love revealed the wonders of in a recent InDaily story.”

This less knowledgeable writer may have to follow Amy’s recommendation to take one of the Cosy Classes and, guided by a winemaker, delve into the nuances of the wine. Strictly for research purposes, of course.

Taking it easy and doing nothing will also be an acceptable option.

“If you’re the kind of person who prefers to sit down at once place, and have your food and wine brought to you, I’d recommend choosing one of the Fire + Feast events,” Amy says.

“These are more sit down, multi-course set menus, and there’s a range of options for warming lunches or decadent dinners, all accompanied by outstanding Adelaide Hills red wines.

“Bookings are required and the ticket prices tend to be a bit higher but all the food, wine and entertainment is included.”

Amy says some of the Fire + Feast events will have the winemaker talking about the wines during the meal.

All in all, it promises to be the perfect (and packed) long weekend!

For more information, head to the Winter Reds website.

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