With Crush Festival launching this weekend, the Adelaide Hills is set to kick off an expanded 2021 program of wine festivals in a bid to crush the memory of a challenging year.
Start a year-long love affair with Adelaide Hills wine at Crush 2021
The three-day Crush Festival is South Australia’s first major wine and food event for the year and is a great way to celebrate the premium cool climate region with friends and family.
The festival will include 30 events across 21 picturesque Adelaide Hills wineries from 22-24 January.
Together with the Winter Reds Festival each July, Crush has become a popular annual event, helping to attract thousands of wine lovers to the Adelaide Hills each year.
This year the Adelaide Hills Wine Region is also adding to two more events to its calendar – Chardonnay May and Sparkling Spring – to help drive visitation to the region year-round.
Adelaide Hills Wine Region Executive Officer Fiona LeSage says bushfires in late 2019, the onset of COVID-19, which closed cellar doors, and the implementation of Chinese wine tariffs had made for a challenging past 12 months.
However, she says people in the Adelaide Hills wine industry were feeling pretty positive and had embraced the new way of operating in a COVID-safe way.
“Last year Crush was a bit of a new world for them and there was some nervousness about how popular the festival would be after the fires and it turned out to be incredibly popular,” Fiona says.
“This year it is a more ticketed-based event than usual so we can make sure we’re adhering to all the guidelines and restrictions.
“A lot of people haven’t been able to get out as much as they might have hoped and it’s been quite a stressful 12 months for everyone so we’re hoping to provide a really nice, relaxed atmosphere this year with lots of picnic type events and events with music and DJs.”
Festivalgoers are being urged to pre-book for events, which are mainly ticketed and range from sit-down dinners with paired wines to family-friendly garden parties and 4WD vineyard tours.
The festival has traditionally begun on Friday night but this year’s event will get underway a little earlier with ‘Knock-off drinks’ at Murdoch Hill near Oakbank from 3pm.
Barrister’s Block Premium Wines will also host a Fiano Friday event at its Woodside cellar door from 6pm, while the Shaw + Smith Long Table Dinner will feature a delicious menu from Duncan Welgemoed and the team from Africola.
Across the weekend, Howard Vineyard will host their second International Dumplings and Rosé Festival, Jericho Wines will throw a Garden Party at the Uraidla Hotel, drinkers can stop by Karrawatta for Prawns on the Lawn, and Sun, Sizzle and Sorbet will keep you cool at Cobbs Hill Estate.
Bookings are essential for many of the events to manage COVID numbers and general entry to Crush non-ticketed events is via the purchase an official Adelaide Hills Wine Region Riedel wine glass for $10.
Fiona says Crush will mark the beginning of a big 2021 calendar for the region, which includes the inaugural Chardonnay May and Sparkling Spring events.
“These came about because people from interstate and overseas in particular were really calling out the Adelaide Hills for our exceptional Chardonnay and sparkling wines and the fact that we needed to make a bigger song and dance about what we had here,” she says.
“For us it is more than anything about promoting our region and giving people a reason to come up into the Hills to understand how much great food and wine is produced here.
The Lane Vineyard, just out of Hahndorf, will host two events on the Saturday and Sunday.
Crush for a Cause, which will donate a portion of ticket sales to Adelaide-based not-for-profit Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation, will feature live music and The Lane’s signature Frosé on the winery’s terrace in a picnic-style event with house-made burgers on the lawns from 11am to 6pm both days.
Inside, the winery’s restaurant will be converted to a VIP lounge with a full five-hour food and drink package limited to 50 guests on each day.
The Lane’s CEO Jared Stringer, who is also Adelaide Hills Wine Region President, say event organisers held a pre-brief with SA Health and the SATC this week.
He says the ticketed nature of the event and the huge variety of activities on offer was tailored to encourage festival participants to choose one venue per day and settle in.
“Crush gives people the chance to immerse themselves right before we start picking the fruit and we’ve got some pretty amazing views up here in the summertime, and we’re lucky as a cool climate region, too, that while we do get some warm days it’s still that little bit cooler than many of our other regions,” Jared says.
“It’s probably going to be a little bit different to previous years and we do encourage people to find a venue and settle in for the day rather than jump on a bus and get around to loads of different places.
“That’s something that worked well during Winter Reds last year – our first major festival after the COVID outbreak – and we look forward to getting as many people as possible revisiting us or coming to see us for the first time.”
Jared says he believes moving to a set venue format with pre-booked tickets was the way of the future for wine festivals.
“Each venue is doing something unique so people can choose the venue that suits them best from a more formal lunch or dinner with matched wines or live music set or a family friendly event with things for the kids to do,” he says.
“We’re such a diverse region and we offer so many different things that you don’t have to try to get around to every one – it’s responsible, it’s safe, it’s enjoyable and I think it’s going to ensure the longevity of our event.”
See the full range of Crush Festival events on offer at the website.