Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia
In the Barossa Valley, Seppeltsfield has several significant updates in the pipeline, most notably the property’s new six-star hotel: Oscar Seppeltsfield. Developers are planning to break ground in late 2023/early 2024; the new A$50m luxury hotel will boast 71 rooms across 12 storeys, creating what’s been referred to as ‘a Sydney Opera House for the Barossa’. In the meantime, the winery is busy transforming its historic cellars beneath the cellar door into a new tasting room, with works due for completion by end of October 2023.
Longstanding UWEA member Jacob’s Creek has commenced a new culinary partnership, with local Barossa restaurant Harvest Kitchen shifting its seasonal kitchen from Vine Vale to the Jacob’s Creek site at Rowland Flat. A soft launch took place earlier this month, with an official opening planned for December. The team is currently finessing the new menu which will have a Middle East-meets-Mediterranean feel, showcasing South Australian produce. Next door at St Hugo, October will see the latest release of the winery’s flagship red wine – the Vetus Purum – a Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2015 vintage. This release will coincide with the launch of St Hugo’s new Vault experience that features a tasting of new and back vintage Vetus Purum, alongside some other treasures from the St Hugo cellar. This experience is privately hosted in St Hugo’s beautiful vault.
South of Adelaide in McLaren Vale, 2024 will mark the 60th anniversary of when d’Arenberg’s first cellar door was built and opened to the public. In 1964, third generation Chief Winemaker d’Arry Osborn built d’Arenberg’s first tasting room to attract visitors and increase sales. Two years later another tasting room – now the laboratory – was built to accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors, followed by d’Arry’s Verandah restaurant and tasting room in 1996 and the d’Arenberg Cube in 2017.
NEW SOUTH WALES
In the cool climate region of Orange, Printhie Wines is constantly evolving and expanding its experiences (fly-fishing, anyone?). A new sparkling wine and oyster tasting experience will be launching in October, where guests start with behind-the-scenes access to the Printhie Dining kitchen to see the oyster tank and personally select four oysters which are served with perfectly matched vinaigrettes and Printhie’s renowned traditional method Swift sparkling wines.
In the Hunter Valley, 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Tyrrell’s prestigious Vat 47 Chardonnay, which was the first commercially released Chardonnay in Australia. Named after the cask in which it was originally fermented, the Vat 47 has been a pacesetter for the Chardonnay varietal in Australia and today is made with fruit solely from the prized Short Flat vineyard. The 2021 Vat 47 Chardonnay – the 50th vintage of this iconic piece of Australian wine history – was released in July 2023 and is available to purchase at the cellar door or online.
At nearby Brokenwood, May 2024 will see the 40th annual Graveyard Launch Celebration event followed by the 33rd release of the legendary Graveyard Shiraz. Pencil in August 2024 too for the release of the ILR Reserve Semillon; the current vintage (2017) of which scored 98 points in the 2024 Halliday Wine Companion.
Stanton & Killeen in Rutherglen is renovating the original fortified winery and transforming into a dedicated space for events and experiences. The refurbishment will highlight the impressive timber trusses, 19th century concrete fermentation vats, and 100-year-old fortified casks. 2023 also marks the centenary release of Stanton & Killeen’s 2021 Jack’s Block Shiraz, celebrating 100 years of their oldest vineyard planted by fourth generation winemaker Jack Stanton in 1921. Stay tuned also for changes to the world-renowned Rutherglen Muscat and Topaque Classification, due to be released in 2024.
In the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, 10 Minutes by Tractor is working on an experience involving its new wine bar, Allis, to be launched in early November; along with a renewed focus on attracting corporate groups with dedicated business events packages to be released at the end of September. Stay tuned also for two brand-new wine releases at the end of October: a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir, both with serious cred.
In the Margaret River region, Voyager Estate is leading the sustainability charge and in 2023 is celebrating a significant ecological milestone: it’s the first year that every grape grown at the Estate is certified organic. They’re also involved in the Carbon and Biodiversity Pilot Program run by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, which will play a key part in their commitment to reduce net carbon emissions as a silver status member of International Wineries for Climate Action (ICWA). Voyager Estate is also soon to release its first preservative-free (PF) wine – the 2023 Vivid Red – to diversify its range and offer a PF-option to those seeking low-intervention wines.
At Vasse Felix, the region’s founding wine estate, October will see the release of the winery’s 50th vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon was the first commercially released Cabernet in the region, so 2023 marks 50 years of Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon. Vasse Felix is also working on building its sparkling wine brand Idée Fixe, which is being made at its dedicated sparkling production house south of Margaret River (the former site of Watershed Wines). Stay tuned for more developments.