A Guide to Exploring Adelaide’s Wine Regions inner banner

A Guide to Exploring Adelaide’s Wine Regions

Visitors to the South Australian capital are spoilt for choice for opportunities to go grape grazing. Use this handy guide to Adelaide's wine regions to plan your day amongst the vines.
Guide to Adelaide's wine regions
Shaw and Smith, Adelaide Hills. Image: Andre Castellucci

Drive in almost any direction from Adelaide and before too long you’ll find yourself surrounded by rolling hills clad in grape vines.

South Australia produces half of the country’s wine and three quarters of its premium drops, and the wine regions clustered around the capital are world renowned.

Here’s a guide to Adelaide’s wine regions, and what you need to know before heading out to explore.

Ten of the best things to do in the Adelaide Hills
Ashton Hills, Adelaide Hills. Image: Jonathan van der Knaap

Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley is by far Australia’s most famous wine-producing area. Grapes were first planted here in 1842 and today swathes of these same gnarled old vines are a dramatic feature of the landscape. Early Silesian settlers also left their mark in other ways and the German heritage is still visible in the fantastic bakeries and smallgoods producers to be found in the valley.

Warm days on the valley floor make for robust wines and the region is most famous for big, bold reds. Rich, velvety shiraz is the hero varietal and the most famous is Henschke’s Hill of Grace. You should also try Kellermeister’s Wild Witch shiraz, which was named the best in the world (London Wine Competition, 2019).

Guide to Adelaide's wine regions
Henschke Hill of Grace vineyard. Image: Barossa Grape and Wine Association

For amazing fortifieds, make Seppeltsfield your first port of call. Down in the Centennial Cellar there’s an unbroken line of deliciously sweet tawny vintages stretching back well over a century. Book a tour of the cellar combined with lunch at in-house eatery Fino.

McLaren Vale

Long overshadowed by the Barossa, McLaren Vale has come into its own in the past decade. Ringed by rolling hills and brilliant sandy beaches, it’s an absurdly beautiful wine region — and one of Australia’s greenest, thanks to the many biodynamic and organic vineyards that operate here. There’s plenty of variation in the soil and climate throughout the Vale and this is mirrored in the myriad wine styles produced. Mediterranean varietals, including fiano, verdelho, sangiovese and barbera, do particularly well, alongside more traditional French varietals like grenache and shiraz.

Guide to Adelaide's wine regions
Coriole, McLaren Vale. Image: South Australian Tourism Commission/Josie Withers

In addition to its winemaking prowess, McLaren Vale is a hotbed of artistic and culinary talent. Experience all three at the iconic d’Arenberg Cube, then do a combined olive and wine tasting at Coriole. The latter’s cellar door is perched on a hill with stunning views over the country’s first fiano plantings. To see the future of Australian wine, pop into Yangarra Estate. Here, careful land management is yielding exquisite wines that have won just about every award going.

Adelaide Hills

As the name suggests, the Adelaide Hills is South Australia’s highest elevation wine district. Although just 20 minutes’ drive from the city, the lush, leafy region is notably cooler and wetter than the Adelaide plains and well-suited to agriculture. Winding roads lead you through a patchwork of farmland, picturesque vineyards, lakes and valleys. It feels seductively secluded, without being too isolated.

Guide to Adelaide's wine regions
Deviation Road, Adelaide Hills. Image: South Australian Tourism Commission

The Hills’ cool climate wines are quite different to other South Australian offerings, with crisp sauvignon blanc, elegant chardonnay and smooth pinot noir predominating. The last two often find their way into sparkling wines and some of the best can be sampled at Deviation Road. Other must-visit cellar doors include Shaw and Smith (where you can pair delightfully complex wines with local cheeses) and Ashton Hills, which has been leading the way for Australian pinot for decades.

Clare Valley

The first vine plantings in the Clare Valley were for sacramental wine, and almost 170 years later Sevenhill is still supplying religious institutions. Fortunately, plenty of table wine also comes out of this small but scenic valley two hours’ drive north of Adelaide. Charming cellar doors are clustered together and you can cycle between them on the Riesling Trail. It runs the full length of the valley.

Guide to Adelaide's wine regions
Sevenhill, Clare Valley. Image: Jonathan van der Knaap

On the way you’ll encounter plenty of riesling vines; the Clare Valley is the style’s spiritual home in Australia and still leads the way with zesty, acidic drops that can be aged for up to 20 years. The most famous blocks are located on the broken slate near Polish Hill River, but you’ll find it all over the valley, alongside fragrant shiraz and cab sav with berry and chocolate aromas.

The dry mineral-rich wines at Grosset are the archetypal Clare Valley rieslings, while Shut The Gate specialises in single vineyard wines and experiments with a number of lesser-known varietals. Pikes was established as a brewery in 1885, but today you can sample a range of wines alongside their beers while looking out over the vines from onsite restaurant Slate.

Guide to Adelaide's wine regions
A guide to Adelaide’s wine regions: Slate. Image: Pikes Wines

National Wine Centre

Sample wines from all of the above without leaving town at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide. It represents these, and over 40 other Australian wine regions. Fifteen varietals grow in the garden outside and the discovery museum explains how wine is made. But the best part is to be found at the bar, where enomatic dispensers allow you to taste 120 different wines and even pit your wits against several mystery bottles.

Popular Adelaide tours and experiences

Use promo code and save 10%
Gift Voucher
36 months
From $50.00
5.0 rating
Top selling tour
Adelaide Oval Stadium Tour
1.5 hours (approx.)
From $29.00
4.5 rating
Great reviews
Adelaide Guided Walking Tour
1.5 hours (approx.)
From $35.00
5.0 rating
Top selling tour
Adelaide Central Market Tour
1.5 hours (approx.)
From $89.00
5.0 rating
Top selling tour
From $75.00
4.3 rating
Afternoon tea included
From $90.00
4.0 rating
Top selling tour
From $26.00
4.5 rating
Drinks included
From $53.00
5.0 rating

Browse our full range of Adelaide tours and experiences here. We offer a Best Price Guarantee.

Do you have any suggestions to add to our guide to Adelaide’s wine regions? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Additional images: Bigstock

Alexis Buxton-Collins

About the writer

After spending years as a music journalist and beer taster, Alexis Buxton-Collins sold everything he owned and spent three years travelling the world. He now writes about his experiences on the road, both abroad and at home in Adelaide. Alexis has written for Australian Traveller, Qantas, Virgin, Lonely Planet, Wild, and many other publications. He’s currently undertaking a comprehensive search for McLaren Vale’s best value bottle of wine.



Travel essentials

You can book many aspects of your holiday on the Top Oz Tours & Travel Ideas website, including flights, hotels, car hire, travel insurance, and more. When you purchase a product or service using the following links from our partners, we receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay, and it enables us to continue to provide readers with amazing travel inspiration.


Compare airlines, flights, and fares in one place with Booking.com. They don't charge any credit card fees and you can always see exactly what you’re paying for in the price breakdown. You can book one-way, round-trip, and multi-city flights, and change your travel dates with ease when you opt for a flexible ticket option (an additional cost applies). It all adds up to a great flight! Search for flights with Booking.com


If you're looking for a great deal on your next hotel or homestay, look no further than Booking.com. Their mission is to make travel affordable and accessible to more people, and to deliver seamless accommodation experiences that complement your holiday. Search for hotels and homestays with Booking.com

Car hire

Discover Cars is an award-winning (World Travel Awards) car rental comparison website, which helps customers find, compare, and hire cars at the most competitive prices globally. You’ll get access to meticulously maintained cars, 4WDs, and minibuses from the world’s leading brands, and at the best possible price. Search for car hire with Discover Cars

Campervans & motorhomes

Make Jucy your first choice for campervan and motorhome hire. Since 2001, this progressive company has had a vision to be world-famous for enabling experience seekers to discover happiness on the road. The Jucy crew live and breathe their core values of passion, pride, family, and fun, and these values influence every one of their interactions with customers. They’re ready to help you find 'your happy'. Search for campervans and motorhomes with Jucy

Day tours & experiences worldwide

Search and book day tours, guided experiences, and attraction tickets and passes worldwide with Top Oz Tours and Viator. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book through us, and you’ll have access to the widest choice of activities and most competitive prices. Search for tours and experiences

Multi-day tours & trips worldwide

Travelling on an extended tour with a local guide is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the destination of your choice. Top Oz Tours has joined forced with Tour Radar to bring you a fabulous range of multi-day tours and trips from the world's leading operators. Travel with like minded people and get the best possible price on the holiday of your dreams. Search for multi-day tours and trips

Travel insurance

World Nomads aims to be a part of every traveller’s journey by providing a reassuring range of travel insurance services. Travellers can buy insurance, extend their policy, and claim online, 24/7, on the road or from home. Travel insurance benefits include coverage for emergency medical and evacuation or repatriation, lost baggage, trip cancellation, and more than 150 adventure activities. Get an insurance costing from World Nomads

Subscribe to our newsletter for the chance to win a $100 voucher




Please leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

Your Cart
Your Cart Is Empty
error: This content is protected.