Touring Australia’s Vineyards

 

The Retreat at Chapel Hill Winery
The Retreat at Chapel Hill Winery has 10 rooms to go along with a professional teaching kitchen.

 

Less than an hour south of Adelaide is a treasure of geography: McLaren Vale, a region that produces some of the best wines in Australia. (More than 60 wineries in one region can’t be wrong.) If your clients love a bold Shiraz, a rich Cabernet Sauvignon or even a Grenache (hard to find outside of Europe), this is the ideal destination for a winery tour or even a oenophile’s dream vacation.

We hear Groovy Grape Getaways creates bespoke packages geared toward young folks and hipsters. (They’ve bagged South Australian Tourism Awards for the past two years.) For something a bit more grown-up, A Taste of South Australia organizes private tastings at wineries throughout McLaren Vale and neighboring wine regions.
While it would be convenient to stay in Adelaide and take a day trip to the vineyards in McLaren Vale (and then, perhaps, continue to the coast and its beaches), some vineyards double as intimate resorts for those who want a true immersion in local culture. The Producers of McLaren Vale has three Vineyard Apartments and a Holiday House for guests to stay in. Meals are prepared from local organic ingredients (even the cheese is made from scratch!), and they have massages and yoga classes to help guests decompress. Visitors can also take part in gardening and cooking classes and seasonal workshops to learn how to make wine, olive oil, cheese, bread or preserve fruits.

Chapel Hill Winery in McLaren Vale also lets visitors stay among the vines—in fact, they even offer conference rooms for business trips. (No comment from us about combining business with wine tasting, of course, but it sounds like a wonderful way to make conferences go faster!) The hotel section of the vineyard called The Retreat has seven rooms with two beds each. The Guest House (a wing of  The Retreat) has three rooms with a bed each, and can serve as a separate apartment.

Best of all, The Retreat offers several packages for guests staying overnight or longer. Up to 14 guests can get away and relax…or cook up a storm in the kitchen. (We hear cooking-show star Joanne Weir was a recent guest.) They have exclusive use of  The Retreat, including the teaching kitchen (try a cooking class with Chef Rebecca Stubbs), lounge areas and two open fireplaces. Private butlers and/or waiters, wine tastings, multi-course meals and even wine to take home can all be included. To unwind in ultimate oenophile luxury, visitors can get a massage outdoors among the vines. Contact General Manager Brett Lanthois (blanthois@chapelhillwine.com.au; 011-61-8-8323-9182).