One of the most luxurious ways to experience the Barossa Valley is to tour this wine region in a Daimler.
A gleaming black Daimler pulls up in the driveway.
Our chauffeur and guide for the afternoon is wine specialist and Barossa Valley personality John Baldwin.
It’s a cosy fit in this 1962 beauty that was once used by the Duke of Edinburgh. Left for a wreck on a farm before being rescued by John and faithfully restored, the Daimler is slowly becoming a Barossa Valley icon. John, who conducts exclusive and individually tailored tours, is an expert on the area.
Home to some of Australia’s top wine producers, including Henschke, Peter Lehmann, Yalumba, Penfolds (grapes for Penfolds Grange are largely sourced from the Barossa Valley) and Jacob’s Creek, the success of the Barossa Valley can be attributed to the old vines planted by the area’s original settlers in the 1840’s.
Barossa Valley wineries
Today, we’ve given John the task of introducing us to some of the area’s newer boutique wineries.
We drive past rows of vineyards from cellar door to cellar door in his Daimler, while listening to entertaining stories about the region.
Unlike the rest of Australia which was settled for the most part by convicts who were exiled to Australia from England, South Australia and the Barossa Valley attracted farmers, merchants and fortune hunters who flocked to Australia during the late 19th century.
The Barossa Valley in particular was popular with German settlers who planted grapevines, many of which are still surviving today.
At Burge Family Winemakers we meet winemaker Rick Burge, whose hands are stained with dark grape juices.
A cousin of the larger and more well-known winemaker Grant Burge, Rick – along with his adorable pet goats Geeta and Meetu – provide us with a fascinating insight into life as a small winemaker.
Like Rick, everyone we meet is passionate about wine (Barossa Valley wine in particular) except Geeta and Meetu who are more interested in eating everything from Rick’s rose bushes to my jacket.
We order more cartons of wine and dream of the many lazy Sunday afternoons back in Queensland where we will be able to enjoy drinking these marvellous bottles of red that have been produced with such loving care.
Barossa Valley food
Food is almost as important as wine in the Barossa Valley, and between cellar door visits we snatch tastings of smoked meats from the local butcher and delicious home-made cakes and muffins at Maggie Beers Farm Shop. This contemporary café cum provedore is set by a tranquil lake and is a restful respite among the vineyards.
Although the vineyards are the Barossa Valley’s main attraction, the area is dotted with historic buildings such as Collingrove Homestead.
Collingrove is a stately home built in 1856 for John Howard Angas who was sent from England to manage his father’s land holdings in the Barossa Valley. Now owned by the National Trust, it contains many of its original furnishings and the exterior, coach house and stables are almost unchanged from its originally condition.
A number of other historic buildings have been converted into art galleries, antiques shops or restaurants.
Back in Queensland, we eagerly await the arrival of our boxes of Barossa Valley wine, which will serve as liquid souvenirs of our visit for months to come.
Christina Pfeiffer visited South Australia as a guest of South Australia Tourism Commission.
Discover South Australia
Barossa Daimler Tours (RSD Main Rd, Rosedale, SA 5350, call (08) 8524 9047) is a wonderful way to experience the Barossa Valley in South Australia.
For further information visit www.southaustralia.com.
Looking for more ways of exploring South Australia? What about a ride in a horse-drawn tram?
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