An Insider's Guide to the Barossa
When it comes to intel on a destination, nobody knows their own backyard better than a local.
From the café that pours the strongest espresso, to the park most suited to picnics and that hole-in-the-wall restaurant worth its weight in gold; asking a local is a one-way ticket to discovering true gems. So on that note, we've chatted to someone from one of Australia’s most beloved destinations: the Barossa in South Australia. Let us introduce you to Kevin Glastonbury, or KG as he prefers. KG not only calls the Barossa home, but he also works there too as a winemaker at Yalumba, no less. Read on to discover KG’s top tips on where to eat and drink, what to see and do when on your next Barossa getaway.
Meet the Insider
KG knows the Barossa. He grew up here, and joined Yalumba’s ranks in 1999. KG now has more than 30 years in the winemaking business, and as well as the incredible portfolio of wines he has up his sleeve, KG has an innate knowledge of the Barossa. "The Barossa is changing and has been changing from a big perspective," he explains. "We're seeing different styles of wine coming from within a few acres of vineyard."
Where to Sip and Savour
It is no secret that the Barossa is plentiful with wineries, vineyards and cellar doors. And although this region's clout for producing semillion and bold shiraz isn't wanting, KG feels there is something wine-related that the Barossa doesn't have. “There is one glaring omission in the Barossa,” explains KG. “And that’s a really, really good wine bar.” Oenophiles need not fret however, because while KG says that the Barossa lacks a standalone wine bar, visitors will still find plenty of drinking-holes to whet their whistles at the end of a day spent exploring, tasting and indulging.
The Stillery was established by the minds behind the Barossa Distilling Company and is located in the Penfold complex. “It’s a tasting room and a craft spirits bar,” KG tells. “You can go and taste and eat. It’s a really cool place.” A hop, skip and a jump away is Home of the Brave, the cellar door and tapas bar from First Drop Wines. Here, KG recommends grabbing a coffee, a bite to eat and tasting the wines from the label’s range. Further out is El Estanco, a café in Greenock that, although not in main hubs of Tanunda or Angaston, is one of KG’s top recommendations for coffee in the Barossa. A wood-fire pizza oven is fired up every two weeks (bookings essential), and the menu features old favourites for breakfast, plus continually changing lunch offerings.
Two eateries should be on the hit list for any visitor to the Barossa, says KG. The first is Vintners Bar and Grill, located just outside Angaston. Vintners lives within the bones of vine-strewn building and backs onto the Barossa Farmers’ Market. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant features a sophisticated menu – house-made dumplings, galette of scallops, roasted quail with sweet corn risotto – complemented by cracking wine offerings. KG also praises the drops at fermentAsian. Operated by a husband-and-wife team, fermentAsian has, KG believes, to be one of the best wine lists in the region. Expect selections to perfectly match the delicate flavours of Asian cuisine plus a laundry list of varietals including chenin blanc, gamay and grüner veltliner.
What to See and Do
Think the Barossa will only appeal to foodies and wine-lovers? That’s not so. “One of the things I’ve done and encouraged friends to do is the walk from Rowland Flat, which is behind the Jacob’s Creek winery complex,” says KG. The path comes in at about eight kilometres, leading walkers to the Steingarten Vineyard and incredible views across the Barossa Valley. “It is really different for those who like to get out, and you can take a picnic [up there].” When you want to see the Barossa from a different perspective, KG recommends clambering into the basket of a hot air balloon. “I think ballooning is something everyone needs to do,” he says. “If you come to a wine region and don’t go ballooning, I think you’ve missed out. If you go in a balloon, you really get perspective of the region. Barossa Valley Ballooning actually has a Yalumba Patchwork balloon.”
Towards the southern fringe of the Barossa is Lyndoch Lavender Farm. “It’s beautiful. It’s got a café with a lot of lavender-influenced food, and you can buy gifts, so it’s quite different for a family that want a day away from the wineries,” KG describes. “The kids can wander around and see all the different types of lavenders.” Another off-the-beaten-track pursuit is a visit to Gardner Knives – something sure to appeal to diehard foodies and would-be chefs. Operated by Barry Gardner and located in Seppeltsfield, Gardner Knives gives visitors the opportunity to learn about and make their own bespoke kitchen knife. “You learn all about knife making, about the blade; how to sharpen it and how to temper it,” KG says. “It’s unique and not well-known. One of the winemakers from Yalumba has done it and always brings in his knife when we do a cooking school here.” These day sessions require bookings in advance. For those unable to secure a place in these hands-on lessons, KG recommends a visit to Seppeltsfield regardless. “[Seppeltsfield] is an amazing place with so many things happening out there.”
Experience KG's tips and picks for yourself by snagging your ticket to Yalumba - The Signature Gala, happening at the estate on May 5 2018. Get your tickets here. Plus, find accommodation for your Barossa adventure from the stays in our collection of luxury getaways.