Wow – another great day. It was a very special first time visit to this exceptionally scenic grape growing area in South Australia which is home to about 70 different wineries producing simply excellent wine. Once again, we only had time to visit a few Cellar Door Sales so highly recommend taking your time to spend a few days, staying perhaps in the ocean centres of Victor Harbour or Glenelg (Adelaide), so you have time to visit some of the many varied and interesting wineries. McLaren Vale is very close to Adelaide and is an easy drive. We stopped at a few Cellar Doors but our first call was the hit of the day!
Our first stop was the d'Arenberg winery between McLaren Vale and Willunga as this was one of my nieces most recommended favourites. When we first arrived I was fascinated by the massive nets covering the rows of fruit laden grape vines as I was not sure if they were for birds, bats or something more sinister!
While taking some photos a gentleman came over and enquired if I knew what the nets were for and he was most informative and explained that it was specifically to keep the large flocks of starlings (sometimes flocks of 300 birds) from destroying the grape crop. Evidently, the noisy gas cannons are not successful - with the neighbours that is – not the birds. After a few minutes he introduced himself as Mr. Osburn, known to his friends as “d'Arry” and as we continued to chat realized he was the winery proprietor and his family have made wine in this region for over 100 years.
He then went on to explain the history of the winery and the origin of the name d'Arenberg (his grandmother's Flemish name) and we had a laugh at a story about the family coat of arms. It was really great for us to hear from the owner about the history of this scenic property firsthand and where he has lived for many years and learn that 70% of the wines they produce are “reds” such as Shiraz and Mataro. The winery produces about 30 wine varieties, with about 60 labels under the guidance of four Australian and International wine makers, with the wines being sold to many countries world-wide such as USA, United Kingdom and Canada.
This Cellar Door experience was tops for all of us – a boutique cellar door with a great ambience, view and service – and wine! We also agreed that Matt, with his friendliness and wine knowledge, won the “gold” award as our server. Thanks for a great combined wine tasting and the special welcome d'Arry. This is a definite “must visit” when you tour South Australia.
The next day was Australia Day and the day was to start with a Big Brekkie to celebrate this great country with friends of the family. This is a good tradition to continue or start, no matter what country you live in! It was also a great way to say "Farewell to Australia" for now as we were returning to Canada the next day.
What a superb four weeks in a fabulous country and yes, unique and spectacular and all those other superb words they use in travel brochures! Safe and Happy Travels!
- Remember in Australia if on a winery tour to have a designated driver as alcohol limit for driving a motor vehicle is .05
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