Lace up the walking shoes in the artisan village of Hahndorf and you’ll discover over 100 heritage-listed buildings with more than a few of them converted to boutique cellar doors.
Landhaus Wines serves cool climate classics like Sav Blanc and Chardonnay in a handsome 1845 stone cottage. Sam Scott’s highly regarded La Prova is right behind and doing tasting flights on select weekends. And the recently-opened Adelaide Hills Wine Bar features a wine bar and pizzeria. If you need to round out the day, your accommodation is right across the road from The Haus restaurant which has a substantial cellar stocked with Hills heroes.
For a more rural circuit, check into the Hahndorf Resort about a kilometre outside the village and do a 7km loop featuring a trifecta of cellar doors. Turn left out of the Resort and head to nearby Sidewood’s Restaurant and Cellar Door, an art-filled space which opens from 11am. Next, circle around to Verdun where you’ll find Hills icon Maxmillian’s Restaurant with its handsome trellised slopes and new cellar door, Saint & Scholar.
In the same village you’ll find a small 1930s Methodist church which is the cellar door of winemaker Robert Johnson (open at weekends). From here, enter Heysen Road and pass Hans Heysen’s home, The Cedars, a great opportunity to visit the old master’s stone studio. Next, arrive at the equally picturesque Hahndorf Hill Winery, famous for epic Gruner Veltliner and pairing wine with chocolates (no, really). And if you still have the legs, you can taste locally made gin at Ambleside Distillers. The collection of deck, botanical garden and character-filled bar is on the home straight, not far from the Resort.
If you’re the sort whose hiking boots have soles thicker than tractor tyres, then you could spend the day hiking out to the celebrated winery-restaurant, The Lane. Reward yourself with a long, vine-side lunch on the deck, then loop back via Hahndorf Hill Winery. You’ll clock up three hours’ walking (about 10km) through some of the loveliest scenery in the Hills.
Yep, it can be done! The 864 bus runs from Stirling to Hahndorf, every half hour in the week and hourly at the weekend. Base yourself anywhere in Stirling, Aldgate or Hahndorf and you’re perfectly positioned to hop on and off at Saint & Scholar, Sidewood, Ambleside Distillers and the cellar doors of Hahndorf (see above for details). From Thursday to Sunday, you might also want to jump off at Bridgewater Mill in Bridgewater; the beautiful 1859 Mill (complete with waterwheel) serves wines in its amazing galleried atrium. If you’re staying in Stirling, check out the well-curated wine lists of Locavore and The Stirling Hotel.
The Uber ride sharing service is limited in the Hills but it does extend as far east as Bridgewater which makes for a perfectly good (and very affordable) wine tour. Locate yourself in Crafers, at either magical Mount Lofty House or the suites above the historic Crafers Hotel. After a lazy breakfast, get ready to do four short Uber trips. Strike out for Tapanappa in the Piccadilly Valley, the cellar door belonging to wine doyen (and originator of the Hills’ wine story) Brian Croser.
Next, take an Uber to CRFT Wines where single-vineyard wines are served in a converted 1900s shearing shed. From here, do the short journey (or 30 minute walk) to Uraidla Hotel which has a superb wine collection cellared in a funky underground water tank. On Friday to Sunday, you could do the slightly longer trip to the Summertown Aristologist, co-owned by the winemakers behind Lucy Margaux, Château Comme Ci Comme Ça and Commune of Buttons. Head back to base. And for the record, both Mount Lofty House and the Crafers Hotel boast two of the finest wine collections in Australia.
Still with taxis, you could combine a regular taxi hire from wherever you’re staying to Lot 100 and enjoy a wine tour of sorts. The extensive Lot 100 multi-hub estate is located in the steep paddocks of Hay Valley not far from Nairne. It brings together four craft beverage producers – Mismatch Brewing Co, Vinteloper (“the ringleaders of grown-up fun”…) Adelaide Hills Distillery and Hills Cider Co. – as well as a paddock to plate restaurant.
There are a number of private touring companies offering cellar door tours of the Hills. They’ll collect you from the door of your accommodation and either tailor a tour to your tastes or take you on a pre-arranged circuit of cellar doors they think best represents the region. Your host will not only assume driving duties, they’ll share good knowledge on what this cool climate region does best. A good example is award-winning Cellar Door Tours based in Wistow, which accommodates parties from two to 10 with costs starting at $130pp, including lunch and pick-up. Or try Mount Barker based Touring, Adelaide South Australia, who operate luxury 8 seater vehicles with pick ups from the city and airport and offer a variety of touring options throughout the hills.
Please note: many cellar door operations have different opening times! Be sure to check ahead, especially if you’re visiting on Monday to Wednesday.