Man stood in front of vineyard with arms wide

Wine adventures pt. 2 – Barossa Valley, Australia

We want to take you on a journey and, with international travel on pause for the moment, our travel bucket lists aren’t getting any shorter. In fact, quite the opposite! As the focus remains on staying home, staying local, and waiting for the world to heal, we’ll help you plan that dream trip for once this whole pandemic thing goes away!

Wine adventures pt. 2 – Barossa Valley, Australia

We want to take you on a journey and, with international travel on pause for the moment, our travel bucket lists aren’t getting any shorter. In fact, quite the opposite! As the focus remains on staying home, staying local, and waiting for the world to heal, we’ll help you plan that dream trip for once this whole pandemic thing goes away!
Man stood in front of vineyard with arms wide

Destinations for your post-lockdown travel bucket list

So, we’re two days in to a wine trip of a lifetime in Australia and we’re heading to Barossa Valley. Read about our first – jetlag and wine-fuelled – day in Clare Valley, here.

Barossa is without a doubt one of the most sophisticated, top-notch wine regions in Australia and I’m beyond excited to visit. Barossa Valley is located in South Australia, about 70kms north of Adelaide. The region spans an area of about 900 km2 and connects the towns of Nuriootpa, Tanunda and Angaston. The Barossa is an internationally acclaimed wine region that offers over 80 cellar doors, allowing visitors to taste some of the most awarded wines in the world. If you ever get the chance to visit, don’t pass it up. Just go!

First stop – John Duval

… at 9am for a Shiraz breakfast tasting. Is that a thing? We mean business! John Duval is a legendary name. He’s only the third winemaker to be entrusted with making Australia’s most famous wine – Grange. John worked for Penfolds for 28 years (Including 16 years as chief winemaker – best job ever) until his departure in 2002. 

Despite his legendary status, John is a quiet, unassuming man who just happens to be one of the world’s great winemakers. He set out on his own with the 2003 vintage, sourcing fruit from some long-time friends in the Barossa. Over breakfast, we tasted about 20 wines – mostly reds and some iconic wines with established worldwide reputations like ‘Plexus’ (Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvèdre blend) and ‘Entity’ (Shiraz).

Now, I’ll let you in on a secret. As a sommelier you’re supposed to spit most of the wines you taste. But, I have to confess, it doesn’t always happen, and it certainly didn’t happen at John Duval. Without a doubt one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. 

Charles Melton

After breakfast, we head off to meet another iconic wine producer, Charles Melton. Charlie Melton was one of the first to recognise the value and tradition of the Barossa Valley’s old-vine Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre vines. While others were pulling out Shiraz to plant more fashionable varieties, Charlie and a small band of Barossa winemakers were convincing farmers to keep their historic vineyards. 

Charlie has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. His wines have a wonderful balance and freshness to them, with use of French oak giving them a supple texture and balance. The grapes are dry grown, chemical free and harvested from the winery’s own vineyards in Tanunda and Lyndoch. The estate vineyards now comprise of 32 hectares, the oldest having been planted in 1974. 

We stopped for a quick lunch and a tour of the vineyards, squeezing in some time to play with the winery dog, of course, then we headed off to the next stop, Peter Lehman. This is work remember, people. No rest for the wicked.

Glass of wine with vineyard in the background

Peter Lehmann

Peter Lehmann started his own winery in 1979, partly as a means of helping with the glut of grapes then afflicting the Barossa. “I’ll take your grapes and turn them into wine” he told the desperate growers. Many of them conserative farmers of Silesian descent who regarded their old vines as part of their patrimony. ‘But I’ll only be able to pay you when I sell the wine.’ They gratefully accepted. Without this deal, it’s widely thought that the Barossa would have lost a large swathe of its old vines. The crisis passed, in large part thanks to Perter’s energy and vision, and the Lehmann winery became one of the Barossa Valley staples. As the creator of the winery, Peter was named ‘Personality of the Year’ by the International Wine Challenge in 2009. 

But Peter Lehmann is also famous for two other creations. While he was running Krondorf in the mid-1970s, he gave a certain young ‘cellar rat’ called Graeme Melton the name ‘Charlie’. That young cellar rat followed Lehmann when he set up his own winery, before leaving to found Charles Melton Wines a decade later (mind blown).

The same drive and passion still exists in the winery today, despite the fact that Peter passed away in 2013 and sold most of the business to Donald Hess a decade ago.

If you get a wine from any of these producers in your next box, we’d love to hear what you think. Drop us an email!

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