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10 Historic Winery Tours in Australia

Aug 14

Imagine a noble stone winery, one where cobwebs intertwine bottles that lie sleeping in a hand-dug cellar below. Outside, gnarled vines older than any living human penetrate deep into soils that were formed some 200 million years ago. You might think you’re picturing a vineyard in France or Italy, but no, it’s Australia. This massive continent “down under” is home to dozens of historic wineries, some dating back to the 1800s and offering visitors a step into the past. Here are ten Australian winery tours to take you back in time.

The Yarra Valley is about a 1-hour drive from Melbourne, and it’s famous for its cool-climate wines like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. But there’s more to the area than its vinous offerings—its rolling hills and pastoral pastures are a feast for the eyes, too. At this picturesque estate, you can tour the cellar, sample wines in the restaurant, and linger on the terrace overlooking the Yarra River.

Established in 1849, Yalumba is one of Australia’s oldest and most treasured family-owned wineries. Tour the cellars on a self-guided visit, or opt for a guided Cooperage Tour to learn about barrel-making and the history of the winery. Then, head out to the vines and enjoy a tasting amidst ancient Grenache and Shiraz.

Tahbilk is another of Australia’s most beautiful historic wineries, with striking original buildings and underground cellars. Book a guided tour to learn how the winery blends modern winemaking techniques with traditional methods—including fermentation in historic vats. Then, taste through their selection of shiraz, marsanne, and cabernet sauvignon.

McLaren Vale, just 40 minutes south of Adelaide, is a bucolic wine region. The winery is the creation of Bordeaux-born Dominique Portet, and his European influence is evident in the refined cool-climate wines and the French bistro menu served in its cellar door restaurant.

Barossa Valley is a classic wine-tasting destination, but it’s not the only one in this country “down under.” The bucolic Coonawarra region and nearby McLaren Vale are also worth a look.

Getting to these wine regions takes some planning. Whether you rent a car, take a bus tour, or splurge on a private tour, make sure you leave plenty of time to explore. To make the most of your wine tour Australia, plan to spend a week or two in each wine region—and try to visit as many of the local wineries as you can. That way you’ll get a true taste of the region’s signature wines and its people. And be ready to come home with a newfound appreciation for the world’s most diverse wine culture.