South Australia is known for its wine. It has numerous well-known wine regions, including the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and McLaren Vale. One wine region, which is quickly growing, is the Adelaide Hills. However, it is not only known for its wine, but also for its craft beer and gin, both of which have won international prizes. Here are our recommendations of places to go wine, beer and gin tasting in the Adelaide Hills and sample the best of the best. Better still, all of these places are kid-friendly.
Just for clarification: Obviously, with the Coronavirus spreading like wildfire, we are not suggesting that you visit these places right at this moment. However, once there is no longer any need to isolate and travel bans lift, these businesses would definitely welcome your custom. I know some people are only getting through these difficult times by carefully planning their next trip. Think of this post as travel porn or wanderlust inspiration, not as a recommendation to mingle with others now.
Wine, gin and beer tasting in the Adelaide Hills with kids
About ten years ago, many wineries in Australia realised that their target clientele was starting a family. If they could not cater to this change, they risked losing customers. At the same time, many winemakers were starting to have families themselves.
As a result, a number of wineries have special facilities, games, toys and other distractions such as mazes or animals, to keep kids occupied while their parents try the wines. Most wineries also now have kid-appropriate foods on their menus or even kid menus. I know of two wineries that have even gone as far as to develop a kids tasting plate – how genius is that?
The gin distillers and newer, smaller breweries have been quick to follow this lead.
There are now numerous places where you can go wine, beer and gin tasting in the Adelaide Hills and in other regions – and take your kids. These are our suggestions.
On one of the weekends, while we were in Australia, my brother decided to take my sister-in-law and me gin tasting, and we got to decide where we went. My other brother decided to come too and the two of them looked after Miss M while my sister-in-law and I got to taste the goods.
The first place we chose was Lot 100.
Lot 100 describes itself as a collective that is “greater than the sum of its parts”. This is a cellar door that features Mismatched Brewing Co craft brewer, Vinteloper winery, Hills Cider Co, Ashton Valley Juice and an award-winning Adelaide Hills Distillery, as well as a delicious restaurant. If you are lucky, you can go wine, beer and gin tasting in the Adelaide Hills all in one location!
Tables on the deck are rare. However, if you bring a picnic blanket, there are plenty of spots to sit in the sun and the shade – as we did. There are games for kids too, such as quoits and giant connect 4.
We ordered a selection of food –
The drinks were delicious, too. We had a sunset gin with aromatic tonic and strawberries, which was the perfect light drink for Summer. We followed it up with a tasting flight of 4 gins, each with their own garnishes. This included the 78° Gin, which won the award for Best International Gin at the American Distilling Institute Awards in 2017.
My brothers tried the beer – a medium ale – and were happy with their selection too.
We had a lovely and relaxed time at Lot 100 and Miss M was very happy with her apple and strawberry juice, potato cubes and quoits game against her uncles. She is convinced that she won. They say she cheated.
Address: 68 Chambers Rd
Hay Valley (Just off the Nairne-Woodside road)
Bird in Hand Winery
Like Lot 100 and most of our suggestions, Bird in Hand offers a number of fresh platters made from local produce. Have a tasting then grab a platter and a glass of your favourite wine and sit and enjoy.
The winery also does special, limited tastings in their barrel hall.
We love their wines and platters and knowing that Miss M can run around on the lawns. Hopefully, next time we are in Australia, we will visit the winery without Miss M and be able to try one of the special menus in the Gallery restaurant. The good looks delicious!
Address: Bird in Hand & Pfeiffer Roads (150 Pfeiffer Road)
Woodside SA 5244
(This also comes off the Nairne-Woodside road)
Golding Wines is one that we have not yet been able to visit but it has been recommended to me by various friends.
The cellar door is right in the middle of a region affected by recent fires. According to statements made by the Winery, Goldings lost their nursery, seed nest and some of their vineyards in the blaze.
The cellar door has reopened and they welcome the support while they rebuild.
The wine list is extensive, staff are knowledgeable and friendly and there is a large grassed area for kids to play.
The winery offers wine flights, platters and cheese boards in the Barn each day. From Thursday to Sunday, the Market Kitchen restaurant is open and offers shared style lunch menus using locally sourced ingredients. Some are even local enough to come from the winery’s own kitchen garden.
Kids are definitely welcome, with a healthy and delicious kids menu to prove it. My friends also recommended their platters and pizzas.
Address: 52 Western Branch Road
Lobethal SA 5241
Another nearby winery that has been recommended to me for families is Barrister’s Block. They have a huge sandpit for the kids to play in! Next to the sandpit is a mini zoo with various animals – deer, alpacas, chickens… I know we would have a difficult time getting Miss M to leave.
The platters are meant to be very good and they have a kids menu, too. I know I like their wines.
I have also been told that you should preferably only visit Barrister’s Block on the weekend if you have a booking as the winery is very popular and can be quite loud.
Address: 141 Onkaparinga Valley Road
Woodside, SA 5244
Ambleside Distillers Tasting Bar
Ambleside Distillers Tasting Bar was the second stop on our gin tasting tour with my brothers and sister-in-law.
As you enter from the car park, you walk along part of the botanical walk, with numerous botanicals used in the distilling process. Miss M kept asking what this or that was.
The tasting bar would be cosy and stylish in Winter – polished concrete floors, reclaimed brick, a view of the distillery room.
We took a seat out on the deck overlooking the Adelaide Hills. Miss M enjoyed watching the ducks, tortoises and cows. And the little skink that came to visit us.
We tried the gin tasting flight and really enjoyed the Botanicals Gin. We then tried a couple of their gin cocktails – yum!
Ambleside Distillers also serves tasting platters with locally sourced ingredients. As we had already eaten, we didn’t try any.
The Distillers is close enough to the main road in Hahndorf. If you have had enough of wine, beer and gin tasting in the Adelaide Hills, you can call in for coffee or take kids to get strawberry ice cream. Or make Ambleside Distillers just one stop on your day in Hahndorf.
Address: Corner of Ambleside and Mount Barker Road
Hahndorf SA 5245
The Prancing Pony Brewshed
This small brewery has been a family favourite since it just around the corner from my parents’ house. It has remained a favourite even after their move to bigger premises just 4 minutes from Hahndorf.
At the Prancing Pony Brewshed, you can try a paddle of beers in a relaxed, rustic, family-friendly environment. Naturally, there is also a “no beer list” including wine, cider, coffee and juices (I don’t like beer).
The Brewshed serves food that goes well with beer: wood-oven pizzas, burgers, schnitzels, chicken wings, salads and chips. They also have some delicious desserts that are made on-site.
Nearly every time we visit Australia, we go to the Brewshed for a meal as a family. The beer drinkers try the brews and we all have a delicious, relaxed meal. The kids love trying to see who can find the most rocking horses.
The brewery has won awards too: The India Red Ale won the “Supreme Champion Trophy” at the International Beer Challenge in London in 2016.
Address: 42 Mt Barker Road
Totness SA 4240 (Between Littlehampton and Hahndorf)
Please note: the Brewshed is closed on Tuesdays
Take your family wine, beer and gin tasting in the Adelaide Hills today
This is only a small selection of the wineries, distilleries and breweries that you can find in the Adelaide Hills. So why not make a day of it and start with our four favourites? And take your kids for a family-friendly, relaxed day full of good food and some delicious adult drinks.