This story was originally published on Lodestar Anthology.
I’ve always been interested in food and wine - and am particularly fascinated by the processes involved in making exceptional products. This curiosity was sparked while working in a restaurant in Italy, my home country, and a café in the UK, where I lived for few years; both experiences revealing just how important it is to choose the right ingredients, and to take time and care.
When I first visited Australia - having sampled their incredible wines and fresh foods - exploring the world famous vineries of South Australia was a top priority. I was keen to learn more about the region’s wine making processes and focus on sustainability … and to sample as many tipples as I could.
With more than 200 cellar doors on its doorstep, Adelaide is Australia’s wine capital and one of the nine Great Wine Capitals of the World. There are so many award-winning areas to explore should you fancy a wine-filled day trip, all outstanding in their own right (and desperate for tourism following the recent devastating bushfires). The focus of my own visit was McLaren Vale, which is a 40 minute drive from the city, the journey itself utterly divine.
My first stop brought me to Samuel’s Gorge. Housed in a 1853-built farm shed formerly used for oil making, their charming cellar door boasts stunning views of the Onkaparinga Gorge. Best surveyed from their terrace with a glass in hand.
Being in McLaren Vale, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the d’Arenberg Cube, an eclectic fever-dream of a building in the middle of the d’Arenberg winery. Coming from the mind of winemaker Chester Osborn, this five-storey multi-function building blends its owner’s two loves: wine and art. Currently showcasing sculptures by Salvador Dalì and Osborn’s private collection of paintings & sculptures, the building’s rubik-cube styled shape makes it an artistic wonder in its own right - the view of the valley below from the top two balconies is a particular highlight. Walking through the building felt like a journey through the designer’s mind, and the 2018 chardonnay was a perfect accompaniment.
My last stop was at Alpha Box & Dice winery. This farmhouse-styled shed boasts wines that transcend style, region and varietal boundaries, and are created using small parcel grapes, minimal intervention and vegan friendly methods. I felt a completely at ease here; everyone sipping wine under the sun, surrounded by picnic tables stacked with cheese boards. The perfect ending to my first day of McLaren Vale wine tasting.