Plan the perfect weekend escape to Adelaide’s beautiful surrounding wine regions!

If you’re looking for South Australia’s top wine regions, you’ve come to the right place.

In 2016 Adelaide was named the 10th Great Wine Capital of the World, cementing it as the undisputed heavyweight of Australian wine. Don’t believe us? I suppose you’ll just have to see for yourself.

South Australia is home to 18 distinct wine regions, each with their own unique history and delicious wineries. Although tasting your way through all of these wonderful wine regions is a tremendous task, instead, we’ll help you plan your perfect wine-infused day trip, just a short drive from Adelaide. Or, if you’re stuck at home and waiting for restrictions to ease, we’ll happily recommend some unmissable wines for you to order.

So read on through our ultimate guide to Adelaide’s best wine regions that are ready to be explored in 2023:

Clare Valley

What is Clare Valley known for?

Clare Valley is known for its riesling.

Starting our guide, we’re introducing you to the home of Australia’s riesling, Clare Valley. This quaint, vibrant and charming setting hosts gorgeous rustic cellar doors surrounded by endless rolling green hills. Thankfully, just for your enjoyment, one of the highlights of the region is the leisurely 32-kilometre riesling bicycle trail which conveniently bypasses some of the most exquisite wineries.

If you prefer to take your time, stay the night and indulge in one of the delightful bed and breakfasts. For your visit to Clare Valley we’d recommend staying at one of the lavish cottages at Skillogalee Estate which is tucked away neatly amongst the vineyards – perfect for you if you get (understandably) carried away after a wine tasting. Notably, Skillogalee also produces a quintessential riesling that’s buzzing with crisp citrus fruits and zest. 

Adelaide Hills

How far is Adelaide Hills from the city?

Adelaide Hills is approximately a 45-minute drive north-east of Adelaide’s CBD.

Remarkably, Adelaide Hills is the closest wine region to any capital city in the world. Its lush and leafy surroundings lend it as the perfect autumn destination but trust us, it’s gorgeous all year round. And for your visit, even if it’s a short one, there is no excuse to overlook the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden

The cooler climate here helps to produce wines that other South Australian wine regions only dream of emulating. One of the most picturesque wineries to visit is Shaw + Smith, that also produces a consistently immaculate pinot noir. Here, wine lovers will be able to sip on a light bodied beauty with well-balanced acidity that’s both juicy and fruit forward – the ideal choice for any wine lover.

Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. Photographed by amophoto_au. Image via Shutterstock

Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. Photographed by amophoto_au. Image via Shutterstock

McLaren Vale

What wines are McLaren Vale known for?

McLaren Vale, found 45-minutes west of Adelaide’s CBD, is best known for its shiraz.

Undeniably trendy but always retaining an unparalleled level of quality, McLaren Vale is a wealth of pleasure for you to visit. Like many other of the best wine regions near Adelaide, there is a brilliant blend of stalwart classics and funky new innovators. Encapsulating this sentiment perfectly is chief winemaker Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg. The iconic d’Arenberg Cube that Osborn built is certainly not a gimmick nor a stroke of luck; instead this quirky art installment provides gratifying wine blending classes and so much more to locals and visitors alike.

Although McLaren Vale is known for their shiraz, in our opinion McLaren Vale really shines their ingenuity and skill with some lesser-known grape varietals. S.C. Pannell is a maker that stands out with their tempranillo, grenache, montepulciano and nero d’avola – all of which are lovely drops to add to the collection. However, if you’re going to make room for just one, we recommend their nebbiolo which is regarded as one of the best available outside of Italy. 

D'Arenberg Cube. Photographed by Mariangela Cruz. Image via Shutterstock

D’Arenberg Cube. Photographed by Mariangela Cruz. Image via Shutterstock

Barossa Valley

How do you get to Barossa Valley?

If you are driving, Barossa Valley is an hour’s drive north-east out of Adelaide’s CBD. However, to make the most of this beautiful South Australian wine region, we recommend you book a day tour that includes transport.

Chances are wherever you hail from in Australia, you’ve heard of the Barossa Valley. It’s even more likely if you are partial to a big, earthy shiraz wine. Better yet, the Barossa Valley is home to the renowned Penfolds Cellar Door that produces some of the best representations of Australian shiraz that money can buy. Don’t let anyone tell you that grange is overrated either, it never disappoints when it’s popped open on a special occasion.

When you’re not getting lost at the bottom of a wine glass, the Barossa Farmers Market in Angaston is also well worth attending. It’s a perfect stop to rustle together a few treats for a picnic and a chance to mingle with some of the Barossa locals.

Langhorne Creek

Sometimes unfairly overlooked is Langhorne Creek that’s found just 70 kilometres from Adelaide and located in the Fleurieu Peninsula. Multiple farming families are in their sixth generation at Langhorne Creek and none more significant perhaps than the Potts family who established the region’s first winery, Bleasdale

Cabernet sauvignon is the flagship varietal here, but sweet tooths needn’t worry as the Bleasdale Sparkling Shiraz is impeccable and can serve as a comforting dessert wine on the cool nights here. The Handpicked Festival of music and wine hosted by Lake Breeze attracts international acts and is one of many great excuses to make a trip to Langhorne Creek.

Langhorne Creek South Australia. Photographed by MPIX. Image via Shutterstock

Langhorne Creek South Australia. Photographed by MPIX. Image via Shutterstock

Keen to explore more of the top wine regions in South Australia? Whether you’re going for a day or a weekend, be sure to check out the 4 Best Wineries in Adelaide Hills, South Australia. And if you need to tidy up your wine terminology, we have the Ultimate Wine Glossary for you to keep on hand.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Feature image: Adelaide Hills Vineyard. Photographed by kwest. Image via Shutterstock.
Editor’s Note: Our writers and contributors have independently selected and curated this article, and all opinions are their own. This article does contain affiliate links which allow us to make revenue off some purchases made by our readers.
This article was first published on May 29 2020. It was updated and edited by Hunter and Bligh on October 28 2022.