There’s no denying that our beautiful Cellar Door is on the little side. If you’ve visited us, you’ll know what we’re talking about. One of the comments we hear most frequently from our visitors is how much they love discovering these little treasures dotted around the Barossa - the tiny hidden gems, whether they be in old stone cottages, tucked away in historic houses or renovated barns…. Where the winemakers is usually behind the tasting bar, and there’s plenty of time to stop, relax and having a proper chat about all things Barossa.
So with that in mind, we’ve whole-heartedly embraced the maxim that good things come in small packages. May we present: The Small Fry Tour of the Barossa.
Where better to kick things off than the actual Smallfry Wines? Suzi Hilder and Wayne Ahrens make food friendly, Euro-influenced wines with virtually no intervention - natural ferments, minimal adjustments (or none at all) in the winery, and very old oak lets the characters of the vineyard speak through the wines. When you learn that Suzi and Wayne are viticulturalists at heart then their commitment to hand-off winemaking makes plenty of sense.
Smallfry have been certified organic and biodynamic since 2014 and they boast some of the most beautiful label artwork in the Barossa (in our humble opinion). You can catch Wayne and Suzi their Cellar Door in Angaston. Make sure you contact them to arrange a tasting, as their Cellar Door is open by appointment, although we hear they’re planning to be open more frequently in the near future. Check them out - It’s definitely worth it.
I often find myself saying that one of the great things about the Barossa is that everywhere is a fifteen minute drive from everywhere and that comes in handy when you want to get off the beaten track but not spend your whole day driving. A visit to Flaxman Wines takes you to Flaxman Valley - a gorgeous hidden corner of the Barossa and home to some of the most beautiful scenery, especially in the cooler months when it’s lush and green, and the low clouds shroud the landscape in soft mist.
Tucked away up here is Flaxman Wines’ Cellar Door - a beautifully renovated old building (Colin used to be a builder in a past life and the property shows a genuine craftman’s touch) offering wine tastings, generous and thoughtful local tasting platters and Col’s legendary long lunches. You’ll be greeted by Gus - Cellar Door Manager of the four-legged kind and most likely be coerced into a game of catch before the Riesling hits the table. Colin and Fiona’s wines are elegant, delicious and generous - and they make a straight Mataro, for those fans of this beautiful re-emergent grape variety. It’s well worth the fifteen minute drive; even more so if you stay for lunch.
While you’re up that way, take (another) slight detour and seek out Brockenchack Wines. It’s no secret that at Krondorf Creek Farm we love beautiful old stone cottages and Brockenchack’s Cellar Door is a great example of a sympathetic, loving restoration which brings an old building back to life. Trevor is a great host - charismatic, funny, genuinely engaging and madly in love with his property and his wines. It shows - genuine, exuberant enthusiasm might not be cool these days but we love Trevor’s passion for his property, his family and his range of cool climate wines. Wine people often talk about their ‘Ah Ha!’ wines and for me, one of them happens to be the Hare Hunter Pinot Noir from Brockenchack Wines. I absolutely love it.
Ballycroft Vineyards and Cellars
Ballycroft’s tagline is “Small Winemaker, Big Wines” and they certainly deliver on that promise. Joe and Sue have a patch of land in the beautiful village of Greenock and their vines are planted in the stony, sloping block right next to the Cellar Door. The harsh terrain produces glorious wines - big, bold, rich and generous reds are coaxed from the small berries that grow under these difficult conditions, so much so that they’re very well known for their Small Berry Shiraz.
In a break from historic stone buildings, Joe and Sue have recently completed the build on a brand new, purpose-built winery and cellar door tasting area. It’s modern, industrial and open plan, meaning you can see the winery in action during different phases of the year and learn about the art of winemaking from Joe who boasts over 25 vintages in some of the Barossa’s most renown cellars. We highly recommend a visit to their Cellar Door. Allow plenty of time to chat - Joe is a champion talker (and coming from me, that’s really saying something) and passionate about all things Barossa. You’ll have a ball.
PS - while you’re in Greenock, may we recommend that you drop into The Greenock - it’s a classic country pub, family owned and a genuine hub for the community. And the pies are fanastic!
So there you have it. Our pick of the Barossa’s smallest producers and cellar doors. We know there are plenty more - who would you add to the list?