Today on the blog I would like to introduce you to Natalie Green from cellardoors.co who’ll be sharing with us some very cool wine experiences to add to your bucket lists. Cellardoors.co is a free app and website connecting wine lovers who love to travel and travellers who love wine. Let’s dig in…
Haven’t bucket lists become quite the thing over the last few years? (I blame Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman).
It’s got to a point that not having a bucket list might be seen as a character flaw or lack of accomplishment (ironically, since the whole point of the bucket list is to draw attention to things you haven’t yet accomplished).
Still, anything that gets you out of your comfort zone, off the couch and into discovery mode has got to be a good thing.
And, even if you limit yourself to Australia’s wine trail there is much to get excited about. To paraphrase Mr Narrator himself, Morgan Freeman:
I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy wine-ing.
8 items that must go on the bucket list of any self-respecting Aussie wine lover:
1. Visit the whole bloody lot
Excuse my French, but the sheer scale of wine-producing pockets in Australia needs emphasis. There are 77 wine regions here and 1400-1600 cellar doors (it changes from week to week … and yes, I’ve counted). Let me start by chucking a big truth bomb into the bucket: they’re all worth a visit. While I’m going to single out a few here if you can make it your mission to visit all Aussie cellar doors – or at least try – you’re on a good wicket. Plus, they’re our farmers (it would be rude not to support them!)
2. Match every Aussie ‘Big Thing’ with a complimentary wine
You know what I’m talking about, right? The big things of Australia are a loosely related set of large structures, some of which are novelty architecture and some are sculptures. There are estimated to be over 150 such objects around the country, so you are in for a degustation menu of continent proportions. You may wish to start with Gewürztraminer at the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour; a Cabernet Merlot with the Big Marino in Goulburn; Viognier with the Big Macadamia Nut in Nambour; sparkling with the Big Lobster in Kingston; a Shiraz with the Big Cows in Newhaven; a Riesling with the Big Crocodile in Whyndam, and a cask of goon at the Big Bogan in Nyngah. (Things are going to start to get tricky when you hit the Big Wheelbarrow in Port Hedland and the Big Mower in Beerwah).
3. Jacob’s Creek winery in the Barossa Valley
Sometimes you’ve just got to go all out. In this one location, you can experience great food and wine, vineyard tours – not to mention cooking classes. This one’s a ‘stay for the day’. You have the option of signing up for a food and wine matching experience, wine education and sensory session, cooking class and lunch packages. This is 42 hectares that also feature a picturesque bike track that weaves between the vineyards, a peaceful native garden walking trail with native wildlife that you might happen upon while you stroll along the banks of the world-famous creek.
4. Sky-diving with a cellar door chaser
Because why wouldn’t you jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane at 15,000 feet? And, more to the point, why wouldn’t you need a strong drink afterwards? You can combine your love of hurtling through the air with stunning views to distract you with wine appreciation in many Australian wine destinations like the Hunter Valley, the Yarra Valley, Busselton, Nagambie Lakes and Adelaide. For the less confronting but just as bucket list-worthy option, swap the sky-dive with a ride in a hot air balloon.
Skydive Geronimo in Western Australia also has a fabulous skydiving and wine tour package in the Margaret River – it’s a must do!
5. Visit a small boutique cellar door in Tasmania
The Apple Isle is just filled with family run wineries. They are a special breed dedicated to and proud of their craft and well worth setting aside time to get to know in between the larger, more well-known, more architecturally extravagant destinations. Places like Pressing Matters in the Coal River Valley and Boomer Creek Vineyard on the central East Coast will make you glad you stopped by and got an alternative taste of the real deal.
6.Visit an outback cellar door
We can thank the Southern Flinders region for cellar doors in the outback. There are many growers and a few cellar doors in this warm climate known for producing Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. You can also discover beautifully coaxed Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo and more. There are also a few wineries in the Northern Territory believe it or not!
7. Veuve Clicquot at 1937m
Head to Thredbo in the NSW Snowy Mountains for quite the refreshing little warmer. Famous for their Clicquot in the Snow pop-up bars, you haven’t lived until you’ve had the most decadent of après-snow tipples.
8. Have a great white with a Great White
In the wonderful world of Oz, what doesn’t taste delectable is trying to kill you. Amirite? While researching this fine list of must-do experiences for the wine lover (Australian edition), I couldn’t help but wonder if we could dare to combine one of the most enjoyable activities with one of the most terrifying? A simple Google search answered my curiosity. Wine tasting with a great white shark? Yeah, you can. Adventure Bay Charters in Port Lincoln, SA claim to have the world’s first Shark “Aqua Sub”. A revolutionary new way to view Great White Sharks in their natural habitat. A glass viewing area with a glass of wine drinking area that allows you to sit back with one of Aussie’s finest and marvel at the grace and beauty of the Great White Shark. Well, I’ve seen everything.
Heaven knows, the more you get to know Australian wine and its winemakers, the longer your bucket list will grow. Here’s to a great start. Now, get busy!