26 September 2023

Yalumba Celebrates Its Heritage

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By Christine Salins.


South Australian winery, Yalumba, has an extraordinary heritage. Next year it celebrates its 175th birthday. Even more remarkably, it has had six generations of family ownership. Still in the hands of the Hill-Smith family, it is Australia’s oldest family-owned winery.

It’s also a stunningly beautiful property, with a grand cellar door, historic clock tower, and Australia’s only onsite winery cooperage. It certainly stands proud amongst Barossa Valley wineries.

Visitors can experience the property in various ways. Yalumba’s manager of tourism & hospitality, Lisa Anderson, says they have been working hard over the past three years to put together a meaningful program of tastings and tours which offer an insight into the winery’s history.

“We find guests exploring the Barossa are searching for authentic experiences that allow them to learn more about the vineyards, the region and our family heritage, as well as discover wines exclusive to the Wine Room,” she says.

Open daily, the Wine Room offers a variety of tasting flights, including cellar door exclusives and rare museum releases. Last year, the Wine Room team, led by Daniel Kavanagh, was named as a finalist in the Wine Communicator Awards as Best Wine Communicator – Cellar Door, a testament to its dedication in sharing the Yalumba story with visitors.

Yalumba’s most popular experience is the two-hour Yalumba Unlocked Tour, which includes a private tour of the cooperage, a tour of the estate grounds and historic buildings, a guided wine tasting and a platter of local artisanal produce.

There is also a one-hour Cooperage Tour offering a tasting of 5 wines, along with a rare insight into the craft of wine barrel making, a tradition that has been happening at Yalumba for more than 100 years.

Other experiences include Icons of Yalumba, a four-hour progressive tasting through the estate, featuring Yalumba’s Rare & Fine wines, a tasting straight from the barrel, a tasting of The Octavius (Yalumba’s flagship Shiraz) while in the cooperage, and access to the family’s personal wine museum. It finishes with a local produce platter (or in cooler months a warm dish that can be enjoyed by the roaring fire).

There is also a four-hour Signature Tour offering a tasting amongst the vines, a look at the Hill-Smith family’s private museum cellar, and a private lunch paired with Rare & Fine wines. Guests are escorted to the Signature Vineyard at Lights Pass, home to the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown for The Signature.

Another special tour visits some of the world’s oldest Grenache vines, with a tasting amongst the vines. Picnics can also be arranged in the picturesque Yalumba grounds.

Walk-ins are welcome but bookings are recommended for experiences and tasting flights. For more information, visit www.yalumba.com

Heggies Vineyard 2022 Riesling, $26: The Heggies Vineyard is 500 metres above sea level in the high country of Eden Valley. The cooler conditions produce Rieslings of great finesse, their natural acidity balanced with beautiful flavour ripeness. Floral and green apple aromas, generous flavours of lemon and lime, with mineral notes in delicate balance.

Heggies Vineyard 2018 Reserve Chardonnay, $35: Matured for 15 months in French oak, this is a truly gorgeous Chardonnay that was a great hit with guests who are avowed Chardonnay lovers. There’s a hint of brioche and a lovely creaminess, flavours of lemon curd and hazelnut, and a deliciously long finish.

mesh Eden Valley 2022 Riesling, $35: This is a collaboration between two fine Riesling producers, Jeffrey Grosset, from Clare Valley, and Yalumba’s Robert Hill-Smith working with Eden Valley fruit. They crush and ferment separately before debating the final blend. This one is zesty and aromatic with intense lemon, lime and grapefruit flavours, and a dry, crisp, refreshing acidity. Try it with oysters.

Pewsey Vale Vineyard 2022 Lighter Riesling, $26: This is a lighter style of Riesling with just 9% alcohol, making it a great option for those who don’t want to over-indulge. Redolent of kaffir lime and freshly squeezed lemons, it’s a great quaffing wine on a late summer afternoon.

Yalumba 2018 Paradox Shiraz, $50: The name gives a clue to the style: gentle and savoury rather than big and oaky as might be expected of a northern Barossa Shiraz. Dark crimson/almost black in colour, it smells of rose petals and vanilla, with flavours that are reminiscent of Christmas cake with hints of licorice and dark chocolate. Silky smooth and a joy to drink.

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