Wine Tasting in Australia 
Surprisingly (well not really if you know us) we’ve done a fair bit of wine tasting since arriving Down Under. At our first stop in Auckland, NZ we took a ferry boat to Waiheke Island and visited a number of wineries there. You can view our comments in our ‘What to see, eat and drink in Auckland‘ blog.

Adelaide and McLaren Vale
On the day we did this tasting we left Sydney (insert sad face here) and flew to Adelaide, AU. We rented a car at the airport and drove to the St. Francis Winery in Old Reynella, SA, Australia. On the way, through meticulous planning and research by Tara (of course) and navigating the right side of the car from the wrong side of the road (Jeff’s only job ~ which he was excellent at despite the screaming from Tara) we took a side trip to Chapel Hill Winery in McLaren Vale.

Chapel Hill Winery
Chapel Hill Winery was built on the site of the Seaview Chapel and school house. The 1865 ironstone Chapel still stands today and is an integral feature of the tasting room. Planting of the vineyard began in 1972 and the first vintage was made in 1975. Chapel Hill celebrated its 40th consecutive vintage in 2014.

One of the deciding factors in choosing Chapel Hill is that the winery does tastings a little different including a ‘sit down’ and ‘food pairing’ option in a semi-private tasting room. Sold, we’re in!

Wine Tasting at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill offers the standard tasting that most Canadian Wineries do… leaning on a bar with very small pours of their “value wines”. It was a $5 charge unless you made a purchase (I’m pretty sure we have never paid the $5 in Canada or the Napa Valley and we sure weren’t going to here)! We tasted the following wines:

  • 2018 Vermentino $20/bottle (easy drinking, refreshing, good patio sipper)
  • 2017 Gorge Block Chardonnay $25/bottle (good, buttery, good with a fish dinner)
  • 2018 Sangiovese Rose $18/bottle (not a fan, very dry lingering after taste for a Rose)
  • 2016 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre $25/bottle (jury is still out this one with three different grape flavours we are not overly familiar with)

Icon Tasting Experience
After the initial tasting, driving stress and flight to get to Chapel Hill we opted for the Icon Tasting Experience ($15 per person)! This is the food pairing with their higher end wines. We were each given a plate and told which item to pair with which wine.  Everybody’s tastes are different and we found some of the foods went better with other wines than suggested. We tasted:

  • 2016 Chapel Hill House Block McLaren Vale Shiraz $65/bottle, only 240 cases produced (our #3 – light and easy drinking Shiraz)
  • 2016 Chapel Hill Road Block McLaren Vale Shiraz $65/bottle, only 253 cases produced (our #1 choice, so smooth, lightly prices, could be drank with any food… or not)
  • 2016 Chapel Hill Gorge Block McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon $65/bottle, only 377 cases produced (our #4 certainly being a Cab Sauv it was heavier than the first two, it was paired with Parmigiano-Reggiano and we thought it went better with one of the more gamey meats)
  • 2016 Chapel Hill The Vicar Shiraz $75/bottle, less than 200 cases produced (our #2, a Shiraz style wine but more dark fruit than spice)

Chapel Hill Purchases
Really all 4 were excellent wines but we wanted to rank them for our own purposes, to decide which one to purchase. At the end of the tasting we purchased a bottle of the Road Block McLaren Vale Shiraz. We both loved it! We also purchased at 375ml of the Gorge Block Chardonnay. Both of which are now gone, but this is OK because I’m sure we’ll find another winery to do some more tasting on this trip. Oh and with the purchase the $40 worth of tasting fees was forgiven (still haven’t paid for one of these)!

We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf  for 10 years and provide business services to the golf and other industries. As of August 2016 our life and our business is ‘location independent’. Our 19th Hole Blog is about the places we visit and the things we do. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.