Looking for the Ultimate Wine Experience?

Two of South Australia’s oldest wineries have joined Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia (UWEA), in response to the recent growth of wine tourism in Australia.

Award-winning wineries, Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale and St Hugo in the Barossa, have joined the UWEA to bring the total number of SA-based wineries to seven, and nineteen nationally in the UWEA collection. Launched in 2013 to raise the profile of Australia as one of the world’s leading wine tourism destinations, the UWEA has since made gains in key international markets including China, North America, UK and Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand.

“We are seeing more and more people coming to Australia or travelling interstate to not only taste great wines but also immerse themselves in an experience that will take them beyond the cellar door and into a blending class or an exclusive session with the winemaker, a cooking class with matching wines or a scenic flight experience for example” said Sally Cope, Executive Officer, UWEA.

In fact, South Australia has developed a wine trail stretching across the three major wine regions – Adelaide Hills, the Barossa and McLaren Vale – all of which offer incredible experiences to visitors to the state, and now priding itself with the largest collection of UWEA members.

Wirra Wirra, one of South Australia’s oldest wineries, is now much more of a tourism destination than a cellar door. Established in the late 1800s by South Australian cricketer and self-confessed larrikin, Robert Strangeways Wigley, the winery has rooted itself in the spirit of adventure. A recent $850,000 investment toward upgrading its facilities, including a provedore style café, meeting rooms and the development of eight behind-the-scenes tours, has seen the winery earn its membership in UWEA.

Trott's Cellar at Wirra Wirra
Trott’s Cellar at Wirra Wirra

The behind-the scenes Signature Day Tour is more than just an opportunity to learn the characteristics of Cabernet, Grenache and Shiraz. Taking you beyond Trott’s cellar, Wirra Wirra offers you a tour of this historic ironstone winery, with Church Block blending sessions, flagship wine-tasting, lunch of spectacular regional produce and ringing the Angelus Bell.

“The tours not only tell the Wirra Wirra story but also give visitors a deeper understanding of the region as they learn about the geology, vineyards, climate and winemaking. In turn, I think they then get more out of the wines they taste as they have a deeper appreciation for their back-story,” said Andrew Kay, Managing Director of Wirra Wirra wines.

This story of wine tourism is repeated in the world-renowned Barossa Valley. Here, the newly built Home of St Hugo, honouring the legacy of Hugo Gramp who successfully built Gramp & Sons into an industry pillar, comprises a private tasting room, cosy wine lounge and fine dining restaurant located within the ruins of William Jacob’s ironstone winery, built over 150 years ago.

Outside view of St Hugo's, the Barossa Valley
Outside view of St Hugo’s, the Barossa Valley

For those looking to step up this up a little, there are a range of bespoke luxury experiences, including The Legacy, which includes a private helicopter flight over the Barossa Valley to the home of St Hugo. But for travellers wanting real bragging rights, the winery offers an in-depth overnight Prestige experience from $15,000 per person or they can achieve Sainthood for $150,000, the ultimate in a wine tasting luxury experience which includes a two night stay in the Barossa, private luxury transfers and personalised sessions with the Head Chef, Mark McNamara. The Sainthood experience goes even further enabling guests the opportunity to name a row of vines and a blending session with Chief Winemaker, Dan Swincer. Over three years their personal blend will be kept safe in St Hugo’s private vault and will be delivered to them by a personal wine ambassador at a time of their choosing at an event for up to eight people.

“This is such an exciting time for wine tourism in South Australia and Australia as a whole,” said Cope.

“Our collection of wineries is really setting the standard with investment in wine tourism. Wirra Wirra and St Hugo join other wineries such as Seppeltsfield, which was recently recognised with a Best in Wine Tourism award at the Global Wine Capitals, following their multi-million dollar transformation to a dynamic and multi-experiential destination; the newly renovated and multi-award winning Penfold’s Magill Estate; and d’Arenberg which will launch the spectacular d’Arenberg Cube next year,” she added.