Wines of Barossa: Visit to the Jacobs Creek Visitor Centre

Wine wine everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

That’s what Arjun Singh must have felt when we were in the Barossa because guess who was the designated driver? Hehe…But it was either him or me and ummm, I don’t drive that well, so poor him. So he kept up the conscientious resolve…. Until we reached the Jacobs Creek Visitor Centre. And I signed us up both for the Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting, which included a tour of ….the vineyards (duh!), and a complimentary tasting of 7 of their premium blends. He was not going to give up on THAT.

Look how happy he is
Look how happy he is

Jacobs Creek is one of the biggest wine makers from Australia, and their wines are grown and made all over the South; Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra. However, it is at Barossa that their visitor centre is located and where you meet the elves in Jacob ‘Claus’ Creek’s wine workshop. Haha, I wish there were elves. Maybe there are. But we’ll never know ;)

The centre offers a host of tours and tasting experiences to cater to all types of visitors: the foodie, the history-buff, the environmentalist, the wine-lover. The photographer? Not so much. Don’t get me wrong.  The premises are beautiful, the setting is elegant and scenic.

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You are treated to views of the grape plantation spread over the rolling hills. It’s quite a sight. However visitors aren’t really allowed to visit the plantation in Barossa. You are only allowed access to the visitor centre, and a dedicated green patch where you can relax on picnic style benches, and leisurely take in the views, while lying back on super comfy bean bag style mattresses. There is also a special area that is exclusive to the vineyard tour groups which is cordoned off from the rest of the visitors. This has a sample of each type of the 14 grapes that Jacobs Creek growers cultivate.

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The Vineyard Tour and Tasting tour starts off with a bit of history, a tour of the visitor centre which takes you via an informative display. The gallery has an interesting display of the wine bottles, the corking and bottling techniques over the years. You then move onto the vineyard, or in this case the exclusive tour-special vineyard, with the sample crops.

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Once there, you are then allowed to roam around, check out each type of grape and even taste some. That was my favourite part. Most of the whites had dried up but the reds were plump and ready for picking. They were like super sweet raisins, the kind you want in christmas cake, except that they were fresh, and ripe for picking. And I picked a lot. Yay!

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Look at how ripe and juicy the Grenache is

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It was here that I discovered a new grape called the Grenache. The time we visited the valley, it was end of harvesting season already, so most of the crops were bare, but there was a particular grape that was still on the vines, and looked ripe and ready. This was the Grenache, a red grape that ripens late and typically has a high tolerance for heat and drought. True that, because given the hot hot days we encountered and the heat the area is prone to during end of harvesting season, the Grenache was doing spectacularly well. Typically used in blends (mixing with other grapes), you will most likely not find a grenache wine on it’s own, as they have high oxidation levels, which leads to a stronger tanin flavour on the palate as the wine ages. The most favoured blend for this grape is a GSM: Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre.

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Happily posing away with the Merlot, thinking it was the Grenache.. oops

I am not a big fan of red wines, however there are certain reds that I do like, a good Shiraz makes my day, a Merlot not so much. However, the idea of a GSM sounded very enticing (I had already tried the dried grape, I was sure the wine would be delicioussimo too :D) And it totally was. We tried the St Hugos GSM as part of our tasting, and WIN for the red wine corner. (Don’t worry, white, you are still my favourite)

The wine tasting was quite a lovely experience. As I mentioned before, you get to try 7 of their best wines, and they are superbly generous. Arjun Singh tried his reds, and I the whites, and ofcourse the GSM. By the end of it, we were in a state of delicious bliss, and the bean bag hammocks were calling out to us. So we put up our feet, gazed out at the fine Jacobs Creek plantations, smiled indulgently at everyone around us, gazed adoringly at each other, and even snoozed a teensy bit. (Hey, it’s us, we LOVE to sleep).

Things You Must Know About The Jacobs Creek Visitor Centre:

The Good:

  1. The Vineyard Tour and Tasting allows you access to the exclusive sample crops of the Jacobs Creek wineyards, where you get ample time to explore, taste, touch, and click
  2. A generous sampling of some of their best wines. 7, to be precise, for AUD 15 is a super good deal
  3. There are also free samplings of the chosen wine of the month, which happen every 2-3 hours
  4. The premises are gorgeous. The outdoorsy deck, the plantation views, everyone is allowed to visit and relax.
  5. An amazing variety of tours offered for the wine lover

The Bad:

  1. I felt it the setup was a bit commercial, especially the special plantation area open only to people who sign up for tours. Without that you aren’t allowed access to the crops at all. The only place you were allowed free access too was the bar and the restaurant and the picnic area.
  2. Too much paranoia. We had to sanitise our shoes before entering the sample crop area, which was essentially a gated and boxed crop patch. Maybe my displeasure stemmed from the fact that we had visited many other wine growers and makers who were far less paranoid about people checking out their crops, or bringing in the dreaded phylloxera pest.

The Ugly:

Nothing at all, I just wanted to use the headings in the post :)

Fun Fact:

The family behind the Jacobs Creek wines are actually the Grampp family. Jacob was the land owner, from whom the Grampps bought land for commercial cultivation, and the creek running beside his house was named after him. The bottles carry the Gramps family signature, of Johann Grampp.

All views expressed are mine. I had a yummazing time at the visitor centre, however did not get a detailed look at the brand and its wines. But that is purely because I chose the tour but wasn’t too well informed about it. Make sure you pick the tour that appeals most to you, and what you want to do at the centre. Eat, drink, be merry, learn, bike around, and even cook. It’s all yours for the picking :)

If you want to know more about Jacobs Creek, you can visit their website here 

Also, this is an extensive and uber-gorgeous post by Katie from What Katie Ate, where she was a guest of Jacobs Creek (sigh). Read on here to marvel at her photography and learn tonnes more about the behind-the-scenes plus the magic behind Jacobs Creek.

I am linking this post to #TheWeeklyPostcard link up that happens in some super fun blogs hosted by Lyn and her pals. Head on there to check out her fun blog.

A Hole In My Shoe

Scarecrows of Barossa

Scarecrows? Really? THAT’s what I choose to talk to you about from my trip to the Barossa? You know, the valley which is the Napa of Australia! Gazillions of vineyards all across town and I am posting about scarecrows.

Of course I am posting about scarecrows. Because they were colorful, creative, and all over the place, I just HAD to tell you about it too. See, everyone knows that Barossa is home to some yummazing wines. Jacobs Creek, Seppenfelts, & Penfolds come from this valley, people. And I am guessing the serious Masterchef Australia fans know that Barossa is also home to Maggie Beer and her lovely farm/cafe.

But you know the first thing I saw when I entered the town centre of Barossa?

This.

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As we drove past this, for a split second Arjun Singh and I thought that these were very colorful people, just sitting about and doing nothing. But hold on, those were not people dressed in overalls, and that was not a woman who had crashed into a tree. We stopped and went close for a look. This was definitely not a woman who had crashed into a tree.

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Witch: Scarecrow Garden

Waitaminnnit, I screamed, these are PUPPETS. Arjun Singh is like, ermmm, can you not read, it says the Scarecrow Garden. Oh ya, it does. Okay, I screamed again, these are such COOL SCARECROWS.

There was Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall.

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Humpty Dumpty: Scarecrow Garden

This puppet (see, there were puppets too) was taking his scarecrow to the market, or farm maybe.

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Farmer and Scarecrow: Scarecrow Garden

We drove on and in the next few miles, found another scarecrow, this time at the entrance to one of the wineyards

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So of course the curious cat that I am, I checked Google, and was informed that this was the time of the year when the residents of the Barossa Valley celebrated their end of harvesting season with the Barossa Vintage Festival.  (See, lazy plan-da me, comes to know of something after I get there.. eeps) And as part of the celebrations, the residents come up with these scarecrow montages all across town to participate in the Barossa Scarecrow Trail. It’s a real thing, yep, with a prize worth AUD 1000 to the winner. And boy, do these guys get into with unbridled enthusiasm. Men and scarecrows, alike.

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Hangover: Part Scarecrow anyone?

These scarecrows were all over. On the streets, at petrol stations, on telephone wires, in the back of a truck, outside of family-owned vineyards.

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Drunk (I hope) Wedding Party
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Medic Scarecrows
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Fuel Station Attendant Scarecrow

We found a dedication to Red Riding Hood and 3 Little Piggies, with the big, bad wolf as their big bad villain, in the middle of a recently harvested vineyard. How creative is that!

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collage

 

Wasn’t that the cutest?

What say you tell me which ones you liked too? Would be fun to see what tickles your scarecrow-appreciation bone.

If you want to know more about the Barossa Scarecrow Trail, you can click here. Plus here’s another great post about these scarecrows, from Fiona.

We were lucky enough to get to see this when we visited because the festival happens once in 2 years, and the next one is now in April 2017. So, do plan accordingly.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you did, please do subscribe to this blog. I only share fun stories, so you won’t get bored. I promise.

Pssst, and don’t you worry. I am going to be gushing about the Wines of Barossa soon enough. I HAVE TO.

 

I am linking this post to the Wanderlust link up party hosted here

Wanderlust

And also to the #WeekendWanderlust link up party. To know more about the #WeekendWanderlust link up party, you can click here: