Did someone say wine?
Our SA blogger Q gets her sip lips ready and discovers the very best drops with a tour of the National Wine Centre of Australia.
If you’re a local to Adelaide, you may have noticed the National Wine Centre take up pride of place on the northern border of Adelaide CBD, along with our Museum, Art Gallery, Botanical Gardens, Hospital and State Library, on the Northern border of the CBD over 10 years ago.
Architecturally impressive as it is, it’s not easy to miss, but what I had missed (entirely) is what goes on inside. As a visitor from either interstate or overseas, you should not stop once you hit the botanical gardens, but continue east to the National Wine Centre of Australia; it really is well worth a visit.
On entering my friend Jess and I we were greeted by a pleasantly calming ambience, wide open spaces with a view into the thermostatically controlled open roof ‘working’ wine cellar.
The rammed earth wall, made using ancient building techniques with earth sourced from Berri, Gawler and Golden Grove in South Australia, is the spine of the centre, and represents the coarse beginnings of the wine making process. The materials and construction style then emanate outward with finer and smoother materials reflecting the vine to glass journey of a wine itself.
I was particularly impressed with the 150 year old Shiraz vine extracted from St Hallett’s vineyard in Tanunda and then frozen in time in a riveting display from its gnarled old branches to patiently dug out root system. We were personally guided through the building, but you can also take a self-guided tour of the wine centre by grabbing a brochure and going on your own wine discovery journey.
We both had fun using interactive touch screens to design our own wines (neither was palatable, even with a few hints from our guide) but fun to try. You could, (among other things), interview wine makers, watch an award winning movie on viticulture or follow your nose, eyes or ears around the first floor.
The centre boasts its own vines on site and includes a range of beautiful (and well equipped) function spaces for between 10 and 1000 guests. We got a sneak peek at the indulgent set up for a year 12 formal as well as three different weddings.
If you’re anything like me, after all the tours and lolly gagging, you are beginning to wonder about the food and the wine right? Well, as well as an a la carte dinner menu, the concourse cafe also offers brunch and wine tasting flights to suit any taste, level of wine expertise and budget.
It was cold and blustery outside so wine and chocolate sounded like the perfect combination to us. Pairing wines with different cuisines or cheeses may be more popular, but wine and chocolate pairing is a fantastic way to warm up your day.
The handmade gourmet chocolates are totally to die for and paired with specific wines both enhance and in some cases alter the palate. I was particularly bemused by the way a mellow aged Riesling, when paired with a white chocolate with dried citrus fruits, sprung back to life as a younger more lively drop.
The National Wine Centre, as well as being renowned from an architectural and structural perspective has also gleaned a large amount of awards and nominations as a function venue. But as I now know, (and you do too), it also holds great tourism and educational value for anyone interested in either tasting wines or the wine making process.
In addition you can attend wine education courses at every level, dine at the concourse cafe or participate in a fortnightly free event showcasing wines from a featured winery with acoustic music and complimentary cheese platters and cocktail food, yum!
Things to mark in your diary now include; the Chocolate and Wine Master Class (go on, you need a new way to pair your wines with delicacies) and the Wine and Four Course Dining Experience where guests are personally entertained by a winemaker who will guide you through a selection of premium and exclusive wines from their winery. Bookings are essential and limited so what are you still reading this for? Go and make a booking now. (I’ll see you there!)