Looking to go on a wine tour, where you don’t have to hustle a heap of mates together to fill a bus or be really limited to the wineries you can visit?
Then you need to check out Trailhopper.
Trailhopper started operating in 2016, and since then it has taken off in leaps and bounds. Operating in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, Trailhopper is a cost effective and easy way to cellar-door-hop around your favourite wine regions for a fraction of the price of a normal wine tour (starting from just $49 for the day), and without the restrictions of numbers. Flying solo, a group of friends or just a couple- they have you covered.
My besties and I were lucky enough to try out Trailhopper in my favourite wine region- McLaren Vale, and we were impressed. After smashing a pre-wine coffee at the Mclaren Vale Visitor Centre, we headed out to the bus and were greeted by our lovely driver Monique. We sussed out the list of 16 wineries/restaurants in the region, picked where we wanted to go, and bam, off we went. It was easy as that. There were so many of my favourites to choose from- including D’Arenberg, Alpha Box & Dice, Red Poles and Wirra Wirra, just to name a few.
Our first stop was at S.C Pannell.
Their wine game is strong, and their wine list is very long. We opted for the $10 paid tasting, which was free if you bought a bottle of wine from the door- which of course we did because the wines were AMAZING. We were suckers for the Montepulciano, Field Street Shiraz and the Aromatico. The cellar door staff were super friendly and knew the wines inside out. Once we were done inside tasting we headed out to the deck to soak in the view (and trying to dodge the rain). The deck is perfect in the summer when the sun is out, and their tapas menu and cheese boards are like no other. Well worth the trip!
Our second stop was at Chapel Hill wines.
Nestled on top of a hill with stunning views of the hills, this cellar door was cosy and inviting. Due to space, we did our tasting outside, surrounded by heaters and the gorgeous old stone walls. We sat there and slowly made our way through their tasting list, with their Vermentino and Sangiovese Rose being their standouts. We can’t wait to come back and try their Icon Tasting- their best red wines paired with local charcuterie and cheese- you can’t go wrong with that.
Our third and final stop was for lunch at Maxwell Wines Ellen Street Restaurant.
We kicked things off with a behind the scenes tour through their incredible Lime cave with winemaker Mark Maxwell. The mushrooms that are grown in the cave are then used in their kitchen, and turned into dishes like their Lime Cave mushrooms with sous vide egg and consommé (which is damn good). We spent a few hours drinking our way through a bottle of Shiraz and an epic three course meal, including entrees of Venison Carpaccio and Ocean Trout Tartare, mains of Dry Aged Beef and Gnocchi with hazelnut and crispy sage and desserts including whipped brie and truffle, Olive Oil Cake and Brown Butter ice-cream with Jelly Apple and Salty Caramel. We were left oh-so-full and content, and sat around the open fire to finish off the afternoon. All of us were so blown away the quality of the food and service we received, and we can’t wait to come back and dabble through their seasonal menu.
Once the day was finished it was a matter of meeting the bus driver at the pick-up point at the front of the winery, and getting driven to the place you jumped on (they offer two pick up points, one being Adelaide city centre).
If you’re looking for a wine tour for a big or small group, offering loads of flexibility and covering some of the best wine regions in SA then hit up Trailhopper on their Website, Facebook or Instagram. We’re already looking at our diary to see when we can explore the Adelaide Hills!
**The girls are I were treated by Trailhopper and Maxwell Wines to this awesome day out. Although this experience was gifted, all opinions about it remain honest and our own, and just quietly- we would book this tour 10 times over**