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My and my new wife are going to both barossa and mclaren vale in december. I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE any info/recommendations about wineries while we are down there from people who have been there and have some good two cents to give.

Things that I am interested in...higher end reds (sorry to all the white lovers but I dont care for them) that are difficult to find in the US or not available at all. Also, would hope the cellar doors themselves are fun to be at with attractive grounds and good people. I am interested in either boutique OR larger cellar doors but not too commercial (as these are obviously found all over the US).

Will NOT be able to go to all these in Barossa but rough list so far is as follows..

two hands
greenock creek
peter lehmann

Again, cant go to all but starting list for mclaren is....

kay brother amery vineyards
clarendon hills
wirra wirra
samuel's gorge
fox creek
tin shed

I have been doing my own research but what better place to get first hand info than from people who have been to these places. All you out there on these boards....I value your opinions and hope you can help!

I unfortunately only have 4 days total...and havent decided whether to do 2 days in each area or do 3 in barossa and just one in mclaren. Also, through the wineries own websites, I know many of the above have open cellar doors but some dont say, so if you know that as well (open to public, need to have appt, or just plain dont allow us at the winery) that would be great to know.

Again, thank you for your help and recommendations!!
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I visited the Barossa for a few days last year.
Here's a brief run down of the cellar doors from your list that I visited.

I know it's an icon of Australian wine but I simply wasn't impressed by the cellar door experience. The staff member who was serving us seemed a lot more into flirting with the European backpackers wearing tight tops at other end of the counter than promoting Penfolds wines to us. He poured a bunch of the lower end wines, provided very little info but when we asked to taste some of the better stuff (e.g. Bin 707), he said he couldn't do that. Maybe you need an appointment to taste the better stuff? I don't know.

Two Hands
Before going there I hadn't tried any of Two Hands wines before. The cellar door is attractive and modern, the staff knowledgeable and helpful, and many of the wines were excellent. Try the garden series (Bella's, Lily's, etc) and the flagships if you can. We didn't need to make an appointment but I believe they offer private tastings by appointment.

For such a large operation I was very impressed with the experience at the cellar door. I had not realized just how many wines Yalumba produced and I was mainly familiar with the lower end ones but after spending about 90 minutes there we tasted through many of them including the higher end reds like The Octavius and The Signature. The staff were great and the grounds are very attractive.

I was there only to try the fortifieds which were very good. The grounds are interesting to look at.

Had heard good things about them but when we arrived (no appointment) the tasting room was packed and we didn't have a particularly good time. The wines however were very good as I recall.

Some other ones that aren't on your list but maybe should be are:
Appointments are essential. It doesn't get much more personal than the experience we had at Dutschke. Upon arrival we were greeted by the man himself, Wayne Dutschke, who took us into the barrel shed where we tasted through the range of wines while having an interesting conversation with the winemaker about his style and future plans and so on. Then he took us over to the smaller shed to taste the fortified wines. We really enjoyed Wayne's style, the wines and the hospitality. He mentioned plans to build a new cellar door but I don't know if it's been finished yet.

Rolf Binder
Rolf seemed like an interesting character and his wines are definitely worth trying. We caught him on a busy day and he seemed rushed so I think it would definitely pay to make an appointment.

Jacob's Creek
Worth a look if you have time. Our accomodations were nearby so we made a quick stop at Jacob's Creek on the way home one afternoon.

As Ric suggests, check out his tour diaries. Lots of good info there.

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