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BEST PLACES TO DRINK WINe: SOUTH AUSTRALIA

LEIGH STREET WINE ROOM

Hellbound

Basement/201 Rundle St, Adelaide
hellboundwinebar.com

Go for: the salty snack menu courtesy of Hannah Jeffrey

The entrance to this wine bar is discreet but Billie Justice Thomson’s artwork on the front door (inspired by the Domaine Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru) is an indication of what goes on inside. Winemaker Louis Schofield and drinks distributor Mark Reginato transformed a former office into their intimate underground den of iniquity in 2018. The word ‘Hellbound’ in neon-pink lettering casts a glow over patrons (many of whom are winemakers) as they flick through a dynamic list of more than 250 wines, spirits, beers and cocktails. They span the globe – from 2018 Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge to Schofield’s own 2020 Worlds Apart Hope Forest Sauvignon Blanc. The soundtrack is stellar. Think Talking Heads, N.W.A and Jens Lekman.  KATIE SPAIN

Vintners Bar & Grill

752 Stockwell Rd, Angaston
vintners.com.au

Go for: the crab linguine paired with a white Burgundy

Vintners, like many others, chose 2020 as the ideal time to reboot. Part-owner and manager Rami Heer has evolved the restaurant into an iconic institution and a must-visit when in the Barossa. Classic Angaston stone-walled charm dishing out an engaging food offering that hits all the classic ‘bar & grill’ high notes, plus a few new-era non-negotiables (see tins of Ortiz anchovies with crusty bread). An extensive wine list and generous BYO policy assures the presence of Barossa royalty (you might score a splash of something special). You can’t go past the grilled steak and something from Piedmont. Book a big table and make a day of it.  OLLIE MARGAN

The Crafers Hotel

8 Main St, Crafers
crafershotel.com.au

Go for: a glass of Pétrus with your burger and the on-site accommodation

Discover and devour. That’s what Crafers Hotel co-owner Ed Peter wants you to do when you visit the historic Adelaide Hills pub he, his partner Julie, and Brett and Sarah Matthews purchased and restored in 2014. A sense of disbelief is also encouraged. That’s why Peter regularly hides old treasures throughout the 2000-strong wine room. Many of the bottles come from his own gobsmacking global collection. “I want them to say, ‘Is that really a 1982 at that price?’,” he says. Visitors are welcome to explore the wine room. It’s all class, while simultaneously laid back. Slurp Moules au Vin Blanc (South Australian mussels with charred baguette) or pub classics in the French bistro-style dining room and front bar. Cool lounge music (Café del Mar-meets-Hôtel Costes) completes the experience.  KATIE SPAIN

LOC Bottle Bar

6 Hindmarsh Sqr, Adelaide
locbottleshop.com/pages/loc-bottle-bar

Go for: the rad fit-out by Kipfler Architects

Olivia Moore launched LOC as an online retail concept at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This generous delivery service of organically farmed, lo-fi wines from producers near and far has now manifested into one of Adelaide’s most wonderful neighbourhood bars – albeit in the CBD. A mostly one-woman band, LOC is Liv, and Liv is LOC. You may not be fanatical about wines of this ilk, but I challenge you to not have a good time. The procedure is simple: walk in, say hi, grab a bottle off the wall, pay for bottle, maybe order a snack (anything from oysters to pasta to ramen to burgers – this is someone’s house party, it is whatever is on that day), attempt to find a seat, repeat. Simple, effective, fun.  OLLIE MARGAN

The Summertown Aristologist

1097 Greenhill Rd, Summertown
thesummertownaristologist.com

Go for: the house-made salumi with a 2020 Lucy M Vin Rouge

There’s every chance for a close encounter of the natural winemaker kind at this little Adelaide Hills restaurant. Co-owners Anton van Klopper (Lucy Margaux), Jasper Button (Commune of Buttons) and Aaron Fenwick (Château Comme Ci, Comme Ça) are usually nearby. It’s laid-back and community-driven, like the locals perched around communal tables. The attention to detail in the cellar and kitchen is exemplary. Handmade crockery, glass tumblers and repurposed demijohn light shades are a nice touch. Chefs Ethan Eadie and Tom Campbell use organic ingredients sourced from a nearby Basket Range farm. Dishes are best shared, either as snacks or a full-blown long lunch. The recent addition of a natural wine bottle shop has solidified The Aristologist team as champions of the global natural wine community.  KATIE SPAIN

Victory Hotel

Old Sellicks Hill Rd, Sellicks Hill
victoryhotel.com.au

Go for: the rich history and that incredible view

One of Australia’s greatest pubs is perched up overlooking Sellicks Beach and the entire McLaren Vale wine region. Publican Doug Govan has steadily created a pub that is as much a temple to the greatest wines of the region, the nation and the world as it is a staple of local life. Expect to see the region’s wine community directing the finer points of a Chablis Premier Cru alongside local tradies chasing refreshment along amber lines. The underground ‘self-service’ cellar is home to what is thought to be the most comprehensive collection of Wendouree outside the Clare Valley winery itself, and is a roll call of Australia’s finest, peppered with plenty of Burgundy and a decent Italian section, too. Food is hearty pub bistro fare with an eye to quality ingredients and the views are as good as they come.  NICK STOCK

Leigh Street Wine Room

9 Leigh St, Adelaide
leighstreetwineroom.com

Go for: an in-depth look at natural wine in a cosy setting

This cosy tunnel, adorned with colourful labels and all things delicious and on-trend, has established itself as a welcome addition to the bustling thoroughfare from which it takes its name. Carefully prepared wine bar fare is served in share-friendly format to tiny tables and along a polished platform bar that is a culinary catwalk of delicious. You can delve as deep as you like into rarified French artisan wine or casually sip on the more interesting side of South Australia’s local winemaking scene. The soundtrack is lively and there’s a sense of intent in everything they do here. A place to relax and let the knowledgeable staff take the lead when exploring the world of less-conventional wine.  NICK STOCK

Seed Clare Valley

268 Main North Rd, Clare
seedclarevalley.com

Go for: the rooftop sundowners

Seed has been reimagined into a new space in an old bank, and is now a deli, bistro and rooftop. The bank vault cellar not only boasts a great selection of Clare Valley wines, but also an eclectic mix of Aussie and internationals. Grab a seat at the bar, try a couple of local wines by the glass and order some snacks: Clare riesling with Gazander oysters is an essential. Open a bottle of chardonnay or pinot for larger, shared dishes, or head upstairs to the buzz of the rooftop bar for wood-fired oven pizzas, hearty reds and cocktails. Justine Henschke

Photography by Ryan Cantwell, Josie Withers and Els Morgan, and Courtesy of Vintners Bar & Grill and Crafers Hotel.