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Wine & Bikes: Guide to the 2021 Santos Festival of Cycling

With the main race winding its way through the best of SA's wine regions, there's plenty on offer during January's Santos Festival of Cycling.

Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley.

The Santos Tour Down Under – usually the first event of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) World Tour each year – has been reimagined for 2021

This time around it’s known as the Santos Festival of Cycling, a six-day celebration of all disciplines of cycling, including road, track, paracycling, BMX, mountain and cyclo-cross.

The main event, however, will be the four stage National Road Series Race, taking place over three days and taking in some of the country’s most spectacular wine country. If you’re heading to South Australia for the festival, it’s worth planning your days around the race to enjoy some of the state’s best wine and food offerings.

Fino Seppeltsfield.

Day One: Thursday 21 January 2021
Seppeltsfield to Tanunda, Barossa Valley

Make your way to historic Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley: the women’s race kicks off at 9am, followed by the men’s at 1:15pm. Be sure to visit the cellar door for an in-depth tasting of the Seppeltsfield range of Barossa wines crafted by 2020 Winemaker of the Year Finalist Fiona Donald, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, take a tour of the Centennial Cellar and sample rare vintage tawny straight from the barrel. Once the men’s race is underway, indulge in one of Australia’s best long lunches at Fino Seppeltsfield (bookings required).

Afterwards, head to one (or more) of the great wineries along the course to take in some of the region’s best – top recommendations include Langmeil, Rieslingfreak and the Artisans of Barossa.

Ginkgo Restaurant at Golding Wines.

Day Two: Friday 22 January 2021
Birdwood to Lobethal, Adelaide Hills

The race heads to the beautiful Adelaide Hills on Day Two, kicking off at Birdwood’s National Motor Museum and culminating at Golding Wines in Lobethal, winner of the region’s Best Tasting Experience in the 2020 Best Cellar Door Awards.

Although it’s a big region, the Hills are brimming with striking vistas, exceptional locally produced food and world class cool-climate wines; a day spent exploring is well spent. Check out the immaculate new wave offerings at Murdoch Hill or take in the views (and a glass of pinot) at Pike & Joyce before heading back to Golding Wines to welcome race finishers – and perhaps lunch at the renowned Ginkgo Restaurant.

d’Arenberg.

Day Three: Saturday 23 January 2021
McLaren Vale to Willunga

The final day in wine country (the race officially finishes in Adelaide on Sunday 24 January) sees the race take in the stunning coastal region of McLaren Vale, commencing at d’Arenberg at 9am (women’s) and 1pm (men’s). D’Arenberg and its famous Cube are within close proximity to whole host of exceptional cellar doors so prepare to feel spoiled for choice. Tastings at Lloyd Brothers, Alpha Box and Dice, S.C. Pannell and Oliver’s Taranga are all inspired choices, although for a true McLaren Vale summer experience, head for lunch at Port Willunga’s Star of Greece – its sweeping views of the St Vincent Gulf coupled with fresh local seafood and wine makes for a Saturday afternoon like no other.

Head to tourdownunder.com.au for more festival information, ticketing and events.