The Barossa is overflowing with history, food, art – and of course – wine. And a stay at The Louise, a newly renovated boutique accommodation, puts you right in the epicentre of the action.
Located approximately an hour out of Adelaide, the Barossa’s rolling hills and crisp air offer a welcome respite. A stay at The Louise – the latest addition to the Bailie Lodges portfolio – lets you truly enjoy all that’s on offer.
Stepping inside the newly renovated reception is a reminder that this is the beating heart of Australia’s wine country with interiors complemented by long views out to the vine-topped hills, angled straight past a lantern-like wine cellar.
Max Pritchard Gunner Architects used a deft hand to redefine the guest arrival experience at The Louise. “Our main aim was to create consistency and flow through the main building with organic, sculptural elements. The reception should communicate that you’re entering somewhere special,” says founding principal Max Pritchard on the redesign.
Once inside the suite, that connection to the surroundings and the expansive views continues where private outlooks are activated with abstract sculptures. But the real treat is the array of thoughtful local inclusions in the room – from a bespoke incense to homemade honey cookies – every element is an expression of the artisanal food and products that are so accessible and abundant in the region.
A stand-out while staying at The Louise is dining at Appellation. The fine dining restaurant is headed up by Executive Chef Asher Blackford who has crafted delicate and sophisticated food that draws on local produce and growers. The five-course degustation is a symphony of what’s on offer from the region.
Dining at Appellation is heightened by the new seating arrangements that look out onto the vineyards – originally planted by Peter Lehmann – through large picture-frame windows.
“Appellation was already in the best location, so we designed a series of semi-circular banquettes to create intimate dining settings and capitalise on the views,” says Pritchard.
Luxury wine experiences abound
A stay at The Louise brings unfettered access to some of the best experiences in the region, no matter what your interests might be.
Of course, for many journeying to the Barossa, wine is no doubt top of the list. Tscharke Wines is easily one of the most interesting wineries in the Barossa, and its location right across the road from The Louise has fostered a special relationship.
Tscharke has set out to do things differently, creating wine that is both certified organic and biodynamic. Tscharke also creates amphorae wines, housed in terracotta urns that sit in a massive underground cellar – a way to naturally regulate the wine without artificial heating and cooling, and Damien Tscharke, the winemaker, confirms the new set up has reduced evaporation in the process. Stepping down into the underground vault brings with it a very James Bond moment, the round glowing bar calls me to sit and learn more with a special wine tasting experience.
Tscharke has also just opened the doors on a new wine bar concept – The Protagonist – where locals and visitors can drop in and enjoy a glass of wine, including from the museum archive, or even a glass of champagne. The imported German barn has been fitted out with touches that reflect the owner’s quirks and predilection for quality, for instance, the sumptuous Walter Knoll armchairs up on the mezzanine offer an inviting place to sit and truly settle in.
Another local winemaker coming at the industry in a different way is Grant Dickson, the founder of micro-producer Otherness. As the name alludes, it’s a brand that is proud to be forging a new path with a guerrilla-style approach to making wine. With eight wines in the line-up, each is a collaboration with a different wine maker. To enjoy the range book into a wine tasting at the Otherness cellar door, which is so much more than a cellar door. Designed by Tanunda-based studio JBG Architects, the space is minimalist and agrarian in its aesthetic, with a delightful food offering.
St Hugo is steeped in history, which is apparent as soon as passing through the ornate gates. Situated on Jacob’s Creek, this is Australian wine-making royalty, and given the strong legacy there are plenty of stories to take in.
The restaurant, tasting rooms and function spaces have been built into what was the original gravity-fed winery. Also designed by JBG Architects, the building blends with the historic fabric of the site. The food, however, is modern and refined, harvested directly from the rambling gardens where possible.
The St Hugo x Riedel glass masterclass was truly mind-blowing – educational but inspiring. Even as a wine novice, you will walk away feeling confident in your own ability to taste, smell and savour wine and how the glass it comes in changes its profile.
Another winery with far reaching roots in the area is Yalumba – at over 170 years old, it’s one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the Barossa. Recognising the value in such a rich history, a tour of Yalumba feels personal yet grand.
As such a large-scale wine producer nothing is done in halves. There’s an onsite cooperage with a master cooper and apprentices that make 300 barrels a year, and old underground tanks have been converted into a show-stopping space by Grieve Gillett Andersen, which you can have a peek at on some of the various tours.
ART & DESIGN
If wine is not your go-to favourite, rest assured there is still plenty to do and see around the Barossa. A trip to Seppeltsfield is a journey into history and craftsmanship.
Overflowing with handmade and design-driven art, ceramics, glass, jewellery and all manner of intriguing one-of-a-kind pieces, the Jam Factory shop is hard to walk away from without making a purchase.
Vasse Virgin natural perfumery masterclass
The connection between taste and olfactory is well documented, with smell being a large influence on taste. In between the wine tastings, or instead of, put your ability to layer a scent to the test at Vasse Virgin. This all-natural skincare brand has manufacturing and retail housed within a historic building on the grounds, and a private workshop space downstairs.
The beauty of a trip to the Barossa is it can be as leisurely and relaxing, or action-packed as you’d like – but leave plenty of room in the suitcase to bring bottles home for later.
Photography by Aleesha Callahan unless otherwise stated.
This article originally appeared on our sister publication Luxury Travel magazine. The writer was a guest of The Louise.