BAROSSA VALLEY – A journey for the ‘Red Right Hand’

An incentive conference destination to excite

There is a wonderful romanticism about The Barossa. A great destination for a getaway with friends, family or just with your partner. It doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of a city or big country town and some, on first impressions, may find it a bit quiet. I admit that you could shoot a cannon down the main street and not hit anything some nights.

With a little local knowledge, a love of good wine and fine food, an interest in history, good judgement and an eye for the exceptional you can enjoy and explore the fine qualities the Barossa Valley has to offer. The “Barossa Be Consumed” promotional video featuring Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ lyrics, paints an inviting picture …

Take a little walk to the edge of town
And go across the tracks
Where the viaduct looms
Like a bird of doom
As it shifts and cracks

Where secrets lie in the border fires
In the humming wires
Hey man, you know
You’re ever coming back

Past the square, past the bridge
Past the mills, past the stacks
On a gathering storm comes
A tall handsome man
In a dusty black coat with
A red right hand

In meeting the local enthusiastic suppliers in the region, we learnt it can also be a special destination for a corporate executive program and a great destination for a small conference & incentive itinerary.

Thanks to the Sydney Barossa Roadshow Dinner in June we spent the weekend of 13 – 15 October 2017 in the Barossa Valley.

With the Northern Expressway linking Adelaide to the Barossa you are there in no time at all. After landing at peak hour we arrived at Steins Taphouse, Provenance Barossa, in the old Penfolds Laboratory next to Penfolds Winery in Nuriootpa, to meet some local winemakers around 6:30pm.

A craft beer lover’s paradise, with 12 taps of continuously rotating craft beers and 60 more available in cans or bottles, a range of micro-distilled spirits and liqueurs, and choice of local boutique wines. Our choice was accompanied by mini beef sliders and a bowl of chips to enjoy the early evening with live music courtesy of an acoustic guitarist on the Friday night.

Novotel Barossa Valley Resort

Accommodation at the Novotel Barossa Valley Resort thanks to Lana Edwards was extremely comfortable with a wonderful vista over the hills on the eastern valley. A golf course, Endota Spa, swimming pool and wine tasting room are available for guest relaxation and The Cellar Kitchen Restaurant with an excellent selection of regional wines and extensive menu also overlooks the vineyards of the valley.

The conference and meeting facilities which can easily accommodate 150 guests have a purpose-built area adjacent to the foyer and is separate to the common areas, therefore no through traffic. The meeting spaces have been inspired by the wine region through autumn tones, wine barrels and eclectic props from coopers and winemakers.

Jacob’s Creek

Jacob’s Creek, just across the fields of vineyards, has been a centre of wine production in the Barossa since the 19th Century, with the first commercial vines planted in 1847 by Johann Gramp on the banks of Jacob’s Creek. A long-time perception as a wine producer of bulk quantity for local consumption and export has developed into a premium supplier of high quality wines with a finesse which is guaranteed.

We were privileged to be invited to experience the following wines in a food-wine pairing Masterclass:

2016 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay Pinot Noir
2017 Jacob’s Creek Barossa Signature Riesling
2017 Jacob’s Creek Cool Harvest Pinot Grigio
2015 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir
2013 Jacob’s Creek Bungalow Lane Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Jacob’s Creek Centenary Hill Barossa Shiraz

and the very special 2010 Jacob’s Creek Limited Edition Shiraz Cabernet, which honors the 40 year contribution of retired winemaker Bernard Hickin.

We were fortunate enough to meet the lovely Eva Yu a passionate wine ambassador at Jacob’s Creek who took us through the Masterclass matching of their wines and food with personal anecdotes and a wonderful charm. We learnt about founder Johann Gramp, Gramp & Sons wines and the Orlando wines influence before the focus on the Jacob’s Creek brand.

‘Blend by Jacob’s Creek’ offers a new wine blending experience, with the first client teambuilding exercise held on Monday 16 October 2017 for a small corporate group of 40 guests.

A brilliant team-building exercise

Teams are asked to produce a blended wine as close to that of the winemaker’s blend by choosing wine from a selection of Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Chardonnay and Riesling barrels in the white category and Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir from the red barrels. The computer records the percentages and the closest blend to that of the winemaker is the winner.

As guests arrived at The Cellar Kitchen Restaurant at Novotel Barossa for breakfast after a hot air balloon adventure, we headed to The Barossa Farmers Market on the Saturday morning. A place to enjoy the local produce, a true testament to the broad range of suppliers and regional specialties. We found a selection of fresh produce, cheese, condiments, dips, olive oil, pastries, hams, bacon, lamb, beef, venison and – would you believe – a haggis.

Bethany

After visiting a couple of cellar door starting at Bethany Wines at 10am (and why not???) for their award winning Grenache, we were off to Seppeltsfield for a ‘something very special’ tour.

Seppeltsfield

Seppeltsfield is a marriage of Barossan history, community and fine winemaking endeavour. A new golden era now sees contemporary art and design and gastronomic excellence contribute to an exciting renaissance of Australia’s iconic wine estate.

More recently, the recommissioning of the 1888 Gravity Cellar has revitalised the estate’s prowess with still wines. Super premium Barossa red varietals are once again passed through the Gravity Cellar, which enables gentle colour and tannin extraction – now a coveted modern-day winemaking practice.

Seppeltsfield is a major operation with over 150 thousand visitors per annum. They have well-run tours throughout the day and we had a personal Centennial Tour with David Letch, an extremely knowledgeable and gracious ‘wine educator’ from Seppeltsfield.

David showcased the homestead of Joseph and Johanna Seppelt, and the story of tawny port with tastings of the Para Good Tawny, Para Rare Tawny, 21 Year Old Para Tawny and Para Liquor Tawny Port as a precursor to the Centennial Room.

Seppeltsfield is most famed for the Centennial Collection – an irreplaceable and unbroken lineage of Tawny Port with every vintage from 1878 to current year. The estate remains the only winery in the world to release a 100 year old, single vintage wine each year.

The Centennial Room full of casks is a testimony to the insight of Benno Seppelt who had the vision to store a cask of tawny port from every year from 1878.

We were offered to sample the port from our year of birth and then, as a piece de resistance, a sample of the 100 year old tawny port from 1917. A fabulous multi-dimensional viscous liquid to savour for hours, or if you have a spare $2,000, to buy one of the limited supply 375 ml bottles on sale.

It was an exceptional tour and a memorable, once in a lifetime experience to celebrate a special occasion, significant birthday and for a small group of high-achievers to celebrate as a group activity.

Maggie Beer

Julia Zemiro was the host, filming Maggie Beer on the day we were there for a ‘get close and personal’ program to air on the ABC and the Pheasant Farm was a hive of activity with film crew and patrons enjoying the food and wine overlooking an enchanting lake, home to an extended ‘family’ of fresh water turtles.

 

The Farm Eatery and Experience Centre is undergoing the final few touches to be ready to welcome groups for a ‘masterchef-style’ cooking experience, with a dozen movable cooking benches. There is also an exciting project developed by Brett Durand where groups use table top copper stills to try to hand craft a gin to their recipe. Brett is husband to Elli, who is not only Maggie’s daughter, but the owner manager of the Farm and Miss Logistics for all activities.

The ideas are abundant and offer an exciting future experience for leisure and corporate visitors at Pheasant Farm – Maggie’s Farm Shop and The Farm Eatery in The Barossa – in months and years to come.

It is impossible in one visit to see and experience all there is to explore of the wineries and restaurants, so a plan is to return hopefully with a client’s 120 – 150 guests.

Both food and wine are definite highlights of The Valley with accomplished restaurants including the recommended Artisans, Fino at Seppelsfield, FermentAsian, Jacob’s Creek and The Cellar Kitchen Restaurant at Novotel Barossa Valley.

My vision for 2030 in the Barossa is to have a labyrinth of pathways throughout the vineyards with designated stops at historical points of interest, cellar doors, restaurants and rest stops in driverless cars, so guests can travel in safety on special roads throughout the region, providing people a pure and near perfect wine & food fueled experience of The Barossa.

CREDITS
Lana Edwards – Business Development Manager, Novotel Barossa Valley Resort
Christy Nordin – Director of Sales & Marketing, Novotel Barossa Valley Resort
Nicole Hodgson – Tourism & Events Manager, Seppeltsfield Wines
David Letch – Wine Educator, Seppeltsfield Wines
Elli Beer – Owner Manager, Maggie’s Farm Shop and Function Centre
Brett Durand – Director & Distiller, Durand Distillery
Lisa Anderson – Tourism & Events Manager, Jacob’s Creek
Emma Kaye – Function and Events Coordinator, Jacob’s Creek
Minhua (Eva) Yu — Wine Ambassador Asia, Jacob’s Creek
Cathy Wills – Regional Tourism Manager, Tourism Barossa