A tour of a vineyard followed by a wine tasting can give you an idea of what goes into winemaking, but if you’re looking to go more in-depth, consider this new Barossa experience.
Called ‘Winemaker in Residence’, the four-night experience is hosted at luxury accommodation The Station Kapunda, an hour’s drive from Adelaide. The Station’s owner Bridget Kimber says the programme came about after seeing a gap in the market for people to get a behind-the-scenes look at the wine industry and to try their hand at blending their own wines.
“Combine that gap with our local winemaker, Jeremy Ottawa, who is one of the most charming winemakers that you could meet and has over 25 years of experience, how could we go wrong?” says Kimber.
“When we first started exploring this opportunity, we were surprised that nothing else like it already existed. It’s kind of a grown-up, luxury, school camp all about wine. We’ve set three programme dates [so far], and each will have a slightly different flavour, given where they fall in the winemaking cycle. For example, the October programme will see buds forming on the vines, while in February, there will be grapes to be picked.”
The Station, Kimber says, is an ideal backdrop for the programme’s wine masterclasses, blending workshops, chef-prepared meals, cooking classes and more — not to mention the cloud-like beds awaiting you at the end of each day.
You’ll also be steeped in history, with the Kapunda Railway Station open since 1860, when the area was home to the Kapunda Copper Mines, and was used to transport people to the mines. The station was also used to load sheep and horses to take to market and as a passenger terminal for people travelling to and from Adelaide.
“The Station passed into private hands in the early 1990s and has had just two owners before we purchased it in 2020,” says Kimber. “It has been used as both a private residence and a hosted BnB, and now offers luxury group accommodation.”
Kimber says that on each day of the Winemaker in Residence programme, guests will start the day in a vineyard in the Barossa, meeting a generational vigneron and getting the dirt on how terroir affects the vines and, ultimately, the wine. In the afternoon, they’ll head to a tasting room to better understand the characteristics of the varietal.
“Evenings will be spent around a shared table, enjoying amazing chef-prepared meals with paired wines,” says Kimber. “Away from the wine, there’s also time at leisure, which can be spent on the grounds of the Station, just relaxing and enjoying the amenities like the pool, games room or fire pit, or taking in a round of golf.”
Kimber says she thinks a couple elements of the programme will live in guests’ memories for a long time. One part of the programme she says is sure to be a standout is the fortified wine tasting under the stars in South Australia’s Big Sky Reserve.
“But really, I think that just taking four days out to explore a passion and to share time with like-minded people will be a highlight in itself,” she says.