Where to drink
We made the mistake on our trip of spending a lot of time at the big TWE or famous label wineries. On another trip back I'd skip Saltram and Penfolds, unless I wanted to do one of the Penfolds specialty sessions, like blend your own Gsm or the grange tasting. They were very commercial and full of tour groups, and the staff weren't as knowledgable about the wines and the winemaking process as other places.
Two exceptions to this: St Halletts, which was a beautiful setting and delicious wines, with lovely people, and Yalumba.
Although I wasn't particularly excited about visiting Yalumba, it was one of my top cellar doors. The grounds of Yalumba alone are worth a visit. Beautiful old buildings, stunning gardens and a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere all just add to the delicious (yes) wines. The cellar door staff were completely lovely, and the wines they had on tasting were a more premium selection that what I had previously associated with Yalumba. Lovely, delicious, a good time all round.
Henschke, though, was my favourite. Amazing wines, well up there with the best in Australia, in a very small, clearly family-run setting. The ladies staffing the cellar door were brilliant, and I loved being able to wander next door to see the winemaking in progress. It smelled like wine, unlike everywhere else. This was clearly a small bolt-on the vineyard other than a large commercial enterprise, and that is what I loved so much.
Salford was a tiny little cellar door we stumbled upon on the road to Angaston. While definitely still a very new label, some of their wines were excellent. The small size meant we were greeted by the winemaker himself, which was a total highest of the trip.
Artisans, described above, is an excellent idea for a quick trip. Hosting the cellar doors for 6 smaller winemakers as well as amazing food, its a quick and easy way to try a variety of different wines and wineries.
For a refreshing break from the wine, try the Barossa Brewery. A rambling sort of place, with a big veranda and beer garden, the brewery was making some surprisingly tasty beers. We liked the Chan van Damme. Watch out for the busses of buck's parties from Adelaide on a Saturday.