Looking for inspo on which Fleurieu Peninsula-made drops to drink this winter? TORI JOHNSON HAS chosen four that’ll warm you up even on the chilliest of nights. Snuggle up and pour yourself a glass!


Chenin Blanc from Aphelion Wine Co, Willunga

If you haven’t heard of Aphelion Wine Co, it’s time to get with the program. Winemaker Rob Mack was awarded the Young Gun of Wine in 2018, and he’s one of McLaren Vale’s most dynamic emerging producers. I went for a pre-arranged tasting ($10/head) on a Saturday in the lovely dining-turned-tasting-room of Rob and his wife Louise’s home in Willunga. They took me through the full range of wines, with plenty of guidance and friendly banter from both Rob and Louise. The Pir Chenin Blanc was the standout for me – it had wicked complexity, which in my books, makes the perfect winter white.

  • My notes: Viscous, honey and peach, crisp apple to finish
  • My food match: Crispy skin salmon with potato dauphinoise and broccolini
  • My tip: Allow at least 60-90 minutes for this seated tasting

Visit: Tasting by appointment, St Andrews Terrace Willunga
Instagram: @aphelionwine


Pinot Noir from Charlotte Dalton Wines, Port Elliot

Charlotte (Dalton) Hardy is a vivacious, talented Kiwi-born winemaker who’s recently moved from the Adelaide Hills to Port Elliot to open a cellar door, which she shares with her husband Ben Cooke of Cooke Brothers Wines. Open for weekend tastings at the Factory 9 complex next door to DeGroot Coffee Co, the relaxed vibe of this rustic warehouse-style space matches Charlotte’s welcoming, unpretentious nature. My pick was the Wahine Pinot Noir (which has since sold out), but honestly, I found all of Charlotte and Ben’s wines to be delightfully drinkable. Head down to Port Elliot and taste them for yourself!

  • My notes: Juicy, dark cherries, soft and savoury
  • My food match: Mixed mushroom risotto
  • My tip: Check their Instagram or Facebook for up-to-date opening hours

Visit: The Joinery at Factory 9, 91 Hill St, Port Elliot
Instagram: @thejoineryatfactory9 | @charlottedaltonwines


Dark Ale from Smiling Samoyed

I’m a self-confessed craft beer fiend, so on the way back from Port Elliot I couldn’t help but swing by Smiling Samoyed in Myponga. Every time I visit this joint, it seems to be jumping – maybe it’s the cute fluffy Samoyed doggos everywhere that add to the vibe. I managed to score a cosy table by the fire, which was the perfect spot to sip on a delicious dark ale. If you’re after a dark beer that’s not as heavy as a stout, this ale will serve you well - it’s malty and chocolatey, without being hectic.

  • My notes: Dark chocolate malteasers, not too heavy
  • My food match: A chocolatey dessert   
  • My tip: Be aware that there are friendly free-ranging dogs at the brewery. If you’re not a dog person, you can buy the beers online – they deliver to Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Visit: Hansen Street, Myponga
Instagram: @smilingsamoyed


SGM from Bleasdale Vineyards

My final favourite drop this winter is the Wild Fig Shiraz Grenache Mourvèdre from Bleasdale Vineyards in Langhorne Creek. The current vintage is 2019, but the 2018 vintage won the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for best one-year-old red wine so I figured the 2019 vintage would be made in a similar style. The blend is more commonly grenache dominant – ie. GSM rather than SGM, but it was a nice change – deliciously fruity with great acidity, and light enough to drink on its own (ie. Doesn’t necessitate food, as I find many red wines do).

  • My notes: Bright red currants, juicy plum, hint of spice  
  • My food match: Fresh pasta with tomato and basil sauce
  • My tip: Read my blog on Two Delicious Days in Langhorne Creek for more about Bleasdale and their cellar door offering.

Visit: 1640 Langhorne Creek Rd, Langhorne Creek
Instagram: @bleasdalevineyards



  • Pre-book as many activities as possible, especially while restrictions apply during COVID-19.
  • Be kind to local businesses – they’re working hard to deliver the best possible experience within government social distancing and hygiene regulations.
Guest blogger: Victoria Johnson.
Images: Victoria Johnson.

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