Yup, went up to the mighty Barossa Valley. I spent a night up there with Matt, Adam and Jodi.

We drove up on the 28th and had time to squeeze in a stop at the Penfold’s winery before checking into the Novotel Resort and jumping into our chauffeur driven Statesman for an afternoon tour through Epicurean Tours. Our driver was Tom and he took us to some more out-of-the-way places (Adam and Matt’s choice) to try out some merlots (my choice) and some fortifeds (Jodi’s choice).

Were we disappointed? Not likely! Lots and lots of tasting and I bought quite a few bottles to top up Mum’s cellar. I discovered I quite enjoy ports and muscats, to add to the range of drinks I already enjoy. We also stopped at a couple of food places to purchase some of the local delicacies – cheeses, meats, olives, dips etc. We listened to the Aussies obliterate the Poms on the radio in between stops and Tom also topped off our tour with a short stop at a couple of good sightseeing spots to grab some photos. Not bad for a three-and-a-half hour tour!
That evening we found a little place for dinner and I enjoyed a BIG steak for under $20. Try doing that in Japan! Afterwards we played Buzz in Adam and Jodi’s room and then taught Jodi how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. Matt and I finished on top so I think I’m starting to get the hang of it now. I think I’ll need to get a set for back in Japan!

A monstrous thunderstorm moved in as we were playing so we spent about an hour enjoying the lightning show. Some flashes lit up the whole valley and all of us wished we had better cameras to capture it since our view from the Novotel was so good!

Next morning we enjoyed a BIG cooked breakfast with all the trimmings. Keiko would have loved it.

After checking out we went to a couple of other wineries, including the Seppelt Winery at Seppeltsfield, which is one of the oldest and biggest wineries in the Barossa and home of some very famous ports, which we sampled – naturally! We eventually caught up with Matt’s girlfriend, Amanda, and had lunch at the Roaring 40s Café in Tanunda. While we didn’t sample their award-winning pizza, what we had was extremely satisfying, so much so we didn’t feel like seeing any more wineries that afternoon and just came home with our plunder in tow.