You will be hard pressed to find a better quality, more family friendly winery experience than O’Leary Walker, which overlooks vineyards and magnificent rolling hills of the Clare Valley. Enjoy a gourmet grazing platter fit for a king, taste award winning wines or indulge in a guided flight. Our favourite thing? Watching the ear to ear smiles on the kids faces when their very own children’s tasting platter is placed in front of them! There is also an exceptional restaurant menu here, highlighting the best of seasonal produce and hand crafted delights.
On our recent visit, we sat under the sheltered, expansive verandah. There are also casual high tables indoors along with a more formal dining room, featuring floor to ceiling glass windows and more of those jaw dropping Clare Valley views.
Initial impressions, 1. This place is classy. 2. These are the friendliest cellar door / restaurant staff I have come across in a long while. Genuine, knowledgeable, fun, happy and anticipated our needs before we even knew what we were after. Team all of the above with the beautiful wines on offer, it’s no wonder this is celebrated as a James Halliday Five Star Winery.
In just under an hour and a half, we had made our way from Adelaide’s Western Suburbs to the picture perfect driveway at O’Leary Walker. How good is that first stretch when you get out of the car, fill your lungs with crisp country air and feel actual gratitude to leave the bustle of the city behind for a little while?
On arrival we kicked off with a brilliant coffee (no doubt a crime for the palate pre wine tasting – luckily we don’t take ourselves too seriously), before getting the entire family (Grandparents included) involved in some pretty competitive lawn games. This was my strategy to get the kids invested so as they would continue playing while we worked out what we wanted to eat, drink and experience. It worked a charm and they were engrossed in sack tossing, Jenga building (that turned into one huge game of dominoes) and Finska.
While the kids played, cartwheeled and enjoyed the oversized lawn in front of our table , we decided a large platter and suitably matched delicious glass of wine was in order for lunch. Needless to say the platter was every thing local and house made we could have ever dreamt of and more. The wines were also spot on (ever heard of a hybrid variety called a Pinotage? Yum.) Had to fight the kids for the cheese, and the cutest honey wand was an unexpected novelty for little hands.
Let’s take a better look at that Children’s Tasting Platter – a recent addition to the offering here, for just $10. How sweet to make something for the kids so as they can join in with their own special experience! This not only took a very cute photo, I was assured from the youngest in our group that it was indeed equal parts delicious and fun. Comprising three flavoured Fleurieu Milk Company milks, a baby cheese, pretzel stack and chocolate freckles from local artisan chocolatier Adixions.
Too full to move, we somehow squeezed in one more coffee while the kids tore into a couple of scoops of quality vanilla ice cream and the teenager indulged in the most beautiful French Toast inspired dessert you have ever laid your taste buds on.
A swift purchase from the cellar door for the wine rack at home and a mental note made that a gift voucher here would make an excellent ‘WOW’ present next time I need something special, and we were on our way back home.
Five stars! (Or empty wine bottles). Ten out of ten for quality, service, family suitability, kids activities, kids menu and all round just can’t stop, won’t stop raving about this place. Grab a group of friends or book a lunch for your next family celebration, or just take a weekend drive like we did!
High chairs are available, there’s more than enough room to manoeuvre a pram, plus the toilets and baby change facilities are the ‘clean and lovely kind’ that you linger an extra minute or two in.
Lastly, your well behaved dogs are welcome here, on lead and outdoors.