Ahh McLaren Vale – you are breathtaking! Surrounded by rolling hills dotted with vineyards (lots and lots of vineyards) it’s no wonder wine tasting tops the list on most McLaren Vale itineraries. But with kids in tow, is it possible? It’s not just possible—pick the right one and it can be fun for everyone, we promise!
Here at Kids in Adelaide, we are dedicated to showcasing family-friendly wineries that are small enough to give us that personalised attention and of course, great tasting experiences, beautiful vineyard settings, and friendly hospitality. Woodstock, a beautiful family owned estate in McLaren Vale ticks all those boxes, plus more.
The wines are great, yes, but this place goes beyond the normal cellar door to include some child-friendly surprises as well. As soon as we had arrived, we knew we had stumbled across something special. The kids could hardly contain their excitement as the playground was the first thing they saw and they immediately set off to play. The old-fashioned two-person swing was a favourite with our four and five year old. The grounds though, are spectacular. Woodstock unfolds across an expansive grassed area, an intimate tasting room, an inviting and central restaurant, and dozens of tucked-away spots, all perfect for whiling away a few hours. The kids loved running around the lawn playing hide-and-seek behind the trees. Outdoor games, a flourishing kitchen garden boasting an array of herbs and home-grown veggies, and even a set of wooden leg stocks (if you don’t know what it is, google it) reward families who explore the grounds (with a glass of wine in hand, of course).
While you enjoy a sip of their delicious Grenache, your kids will have plenty of entertainment options at the winery. However, the highlight of your visit should be the Woodstock Wildlife Sanctuary. If just for that, it is worth a trip. Nestled on approximately 3 hectares of natural vegetation, the sanctuary houses a group of rescued Western Grey Kangaroos, some wallabies and a friendly emu named Maverick. For a small fee of $5, which goes towards the animals’ food and upkeep, you can hand feed the kangaroos. At first, the young ones were a tad afraid of Dusty (one of the larger roos) but it didn’t take long for them to realise he was harmless. The tranquil surroundings are scattered with soaring eucalyptus trees, and if you look up, you may even spot a koala – a treat we were lucky enough to witness. It’s all pretty amazing!
After the kangaroo feeding, we (the adults) settled in for a delightful wine tasting with Woodstock’s third generation winemaker, Peter Collett. As a wine enthusiast, I relished in the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the region’s flavours and aromas. Initially, we enjoyed our tasting outside, watching the kids have a blast on the playground. However, when the rain poured down, we cosied up inside by the fire. The wines were exceptional, with a few even reaching the status of phenomenal. Tastings are available every day from 11am to 4pm for a fee of $10, which includes a sampling of six wines.
If your taste buds long for a leisurely-paced, multi-coursed, wine-enhanced meal, look no further than the Coterie – an on-site restaurant, which means a ‘gathering unified by shared tastes‘. The menu is sublime, a true reflection of the passion for fresh, seasonal produce and the joy of sharing a good meal. Each dish is designed to highlight the complex interplay of natural flavours and textures of the ingredients. If you’re planning to visit Woodstock with a group of six or more, we highly recommend the Seasonal Table. It’s the ultimate culinary experience that showcases the Chef’s selection of dishes inspired by the freshest seasonal produce, all intended for sharing among family and friends. And don’t worry about the little ones – kids under 12 can enjoy their choice of a kids’ meal (vegetarian pasta or chicken tenders and chips) with a drink, followed by a sweet treat of SA’s Golden North ice cream. We were absolutely blown away with the food. My in-laws said the Black Mussels in Riesling and butter sauce were the best they had tasted, whereas I never knew how delicious green beans could be. Chargrill them in garlic and chilli and apparently I eat a whole bowl! The pan-friend chicken breast, portobello mushroom and white wine sauce was another stand out for us!
Don’t rush away just yet, as it would be a shame to miss capping off your meal with one of their fortified and dessert wines or an Affagato made using their Vintage Tawny. If the sun is shining, spread out with the kids on a picnic blanket and enjoy the vineyard’s beautiful grounds. Also, remember to keep an eye on their website for upcoming events. The winery has been known to host Adelaide’s own, Peter Coombe in an annual Family Fun Day.
Woodstock Wine Estate is bursting with pride, a love of the land, and an immense joy of sharing it with others. Be prepared to fall in love with it – just as we did!
Our tip: Book a kangaroo feeding session and a lunch reservation at Coterie online. Be sure to arrive 15 minutes early so you don’t hold the group up. Then, let the kids loose on the playground while you enjoy a wine tasting. This will help you choose the wine you’d like to drink with lunch.