Meeting the Wineries in Hahndorf, SA Australia 애들레이드의 숨은 보석, 한도르프

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Photos by Bae Doo Hwan

Town view of Hahndorf (2)

Hahndorf town’s view

Town view of Hahndorf (1)

Hahndorf town’s view

We went to Hahndorf, one of the famous towns in Adelaide. To be honest, we didn’t even know what Hahndorf was famous for until we stayed in Adelaide for a bit and we’ve decided to visit the town then. The thing was that the town has a few famous wineries as well. They have a few cellar doors in the area so it wasn’t so bad to visit here and there on foot. Unfortunately there wasn’t any ways to get to the town from Nigella where we were staying, so we had to make it to Adelaide center to catch a bus. There are few buses that go there and we took 864F.

Town view of Hahndorf (3)

Hahndorf town’s view

Hahndorf is the oldest German town in Australia, as it was the place where Lutherans had settled down after running away from religious persecution during Prussia in 1839. The heroic captain who had sacrificed everything to save them was called Hahn and “Dorf” means town in German thus the name Hahndorf. It’s basically the German equivalent of “Cheol Soo town”.

They have nice few antic shops, vintage stores and toy stores. I think it’s a must visit place if you are in Adelaide. If you are wine lover then you shouldn’t miss it. You can take a look around the town in an hour. Unfortunately we didn’t have really good impression of the town because it started to rain when we got there and we couldn’t be more annoyed when we got lost in the rain.

Town view of Hahndorf (5)

Hahndorf town’s view

In terms of wine production, Hahndorf belongs to Adelaide Hills of SA. Most of people are more aware of Barossa, Claire and McLaren than Adelaide Hills winery but it’s a very famous town with nice wineries. Sadly we were just too broke to visit more than 2 wineries. The first place we visited was the famous Rockbare. I don’t know if they still sell them but I remember selling couple of these bottles when I was working at a wine shop in the past so I was quite happy to see the label.

Town view of Hahndorf (4)

Hahndorf town’s view

The winery is well decorated with a beautiful cellar door. It almost feels like being in a cabin and yet still quite sophisticated. Rockbare is actually part of McLaren Vale wine but its cellar door is in Hahndorf. Rochbare was established by Tim Burvill who used to live in the west of Australia until he moved to SA for his love of wine then studied wine brewery at Adelaide University and built his experience at Southcorp. Southcorp is now merged with Australia’s biggest and international wine company Treasury Wine Estate in 2000.

Tim was very talented that he was already an ultra premium wine maker in his mid 20s and he was also in charge of Penfold’s Yatara brand brewery. As most of talented people, he became more aware of his own potential and started his own business in 2001. Southcorp was bought in 2000 so perhaps that had something to do with how he started his business. Anyhow that’s how Rockbare was created.

rock bear (3)

ROCK BEAR cellar door in Hahndorf

Tim makes 3 types of wine. Rockebare, Barossa Babe and MOJO. Rockbare has Chardonnay, Shiraz and Burvill, Tim’s family name. Its Chardonnay uses McLaren Vale grapes with natural yeast. 25% of the mix goes into oak tree barrel and the rest goes into stainless steal tank to be matured for 5 months. The difference between regular shiraz and Burvill is although they have used same grapes from McLaren Vale, shiraz was matured with bit of old oak for 15months, while Burvill was matured for 24months with only French new york. It’s a very strong wine with alcohol volume at 15.3%.

rock bear (5)


The really interesting one is Barossa. This one uses 100% Shiraz from Barossa valley and matured for 24 months in New French Oak. What’s more interesting is that the grapes they use are from very old grape tree. Some of the trees are older than 140 years. Generally the wines that are made with these grapes from the old trees are high-grade wine with very smooth flavor.

rock bear (1)

ROCK BEAR cellar door in Hahndorf

MOJO has completely different style. From Goonawarra cabernet sauvignon, Adelaide sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot grigio, Fizz sparkling wine (Fermented in a tank not champagne style, has 2 breeds including pinot noir and chardonnay), Langhorne Creek Muscat, a petit Grains Moscato to Claire’s Riesling, they are making every types of wine possible. Their labels are full of characters and the flavors are quite casual enough to enjoy lightly. The price is also relatively cheap. AUS$3 per person was a winning price. I was quite impressed with that price.

rock bear (2)

ROCK BEAR cellar door in Hahndorf

The second winery we had visited was Hahndorf Hill Winery. Usually the wineries with its town’s name or area name has good quality wine or old history or famous for something. Actually we had walked about 4 hours and 20 min after we left Rockbare that we weren’t quite sure whether we should really go for Hahndorf Hill Winery or not which wasn’t on the main street and was about 20 min walking distance away.

We were soaked in rain already and getting more exhausted by the minute. In the end we decided to headed that way and we walked through pouring rain for 20 min. it was 4: 40 pm by the time we got to the cellar door. We were very anxious because the winery was supposed to close at 5 pm but thanks to the kind lady staff, we were able to taste some good wine.

Hahndorf hill winery (1)

Hahndorf hill wine

Hahndorf Hill Winery produces wine with traditional Austrian grapes, which differentiate them from other wineries. Interestingly, they don’t really have any historical connection to Austria. Larry Jacobs and Marc Dobson are running Hahndorf Hill Winery together. Larry was working as a doctor in South Africa then established a winery called Mulderbosch, and Marc was working as a journalist / copywriter in Cape Town.

I am not really sure what the relationship is between the two but Larry sold his winery in South Africa and moved to Adelaide Hills because he was looking for a location with cool climate for a new winery. Now Larry is in charge of managing the winery and Marc is in charge of marketing and cellar door.

Hahndorf hill winery (2)

Hahndorf hill wine

Hahndorf Hill Winery has been growing Blouflankisch, the traditional Austrian grape and that naturally led them to grow interests in Gruner Veltliner as well. In 2006, they successfully cultivated 3 Gruner Veltliners from Austria in Australia. Then in 2010 they released their first vintage wine, this was the first in SA and the second in Australia. This alone was already an amazing legacy for this winery.

Hahndorf hill winery (3)

Hahndorf hill wine

We had done our tasting in 20 short minutes. Wine wasn’t so bad. With a recommendation of the staff, we were able to compare Shiraz 2009 and 2010: the 2009 Shiraz has distinctive pepper flavor due to cooler climate in that year. Both of them were very attractive wine. Blauflankisch had an amazing body with their know-how of cultivating it for 20 years. Their first vintage was in 2008. The scent alone was already quite empowering and its flavor was very well structured. Their GRU the Gruner Beltliner line wine is also very good.

Hahndorf hill winery (4)

Hahndorf hill wine



4235431452435Contributor, Bae Doo Hwan
He was a cultural journalist who worked at the best Korean wine magazine, ‘Wine Review’. After the wine journey, he manages a small wine bar ‘Vino Anotonio’ in Seoul as a freelancer wine columnist.

배두환 기자는 대한민국 최고의 와인매거진에서 와인, 다이닝 등 다양한 문화 이야기를 조명해왔다. 와인산지로 떠난 1년간의 여행 후 현재 와인바, ‘비노 안토니오’를 운영하며 프리랜서로 활동하고 있다.

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