Held every June long weekend, the BankSA Sea and Vines Festival in McLaren Vale has become a highlight of Adelaide Food and Wine calendar. In the special centenary year, two nine course degustation lunches at d’Arry’s Verandah restaurant has been added to the winning offering from the red stripe.
Established in 1912 by Joseph Osborn, a teetotaler and racehorse owner, the d’Arenberg story began with the purchase of a picturesque property atop one of the rolling hills of McLaren Vale. A charming cottage, rustic stables and vineyards adorned the property in 1912 and remain in active use today.
While the world around them battled two world wars, survived the Great Depression and underwent unprecedented social and technological change – four generations of the Osborn family have worked the property and shaped the family business into its current form.
“I started working on this property when I was 16,” he recalls. “I left boarding school to come home and work on the property because my father was very ill. Things were very different in those days. We worked with horses as we didn’t have a tractor. The winemaking was also a lot more agricultural without the knowledge or equipment that we have today.”
d’Arry will welcome guests to the degustation lunches that will be held on both Saturday and Sunday. Over a glass of the new sparkling white DADD, he will share historical stories in the restored stables before diners adjourn for a delicious 8 course indulgence matched with wines.
d’Arry will also attend the ‘party’ day on Sunday for the main festivities which this year is a fully ticketed event. The team from d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant will once again provide the food in the marquee. A $45 ticket to d’Arenberg includes a full day of music, a glass of wine, a Plumm glass to keep and the signature dish of d’Arry’s Beef Cheek Pie. Winemaker master classes showing d’Arenberg’s rarest wines are also available for $40 and can also be also be booked via Venuetix.
A full day musical program will keep the crowd of over 1000 people moving and shaking. Kicking off the bill is local five piece Teahouse Fire, led by d’Arenberg’s very own cellar door staffer, Deb Tapfield. Jay Hoad Band will be taking the stage from 1pm, a seven-piece ensemble who have toured throughout North America, Canada and Australia. A very funky and high-energy show, the band covers many genres of music and has a fiesta-type vibe that has shaken dance floors at festivals from North to South and East to West.
With smaller crowds expected on the Monday there are no bookings required and visitors can still expect a high quality event in a more relaxed atmosphere. Jay Hoad band will be back on stage and there is a revival of d’Arry Osborn’s bottling challenge, a highlight of past regional celebrations. This year the bottling challenge will be pitted as a ‘battle of the sexes’ with sport stars and media personalities vying for the title of bottling champions. Bringing the girl power will be champion Aussie netballer, Natalie Medhurst, Glam Adelaide owner Kelly Noble and the victorious florist from My Kitchen Rules, Leigh Sexton. Stepping up and representing the boys team are talented musician, Jay Hoad, foodie about town and My Kitchen Rules contestant Paul Wood and returning champion from last year’s competition, McLaren Vale local Darren Bradley. Each team will be joined by a member of the public who will be chosen on the day. The challenge will involve teams blending, syphoning and bottling wine on stage and is guaranteed to be a fairly messy and very entertaining spectacle. The winners take home their spoils, a trophy appropriately shaped like a basket press and of course bragging rights.