Just a quick hour drive out of the capital city of Adelaide, you’ll find the Barossa Valley, South Australia’s preeminent wine region revered for their Shiraz and Riesling. Not only is the region’s wildlife, agriculture and nature some of the most remarkable in the world, it’s also the spot many natives pick for their own holidays—it’s been dubbed “the place where Australians fall in love with their own country.” We know you will too, especially after you taste Henschke’s Hill of Grace Shiraz, a cult wine if there ever was. To wit, the quick and dirty on Barossa Valley travel:

Where to Stay: Kingsford Homestead, a seven-suite, all-inclusive prop­erty (evening canapés, drinks and breakfast are included), is hands-down the place to stay in the Barossa. For­merly sheep station turned set of Aussie TV show McLeod’s Daugh­ters, today Kings­ford Home­stead is a charm­ing inn on 225 acres, com­plete with an al fresco “bush bath”—an over­sized, free­stand­ing bath tub over­look­ing the river and his­toric sheep shear­ing sheds—winemaker dinners, an indoor pool and spa and a billiards/smoking room out back. Not only does Kings­ford Home­stead have an on-site chef who offers three– and five-course tast­ing menus, but guests can expect to meet local arti­sans and pro­duc­ers, as they fre­quently stop by the kitchen to deliver their fresh fare. Be sure to reserve the wine cel­lar, a gor­geous stonewall room in the 1,000-bottle, on-site wine cel­lar, which includes a pre­mium Barons Of The Barossa Selec­tion, which have been hand-selected by some of the region’s most touted names, for din­ner. No two guestrooms are alike, and each fea­tures stunning soak­ing tubs and spa show­ers, not to men­tion flat-screen TVs, com­pli­men­tary Wi-Fi and iPod dock­ing sta­tions.

What to Do: While some tour guides can be cheesy, John Bald­win of Barossa Daim­ler Tours offers an incredibly unique and expe­ri­en­tial tour worth your while. A native Aussie with exten­sive knowl­edge on the region, not to men­tion wine (oenophiles won’t want to miss his wine-specific tours like “A Taste of Grange at Penfolds” or “100 year old Port (liquid history) at Seppeltsfield”), Baldwin serves up cus­tomized tours in his charm­ing Daim­ler from 1962 (he owns the only three left in exis­tence). He knows every­one in town, will tai­lor his tours to what­ever your desires may be, and he’s sim­ply a kind man with a fan­tas­tic mus­tache to boot!

Where to Drink Wine: With over 120 wineries in the state alone, visiting vineyards and wine gardens is the best way to learn about Australian production and what makes their labels so special. While companies like Vineyard Safaris, which is led by a Master of Wine who can make personal introductions to the area’s leading winemakers, are available, visitors can easily embark on self-guided tours, as well. Here are four you can’t miss:

  1. Penfolds: This iconic winery offers “make your own blend” classes, which are fun and interactive, and connoisseurs can also visit their recently revamped Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant offering contemporary eats against postcard-worthy views.
  2. Henschke Hill of Grace: Perhaps the most highly regarded wine in the region, this is a can’t-miss stop, especially now that their Hill of Grace restaurant is open. Chef Dennis Leslie delivers dishes inspired by native Australian ingredients, his Filipino roots and French cooking techniques, alongside the only collection of a complete vertical of Henschke’s wines.
  3. Torbreck: Though this winery was only founded in 1994, it’s already been named one of the World’s Top 100 Wine Estates by Robert Parker, likely for its traditional winemaking approach emulating the Rhone Valley. Don’t miss their flagship Shiraz!
  4. FINO @ Seppelstfield: This once iconic estate has been reborn with their unbroken line of fortified wines and a highly-anticipated new restaurant has a dedicated Fino Sherry barrel, in which by-the-glass can be drawn upon from daily.