Yorke Peninsula boutique winery stacks high against the rest

Vineyards and rustic cellar doors are not usually associated with the towns that line the traditional barley belt of South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.

The coastal playground is more likely associated with camping and fishing, with its economy running on an engine fuelled by agriculture.

But 12km from Maitland not far off the Spencer Highway is a boutique winery offering visitors an unexpected experience.

Barley Stacks Wines husband and wife duo Lyall and Cynthia Schulz opened the cellar door 10 years ago and are now the largest wine producers on the peninsula.

While winemaking is usually left to the state’s wine-centric regions such as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale the Yorke Peninsula still knows how to make a good drop.

Aside from Barley Stacks Wines, the region is home to a small handful of vineyards and another cellar door Emoyeni Wines at Ardrossan.

The Barley Stacks Wines cellar door.

“Because of the fact we are surrounded by wheat, barley, canola and lentils it’s probably the pollens that are impacting our grapes in a positive way, giving us flavours that a lot of people don’t expect,” says Lyall Schulz.

“We’ve done the Cellar Door Fest at the Adelaide Convention Centre for the past four years and people say to us that our wine is so different to anywhere else in SA.

“We have people drive up the road and come to our cellar door thinking it’s a practical joke because there is a winery on the Yorke Peninsula, but they come in and they’re amazed.”

Lyall and wife Cynthia bought the property 10 years ago from its previous owners, the Gregory family, who planted the original vineyard in 1996 and later launched Gregory Wines.

While Cynthia is originally from the Barossa, Lyall is a “local born and bred farmer”, harnessing his skills on the land producing wheat, barley, canola and lentils.

So when the pair decided to give viticulture a crack, they sought the help of local consultants and have since welcomed two esteemed winemakers, Tim Smith, who is widely regarded in the Barossa, and Colin Sheppard, of Flaxman Wines in Eden Valley.

Lyall Schulz of Barley Stacks Wines.

Colin is also well versed in the culinary arts having made it to the top 10 in the TV series MasterChef in 2014.

Over the past decade the Schulz’s have built the Barley Stacks brand through word-of-mouth and making appearances at a number of industry events.

Over the years they’ve also scooped a number of awards including medals at the Yorke Peninsula Tourism Awards, the Australian Small Winemakers Show and a gold medal at the Winestate Magazine World Shiraz Challenge in 2015.

Their wines are influenced by the peninsula’s climate, sea breezes and limestone sub-soils, with past reviews describing tasting notes of ‘plum’, ‘lingering liquorice’, ‘apricot’ and ‘passionfruit’.

Barley Stacks produces 25 different lines from four grape varieties, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and viognier.

They aim for an average production of 40 tonnes of grapes and between 2500–3000 cases of wine each year.

All growing, picking, processing and bottling occurs on site, except for the whites and sparklings which are bottled elsewhere.

The 2013 shiraz.

Most Barley Stacks Wines are sold direct from the cellar door, with some also sold through the Barley Stacks website, and at a couple of Cellarbrations stores in the region.

Aside from the four main varieties, Barley Stacks also puts out a rosé, sparkling wines, a fortified range and a verjuice.

Verjuice is a sour drink made from unripe grapes, made famous by SA cooking queen Maggie Beer who produces her own line.

“It’s like a Granny Smith apple juice and kids can drink it, it’s not alcoholic and you can mix it with soda water,” Lyall says.

“On the Yorke Peninsula we have the new Sunny Hill Distillery about to start up at Arthurton, so you could mix your verjuice with gin.”

Barley Stacks Wines also caters for weddings, functions and events.

Speaking of the new distillery, Lyall says he’s working with its owners as well as two other local business operators to look at ways of leveraging each other’s success.

“We are looking connectively to run tours and do things together to give a tourism experience on the Yorke Peninsula that’s quite unique,” he says.

“The tourism side of the peninsula is growing exponentially, we now have Watsacowie Brewing Co at Minlaton who are doing a great job at driving high volume tourist interest.

“We want to collectively work together.”

Barley Stacks Wines is open seven days a week at 159 Lizard Park Drive, South Kilkerran.

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Header image courtesy of SATC.


Top 10 places to visit in SA (while the weather’s still playing nice)

It’s official.

Summer is over and autumn is here.

The good news, however, is that the good weather won’t disappear overnight, so consider this your last chance to get out there and enjoy some of South Australia’s most iconic and Instagrammable spots.

With a couple of long weekends on the horizon, we’ve rounded up 10 amazing local sights that have to be seen to be believed.

(And yes, it was nearly impossible to cap it at 10 – we sure do live in a beautiful place!)


1. Locks Well Beach

We all love the Eyre Peninsula for a long weekend getaway and Locks Well Beach is of the most reliable locations for catching salmon in SA.

There’s also a lookout with panoramic views of the beautiful rugged coastline and the perfect photo opportunity to capture a stunning west coast sunset.

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2. Lake Bumbunga

Drive two hours north of Adelaide (approximately 25 minutes from Port Wakefield) and you’ll not only think pink, you’ll see it.

Lake Bumbunga is made up of three salt pans that have been harvested for over 30 years for use in swimming pools, water softener and – wait for it – fish and chips. Yes, really!

3. Umpherston Sinkhole

Who knew a sinkhole could be so beautiful?! Located in the heart of Mount Gambier, this naturally formed limestone cave was transformed into a garden late in the 19th century and it’s been a tourist magnet ever since.

However, we doubt Instagramming your visit was around back then…

4. Seal Bay

Kangaroo Island’s south coast is not only home to white sandy beaches, but – as the name suggests – plenty of seals.

You’ll literally find yourself surrounded by the cute sea creatures lazing around on the sand. They’re Insta stars in their own right and know how to strike a pose.

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5. Talia

The tiny town of Talia is another Eyre Peninsula hidden gem.

Waves have crashed against the granite cliffs for many years to create this stunning seaside destination which is known for rock fishing, fossils and its beautiful turquoise coloured ocean.

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6. Fishery Bay

Located in Port Lincoln National Park, Fishery Bay is a spectacular section of coastline bordered by high cliffs.

A popular fishing area, the bay was the site of a 19th century whaling station and some of the remains are still visible on the eastern rocks.

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7. Lake Eyre

Lake Eyre – despite its name – is usually dry and only fills up once every eight years. Despite this, it remains one of SA’s most well-known natural landscapes.

The vast, dry expanse of shimmering salt is so large that it crosses the borders of three states and on a cloudless day, seems to merge into the horizon.

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8. Remarkable Rocks

No visit to Kangaroo Island holiday would be complete without a trek to one of its signature landmarks.

It took approximately 500 million years for rain, wind, and crashing waves to create the Remarkable Rocks which are now part of the Flinders Chase National Park.

Word has it that early morning and early evening are the best time to visit and take a snap.

9. Wilpena Pound

Wilpena Pound is more than 800 million years old, located in the heart of the Flinders Ranges.

A large natural amphitheatre created by millions of years of erosion, it’s surrounded by ancient mountain ranges, spectacular gorges and sheltered creeks.

It’s also is a favourite for nature lovers and bushwalkers alike.

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10. Innes National Park

If you’ve ever wanted to get away from it all, head to Innes National Park.

You won’t be completely alone as it’s home to emus, kangaroos and tammar wallabies, and you may also see whales, dolphins and seals swim past.

This stunning location is a natural playground with beaches, bushwalking trails and secluded fishing spots with the most incredible view of the stars.

Sonia Bavistock is a fashion and lifestyle blogger and also has her own social media management and copywriting business. Sonia is passionate about all things South Australia and can often be seen dining out with a glass of wine in hand.

Gelato and pancakes off the beaten track

By Melissa Keogh

Cruise along the Spencer Highway towards Maitland, but don’t blink because you might miss Moonta’s sweetest spot.

On the corner of the barren highway and a dusty dirt track is the Coffee Barn and Gelateria, an unsuspecting haven of artisan gelato and pancakes that will delight even the harshest of dessert critics.

Visit during school holidays and you’ll have to fight the sticky fingers and chocolate-stained grins to get a good look at the cabinet of homemade treats made from scratch.

School holidays are a busy time for the Coffee Barn and Gelateria.

School holidays is a busy time for the Coffee Barn and Gelateria.

The man with the gelato scoop is Italian man Franco Martino, while the woman flipping the pancakes is his wife Janette Martino.

The pair moved 12 years ago to the Yorke Peninsula from Adelaide for a simple sea change and with a vision to set up a quiet bed and breakfast to help ease them into semi-retirement.

They fell in love with gelato making and are now run off their feet, particularly in the hotter months of the year.

“Franco makes the gelato and the pancakes tend to be my baby,” says Janette.

“He’s the man for the gelato because it’s his passion. For the coconut gelato, he buys the coconuts, takes the shell off and creates it himself and the macadamia and pistachio nuts he roasts himself.

“We don’t use flavours, we want to give people our best.”

The Coffee Barn and Gelateria has 16 different flavours on hand.

Franco prefers to shy away from attention-seeking weird and wacky flavours and instead focuses on high quality classics featuring profiles such as caramel, fig or peanut butter.

The artisan gelato is made from scratch on site.

The artisan gelato is made on site with real ingredients, including fruit and nuts .

“The flavours change by the hour because if we put something like Ferrero Rocher out, it might go in half an hour,” Janette says.

The top three flavours are the mascarpone and caramel fudge, the peanut butter fudge, and caramel fig and roasted almonds.

Janette’s sweet and savory pancakes are popular in winter.

The most popular is the banana and caramel – made with real banana of course.

The Coffee Barn and Gelateria is on 11ha of the old Moonta Mines and includes a scattering of vintage machinery.

An 1860s building formerly known as The Stables and now named Villa Martini has been restored into a bed and breakfast.

“Moonta is booming at Christmas time. People come here to fish and a lot of people have a second home here – a holiday home – and they come here regularly,” Janette says.

“We consider them as locals.”

Gelato and pancakes – the ultimate crowdpleaser.

Gelato and pancakes – the ultimate crowdpleaser.

Franco has a background in the building industry and Janette also ran a cookie franchise in Adelaide for some time.

The pair travelled to Europe for two months recently, visiting an Italian university to gain inspiration on gelato making.

“Franco talked to every gelato maker we visited,” Janette says.

“I used to be a real coffee and cake person but it just doesn’t do it for me anymore, it has to be gelato.

“It’s our life.”

Coffee Barn and Gelateria, on the corner of Spencer Highway and Warren Street, Moonta, is generally open Fridays – Sundays, and every day during school holidays.

Header photo courtesy of the Yorke Peninsula Country Times Newspaper.

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