South Australia is blessed with an abundance of wine regions, each with its own calling card. Mention McLaren Vale and most people think of juicy Mediterranean-style varietals and hardy bush-vine grenache, while the Adelaide Hills calls to mind lush vines bearing cool-climate specialities like pinot noir and chardonnay. But venture into the foothills of Kangarilla, where you can see the sparkling waters of Gulf St Vincent and the broad pine plantations of Kuitpo Forest Reserve, and those two worlds begin to blend together.
At just over 100 acres, the property has room for several vineyards planted with shiraz, cabernet, pinot noir and merlot. Mal Leask tells Broadsheet, “[the] creek down the bottom is the border between the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale”, pointing towards the belly of the valley, where drooping willows and almond trees line a small watercourse. Although they’re less than a kilometre apart, the two vineyards fall into separate wine regions.
The owners use the same regenerative farming practices here that helped Hither & Yon become South Australia’s first certified carbon-neutral winery. But the most exciting part of the property lies between the two vineyards: the original 1859 homestead and a smaller building, the Coach House, where visiting coachmen would once stay after delivering supplies to the property. Guests can now book the latter for a couple of nights, or longer stays.
The two-storey sandstone structure sits just beneath the western ridge. In the afternoon you’ll see the sun light up the slope opposite, where sheep and kangaroos like to graze on the hillside. At night a few lights from neighbouring properties twinkle in the darkness, but otherwise when you’re at the cottage you are almost completely secluded.
Inside, local design studio Fabrikate has chosen a natural palette of blues and greens to complement the surrounding views, and the modern furnishings are in keeping with the property’s heritage elements. In the roomy lounge there’s a wooden fireplace, French doors that open to a stone terrace, plus two plush leather swivel chairs. Upstairs, in the spacious bedroom and Japanese-inspired bathroom, there’s a deep freestanding tub under a sky window.
But the best spot in the entire house might be the bench seat beneath the stairs. It makes for the perfect spot to curl up with a book and watch the swallows dart around in the sky, as the shadows of clouds drift up the valley. In the morning, guests can take their breakfast surrounded by rosellas, honeyeaters, lorikeets and superb fairy-wrens from a huge outdoor deck with expansive views.
“The idea is to relax and unwind and just take in the beauty of the region,” says Mal. “There are a lot of great wineries nearby, so it’s close to everything you need, but if you want to just stay here you can do that too.”
That’s the major appeal of the Coach House. Though the quaint hamlets of Adelaide Hills and the golden beaches of the Fleurieu Peninsula are both within easy reach, when you have a kitchen stocked with local produce and a generous selection of Hither & Yon wines to hand, it’s very tempting to simply sit back and enjoy it. And if you really want to visit both regions in one day, all you need to do is walk across the creek.
The Coach House sleeps four people. There’s a two-night minimum stay and prices start from $500 per night.