Over the past fourteen years, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting some really amazing people. The discerning travellers that we work with have always had one thing in common: an inspiring and unique vision when it comes to what they’re looking for from their South Pacific journey. For us, travel is not just about simply seeing a place, it’s about finding a way to unlock a new part of the world through meaningful experiences.
What’s meaningful to us? Well…wine! And someone who shares our vision when it comes to offering our Aussie visitors an unforgettable experience is Mary Anne Kennedy – owner, manager and founder of the award-winning A Taste of South Australia. With over twenty years in the industry, Mary Anne offers personalised wine and food experiences across South Australia. Her tours offer an exciting, sensory journey through vineyards and wineries, exploring the region’s heritage and culture along the way. Intoxicating trails that’ll give you a true insight into the intricacies of the winemaking process and give you a chance to meet some true artisans of the craft.
The feedback that we usually get from travellers who we’ve set up on one of Mary Anne’s tours? Well, “exceeded expectations” is something that comes up pretty frequently. We recently managed to steal a little of Mary Anne’s time to chat to her about wine tasting, winemaking and perfect pairings.
Maryanne, thanks so much for talking with us! Let’s start with the most important question: what is it that wine means to you?
Wine is not just a drink. My mission is to educate the young (and the young at heart!) about the complexity of wine, and the effort that goes into making a great one.
One of my proudest moment was when my nephew turned 21. Instead of the usual rowdy coming-of-age style blowout, he wanted to celebrate with a two-day wine tour that I arranged for him. Three years later, he’s now a real-life adult and I see him having gained a real appreciation for good wine. And it’s not about being pretentious – it’s about thinking about your experiences in a more in-depth, considered way.
You offer a huge range of different types of tours – which is your most popular?
Barossa Valley is Australia’s most famous wine region, and it’s well known around the world – mostly for its big reds, Shiraz in particular. But it has also been interesting to see other regions in South Australia start to get the recognition they deserve for their quality wines.
What inspires the winemakers at the wineries that you work with?
Winemakers are an interesting breed. Often, they’re farmers at heart; they know the soil and vines like the back of their hands. But they’re also artists: picking the grapes at exactly the right time, working with the juice in just the right way, so that the real expression of the wine shines through. It’s the point of intersection between these two very different crafts where they find their inspiration.
You have an impressive background creating menus with matching wines for events. So…what’s the most inspired match that you’ve come across?
A great match comes from the perfect synergy of flavours. My most memorable? Around 20 years ago now, I was eating dinner at the Hilton’s fine dining restaurant. At the time it was run by chef Cheong Liew, and I had what was the most amazing mushroom gnocchi with a Clare Valley Gewürztraminer. A totally heavenly partnership that’s stayed with me ever since.
Duck and Pinot Noir is another favourite of mine, and I’m always on the hunt for new regional variations to try. Pinot can be something of a challenge in Australia, and you’ll find that flavours tend to be more intense in cooler areas of the country. I’ve actually just come back from visiting New Zealand wine regions too, where my quest continued.
And what about your own favourites?
King George Whiting and Clare Riesling. That dry, delicate citrus flavour alongside fresh fish from local waters. It takes me back to summers at our beach house on the Yorke Peninsula, relaxing while overlooking clear blue seas.
Inspiring stuff! Thanks so much Mary Anne. You can find A Taste of South Australia here. If you’re looking for ways to make your way around South Australia with a glass in hand, we’d love to help create your bespoke journey. Get in touch here.