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My backyard: Barossa Valley


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You can’t beat a sunrise in Seppeltsfield, says Barossa chef Lachlan Colwill.

Colwill was born in the Barossa Valley and, after a career working in top restaurants in Australia and overseas, he returned several years ago to take up the position of head chef at Hentley Farm winery at Seppeltsfield.

Ahead of the Barossa Vintage Festival next month (April 15-19), he shares some of his favourite Barossa experiences and why he thinks the festival is an ideal time to visit the region.

What do you love about living in the Barossa Valley?

I can see the stars in great detail at night, the air is clean, there is wildlife all around and I don’t get parking fines. What more do you need?


Lachlan Colwill at Hentley Farm Restaurant. Photo: Supplied

What are three things that visitors to the region must see/do? 

Experience a sunrise in Seppeltsfield. Find a well-elevated spot anywhere in the Seppeltsfield region (the mausoleum is my pick), then set yourself up to meditate for 30 minutes before sunrise with the plan to open your eyes the moment you feel the sun rising. It’s a magical start to your day!

Hot-air ballooning. Again, it’s an early morning activity, but well worth it.

Visit Tanunda bakery. It has some of the best bakery goods in the country, in my opinion. Go for glazed doughnuts, pastrami pretzel buns and a loaf of the traditional white loaf bread sliced thick … delish!

Your favourite places to eat and drink (not including your own restaurant)?

Apart from my love of Tanunda bakery, I really enjoy what the crew behind Fino Seppeltsfield are doing. And you’ll also often spot me at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop drinking coffee and feeding turtles.


The lake lookout at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. Photo: Sven Kovac/SATC

What is the Barossa’s best-kept local secret? 

The lifestyle! The secret to the Barossa is moving here and embracing the lifestyle of growing your own food, raising animals, sharing with your neighbours, embracing Mother Nature thoughtout the seasons, and playing some form of musical instrument (there are a lot of musos in  the Barossa).

The locals that follow this lifestyle seem truly at ease with the world and I’m very happy to be one of them.

Why should people consider visiting during the Barossa Vintage Festival?

It is an excellent time of year to see the beauty that is the Barossa and all the wineries have that vintage buzz when you visit them.

I would really recommend the Vintage Fare event at Whistler Wines with chef Duncan Welgemoed and the Breakfast at Bethany Wine event with chef Mark McNamara. Both are great chefs set up at stunning locations.


Grape treading at the Barossa Vintage Festival. Photo: Supplied

The Barossa Vintage Festival began in 1947 with a thanksgiving ball that celebrated the end of both the grape harvest and World War I, and has now grown to a five-day celebration. Running from April 15-19, it features a range of free and ticketed events, including a wine auction, cellar-door breakfasts and lunches, exhibitions, wine tastings, a scarecrow trail and twilight concerts. Hentley Farm is assisting with the Barossa Comes Home event, where Lachlan Colwill will be providing cooking demonstrations. The full program is online.

Hentley Farm Restaurant is located in restored stables on the banks of Greenock Creek and offers a choice of set menus highlighting seasonal produce.

More My Backyard articles:

Yorke Peninsula – by singer Ronnie Taheny
Clare Valley – by Good Catholic Girl Wines head girl Julie Barry
Eyre Peninsula – by Boston Bay Wines’ Tony Ford
Kangaroo Island – by artist Janine Mackintosh



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