Crush Wrap Up

Johnston Oakbank

With Crush‘s main day taking place on the Sunday of the recent long weekend I binned my plans to hold a BBQ for friends (sorry!), coerced Andy into coming along (by offering to drive) and set about planning an itinerary.

I wanted to visit wineries I hadn’t visited before and keep things as close to home as possible. Since having a child I’ve learnt to be less ambitious when planning so I decided that three wineries was enough.

Our first planned stop, Johnston of Oakbank, was chosen on the basis of its published menu and the promise of an afternoon of African entertainment. One thing I noted was that very few wineries went in to much detail, either in the Crush brochure, or on their own websites, about food or prices. Quite a few wineries recommended booking for lunch, but I didn’t have time to be ringing around to find out what they were offering and for how much, so we decided to start at Johnston and see what happened.

We arrived at Johnston early but the bar was open and everything was set up and ready to go. There was plenty of seating and shade and the cellar door was open, so you could sit inside too which would have been essential had it been a hot day. I’m not sure what happened to the African entertainment but early in the piece a band called The Sunset Lounge started up and food started coming out.

As the toddler loves lamb we chose a plate of harissa marinated lamb kebabs with preserved lemon, pearl couscous and yoghurt. For $15 it wasn’t a particularly large portion but it was really good. We didn’t actually get to try too much of it, as the toddler loved it and was most keen to ensure that we stayed away.

Harissa & Preserved Lemon Kebabs

We spent quite a while at Johnston, soaking up some sun, chatting and, of course, people watching. We were also photographed for the Adelaide Hills magazine so who knows – you might spot us in the next issue!

Time for moving on, we abandoned our sketchy plan, and headed to Verdun Park Wines. By the time we arrived, the beautiful shady area (under a giant tree) was already very busy. There were no chairs free but, with a toddler, you’re never afraid of sitting on the ground, so we nabbed ourselves a good spot near the band and Andy headed off to investigate the food and drink.

Verdun Park Wines

It turned out Verdun Park wasn’t serving any food that was going to be the hit the lamb kebabs had been, so after a while sitting under the tree and watching the toddler burn off quite a lot of energy, we had a think about what to do next.

At this point, we were pretty peckish and it was also quite late. We decided that the best plan was probably to find a pub and have a proper sit down meal. You’ll hear about lunch another day!

What we saw of Crush was well organised, though I’d love to see more detail about food offerings. I suspect that next year we’ll be committing ourselves to a booked lunch somewhere, because winging it ended up being just too hard!

If you’re in SA, love wine and you missed Crush, then get yourself ready for the Cellar Door Festival, coming up 22 – 24 February!

4 thoughts on “Crush Wrap Up

  1. Last year when we went we only managed three wineries – Golding, Barristers Block and Nepenthe. It’s amazing how quickly time goes by. But I guess half the charm is taking your time to take it all in. I think the key is to get up super early and kick-start the day with breakfast up there.
    I agree with you about having more details. It would make itinerary choices a little easier.
    Overall I really enjoyed Crush and the family atmosphere it promotes. Hopefully next year it won’t clash with the TDU so that we can go.

    1. This year Golding had a bouncy castle which was very tempting! I also wanted to see the sabrage demonstration at Deviation Road, but we lost track of time and were eating our lunch around then!

      Good point about clashing with TDU. Scheduling these things in Adelaide must be a nightmare!

  2. The food at Verdun Park Wines was very popular and most items had actually sold out by 3pm. I was fortunate enough to have a gourmet tart and salad which was delicious, followed by a yummy macaron.

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