Opolo Vineyards in the Adelaide Hills features the typical winery attractions, such as a wine tasting room, a patio overlooking the vineyards, and light food to go along with your glass of wine. And many vineyards are dog-friendly, allowing you to bring your pup with you to stroll along the rows of grapevines. What sets Opolo apart is its established and signed walking trails that are easy enough to be pleasant while providing enough of a workout to be deserving of that glass of wine at hike's end!
The vineyard contains 3 trails, all of them short and intersecting in loops through the pastoral hills and valleys filled with owls, wild turkeys and mule deer. The largely dry Summit Creek provides a riparian habitat for wetland flora and fauna, and owl boxes perched atop high poles dot the landscape, ensuring both a home for the owls and rodent control for the vineyard.
After parking in the gravel lot outside the tasting room, and making a short visit inside to pick up a brochure and map, you'll set out up a gradual hill on the Hilltop Trail to a lovely, exposed picnic area where weddings are often held. Views of the Adelaide Hills surround you as you crest the ridge where the Hilltop Trail meets the Inn Trail, leading you in a loop behind the bed-and-breakfast inn via a sharp, steep climb and ensuing descent.
The Zinfandel Trail, which also starts at the tasting room, is shorter, and provides similar views, but also features a walk past a pretty and historic Mennonite Cemetery and leads to an ancient oak tree under which sits a lone picnic table, the pawrfect spot for a rest and snack. The grass and planted barley on these trails make for soft-footed ambling with your pup.
While Fido isn't allowed in the tasting room or on the patio, he'll happily wait at the car if you bring him a morsel of food after you've had your wine sampling!
Like most of Northern California, you may encounter rattlesnakes while walking these trails. Keep an eye out for them and give them a wide berth, and be sure to keep a tight hold on your pooch's leash. Gopher holes also pose a risk, and the trails can become muddy and slippery after a rain. Wear good hiking shoes or boots to avoid falls. Near the Summit Creek riparian area, poison oak flourishes, and the best way to avoid an uncomfortable rash is to keep to the trail.