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McLaren Vale Fast Facts
 
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Distance & Driving times from McLaren Vale to

Victor Harbor
48km 50 mins

Cape Jervis
70km 1 hour

Goolwa
60km 1 hour
Adelaide
39km 40 mins
 
Statistics
Closest Town:
Adelaide 39km

Closest Airport:
Adelaide

Banking Facilities / ATM:
yes

Base Elev:
100m

Activities: Wine tasting, dining out, browsing local art & craft galleries, cycling

 

 

 

 

 
         
         
           
 
McLaren Vale Tourism Information
 

 About McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale is an attractive, historic town located on the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide in the heart of the wine-growing district. Although there is a town of McLaren Vale the name is also applied too much of the surrounding area. The McLaren Vale consistently produces some of South Australia's finest wines including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The wines of the area are internationally renowned.

In 1836 the first Europeans landed in Glenelg and soon discovered the fertile soils surrounding the Onkaparinga River and McLaren Vale. In the 1850's grain crops were the main agricultural industry along with sheep and cattle grazing.

Due to the intensive farming in the area the soil soon started to lose nutrients and erosion became a major problem. Many smaller farms became un-viable.

Thomas Hardy led the way in developing a new agricultural industry, grapes. The Hardy and Seaview wineries started operations in the 1850's. Grapes had been planted in the area in 1838 at the time of settlement but it was not until the 1880's that investment from Adelaide restored wealth to the area and the industry developed.

Today there are in excess of 40 wineries in the McLaren Vale area. The majority are less than 25 years old. McLaren Vale is best known for its high quality reds, although it does produce some excellent whites.

Most wineries are open 7 days a week for tastings and cellar door sales.

McLaren Vale is surrounded by grape growing districts including:

  • Sellicks Foothills
    On the Southern edge of the McLaren Vale is the Sellicks foothills also know as the South Lofty Ranges. This area is known for its deep soil, and strong breezes.
  • Blewitt Springs
    The township of Blewitt Springs is the furthest from the sea and has the highest altitude, highest rainfall, and coolest winters of the McLaren Vale area. Deep sandy soils produce fruity wines.
  • McLaren Flat
    East of McLaren Vale township is McLaren Flat. This area is best known for its Chardonnay.
  • Seaview
    Located just north of the McLaren Vale town centre is the Seaview region. This area was one of the first to be planted in the region. The soils are poorer than other areas and consequently produce spicy fruit flavours in the hills, and rich plum flavours in the valleys.
  • Willunga
    South of McLaren Vale township is the small town of Willunga. It was established in 1839 as a rest stop for travellers from Adelaide heading south, or to the nearby harbour of Port Willunga.

Food and Wine

McLaren vale is best known for its wineries however the area also has orchards and pastures producing many local products. Food products of the area include almonds, olives, venison, cheeses, organic vegetables, berries, beef, lamb and rainbow trout. A Farmers Market is held in Willunga every Saturday morning.

The wineries in the area are best know for producing Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling. Experimentation is also being carried out with Viognier, Marsanne and Sangiovese.

The restaurants and cafés in the region pride themselves on their ability to combine all the local produces.

Wine Varieties
There are many vines in the McLaren Vale that are 100 years old and still producing. Shiraz makes up the majority vine plantings and produces the signature wines of the region. Many of the local wineries blend their Shiraz with other local varieties.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are less famous than the Shiraz, but equal the Shiraz in quality. Grenache is harvested in late April and is one of the major varieties of the McLaren Vale. Grenache has enjoyed a recent rise in popularity.

Chardonnay is the pre-dominant white variety of McLaren Vale although Sauvignon Blanc is not far behind and both have distinctive characters.

Many newer varieties have been recently planted in the area including Marsanne which comes form the northern Rhône Valley of France, Petit Verdot, from the Bordeaux, the Italian Sangiovese, Tempranillo - a Spanish variety, Verdelho, Viognier introduced from France and Zinfandel.

Places to visit

The Barn
The Barn is located in Ellen Street and was built in 1870. The building was used the main coach stop in the town.

Congregational Church and Salopian Inn
Willunga Road is the location for the Old Chapel. It is now used by a range of small cottage industries. The plaque outside tells the history of the church, it was built 'To honour the memory of the pioneers of McLaren Vale who with dauntless faith held the first church service in the open air in 1840, built the first chapel in 1844, and built this, the first church, in 1861'. It is now the home for one of the local Art Galleries.

Hardy's Tintara Winery
Located on Main Road at the western end of McLaren Vale town centre. This large complex is centred around the old McLaren Vale Flour Mill, which dates from 1878.

McLaren Vale Hotel
Built in 1857 the McLaren Vale Hotel is located on Main Road. The hotel was bought by Thomas Hardy.

Wineries
Some of the wineries open for tastings include:

North

  • Chapel Hill Winery
  • Coriole Vineyards
  • d'Arenberg Wines
  • Manning Park Wines
  • Merrivale Wines
  • Seaview Winery
  • Oliverhill Winery

Town

  • Dennis of McLaren Vale
  • Hardy's Tintara
  • Luong Rice Winery
  • Maxwell Wines
  • Tatachilla Winery

East

  • Andrew Garrett Winery
  • Curtis Wines
  • Fern Hill Estate
  • Haselgrove Wines
  • Hugo Wines
  • Kangarilla Road Vineyard & Winery
  • Ingoldby Wines
  • Maglieri Wines
  • Middlebrook
  • P & A Hoffman's
  • Ryecroft Vineyards
  • Scarpantoni Estate
  • Shottesbrooke Vineyards
  • Tinlins
  • Wirilda Creek Winery
  • Wirra Wirra Vineyards
  • Woodstock Winery

South

  • Fox Creek Wines
  • Pirramimma Wines
  • Richard Hamilton Wines

Other activities
A number of excellent plant nurseries are located in and around the township offering a wide range of traditional and collector plants. Local art and crafts are featured in several galleries, some wineries, and some restaurants.

Environment

The McLaren area is undulating and contains a wide diversity of terrain, which produce wines with different characteristics.

McLaren Vale’s close proximity to the sea has a pronounced impact on the climate of the region, which is further enhanced by the Sellicks Hill Range, which forms a dramatic backdrop to the area.
The elevation above sea level ranges from about 100m elevation to 320m.

There are a variety of soils in the area including soils of low fertility, light loamy soils, fertile red-brown earths, terra rossa, rendzina, soldolic and dark cracking soils. Overall the soil is very poor and in many instances sandy with underlying clay, and consequently they hold very little water.

Climate

The climate is characterised by warm summers, moderate winters.

The flats of the McLaren Vale are often compared with the Mediterranean climate, with warm sunny days and fresh sea breezes arriving from the Gulf of St Vincent to reduce summer heat. The Mount Lofty Ranges bring cool gully winds down from the hills in the late evening and early morning. Half the area's rainfall occurs during the autumn and winter months April - July about 580-700mm and frosts are rare and temperatures remain mild during this time, rarely going below 15 degrees celsius.

The summers are long and dry with a mean January temperature of 21.7ºC and summer temperatures can reach in excess of 40 degrees celsius but the hot temperatures are tempered by cool mornings and balmy evenings.

Getting there

McLaren Vale is easily accessed by:

  • Car
    Approximately 40 mins from Adelaide CBD using the freeway or take the scenic route via the coast which takes about 1 hour
  • Bus
    Buses depart regularly from Noarlunga Centre and drop off at the Visitor Centre in McLaren Vale
  • Train
    Trains depart Adelaide Railway Station in North Terrace for Noarlunga Centre regularly 7 days a week.

Accommodation

McLaren Vale is an ideal base to tour the Fleurieu Peninsula or enjoy a weekend or short break with wine tasting. There is a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes including Bed and Breakfast, guesthouses, self - contained accommodation, motels and caravan parks.

More information

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association - http://www.mclarenvale.info/

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