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
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
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
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
- 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
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.
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.
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
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
The restaurants and cafés in
the region pride themselves on their ability to combine
all the local produces.
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
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.
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
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
McLaren Vale Hotel
Built in 1857 the McLaren Vale Hotel is located on Main Road. The hotel was
bought by Thomas Hardy.
Some of the wineries open for tastings include:
- Chapel Hill Winery
- Coriole Vineyards
- d'Arenberg Wines
- Manning Park Wines
- Merrivale Wines
- Seaview Winery
- Oliverhill Winery
- Dennis of McLaren Vale
- Hardy's Tintara
- Luong Rice Winery
- Maxwell Wines
- Tatachilla Winery
- Andrew Garrett Winery
- Curtis Wines
- Fern Hill Estate
- Haselgrove Wines
- Hugo Wines
- Kangarilla Road Vineyard & Winery
- Ingoldby Wines
- Maglieri Wines
- P & A Hoffman's
- Ryecroft Vineyards
- Scarpantoni Estate
- Shottesbrooke Vineyards
- Wirilda Creek Winery
- Wirra Wirra Vineyards
- Woodstock Winery
- Fox Creek Wines
- Pirramimma Wines
- Richard Hamilton Wines
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.
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
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.
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.
McLaren Vale is easily accessed by:
Approximately 40 mins from Adelaide CBD using the freeway or take the scenic
route via the coast which takes about 1 hour
Buses depart regularly from Noarlunga Centre and drop off at the Visitor
Centre in McLaren Vale
Trains depart Adelaide Railway Station in North Terrace for Noarlunga Centre
regularly 7 days a week.
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.
McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism
Association - http://www.mclarenvale.info/
If you would like to display your business here,
click here to contact us.