McLaren Vale is regarded as the birthplace of South Australia’s wine industry and is home to some of the world’s oldest vines – as well as spectacular coastal scenery, incredible local produce and a welcoming atmosphere.
Nestled between the rolling hills of the Mount Lofty Ranges and Gulf St Vincent beaches, the first vines were planted here in 1838 – leaving a legacy today of around 65 mostly boutique wineries producing premium artisan wines from McLaren Vale vineyards in Australia. All of the McLaren Vale’s wineries, which form part of the so-called ‘Fleurieu Zone’, can be reached from the town centre and explored as part of increasingly popular wine tours of South Australia – which is where most of the country’s premium wine is grown in surrounding regions including the Barossa Valley, Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills.
Although Barossa Valley attracts the most attention, McLaren Vale is vying with its more illustrious neighbour for the title of Australia’s best red wine producer, especially from the country’s signature Shiraz (known elsewhere as Syrah). There are many opportunities to sample some of Australia’s finest Shiraz from McLaren Vale vineyards by plotting a course through the Shiraz Wine Trail, which follows an old railway line from the town to Willunga.
The climate and soil in the region produces intensely flavoured red wines from varieties including the ubiquitous Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache that can be aged gracefully for decades – while white styles are made from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise a range of exclusive tours of McLaren Vale vineyards, including elaborate tastings, luxury accommodation, fine dining experiences and some unique activities.
All of our private tours can be tailor made to meet your exact specifications, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – sampling world class wines surrounded by the natural beauty of Australia’s wilderness. Our purely bespoke tour of McLaren Vale vineyards will take you to a range of revered wineries accompanied by a professional guide to explain the region and wine’s characteristics before sampling some premium vintages paired with local cuisine over a two-course lunch. While wine is an undeniable lure for visitors to the area, it is not the only drawing card that McLaren Vale can use. The region is also renowned for its fresh local produce, including bread, cheeses, olives and fruit – all of which can be procured from a weekly Farmers’ Market as well as artisan relishes, sauces and traditional cured meats to provide perfect picnic ingredients.
McLaren Vale is regarded by locals as a small village, although for its size there is an impressive number of boutique shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes lining the main street that runs 8 kilometres to Willunga. The town is also an ideal location from which to explore the Fleurieu Peninsula, which is inundated with wildlife as well as a range of sea faring activities including surfing, fishing and diving off the golden sand beaches. There is also the Onkaparinga National Park, which is perhaps best explored by taking a canoe down the Onkaparinga River – the second longest waterway in Australia – which flows towards an imposing gorge straddled by soaring cliffs. The region’s enviable coastal location is celebrated each June as part of the two-day Sea and Vines festival, where around 20 wineries unite to serve up delectable wine a dine opportunities featuring fresh seafood.
If you are interested in exploring the best vineyards McLaren Vale has to offer, visit our Australia destination page for more information and inspirational ideas before planning a bespoke trip.
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