One the best known wine regions in Australia

McLaren Vale is a triangular shaped region that takes in coastal ranges and a spectacular coastline. If it wasn’t for the world class wineries, it would be worth visiting for the beaches alone!

There are more than 80 Cellar Doors and many more vineyards, olive growers and olive oil producers, almond producers, distilleries, breweries, galleries, accommodation and other tourist attractions. It is unusual to have such a tourism-rich area so close to a capital city CBD!

While McLaren Vale is well known for its Shiraz and Grenache that regularly feature as winners in international wine competitions, there is so much more to discover. McLaren Vale is one of the most geologically diverse regions in the world with some of the oldest geological features. Geologists tell us that there are more than 40 unique features, some of which are more than 550 million years old.

This diversity in geology contributes to something that viticulturists and winemakers truly care about… ‘Terroir’. That combination of climate and soil that gives wines from a particular region the characteristic flavours that shine through in the wines. McLaren Vale is said to have 17 distinctly different terroirs. As a result, the characteristics of wines and types of grapes that are grown in the region reflect this diversity

*Images courtesy of the McLaren Vale Grape, Wine, and Tourism Association.

Innovation and diversity of wine varieties are now synonymous with McLaren Vale. While there is no doubt that McLaren Vale Shiraz and Grenache are rightfully known around the world for their character, quality and rich flavour, winemakers in McLaren Vale have been experimenting and adopting different grape varieties into the warm climate and varied soils and then worked with those varieties to produce the optimal results.

Winemakers have adopted a broad range of European varieties that well suited to the region. They include Tempranillo, Montepulciano, Mataro (mourvedre), Touriga, Barbera, Zinfandel (Primitivo), Sagrantino and Aglianico with more emerging as the wineries explore the continuing possibilities of the region. Hugh Hamilton (aka The Black Sheep) is one of only 20 winemakers in Australia to have introduced Saperavi into his range and has had international success with this variety. Saperavi is the most important grape from Georgia (Russia), and comes from some of the earliest regions associated with winemaking.

And let’s not forget the magnificent coastline! McLaren Vale’s bounty of magnificent beaches and occasionally rugged, red-cliffed coastline is spectacular to view, and even more wonderful to enjoy. The quiet sandy beaches welcome visitors, and all of them face West, so magnificent sunsets across the water are a regular occurrence. Touring along the beach fronts and esplanades provides regular visual rewards for visitors.

When you come to McLaren Vale, you should be prepared for an Australian Wine adventure; to step outside of your familiar favourites and try new things. But of course, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the flagship wines.