The Barossa Valley is typically proclaimed the wine capital of South Australia, but what about its southern counterpart, McLaren Vale?
The McLaren Vale wine region has been solidly gaining ground throughout Australia and internationally as SA’s premier wine region, and it’s not hard to see why.
Home to some of oldest grape vines in the world and showcasing over 80 cellar doors, you’ll find an abundance of wine, food and culinary experiences here, nestled amongst sensational natural beauty with stunning beaches on one side and the Mount Lofty Ranges on the other.
We’re suckers for a good McLaren Vale Shiraz, but it’s more than just world-class reds that draw us to this region.
Here are our top four reasons why you should consider a visit to the McLaren Vale wine region, giving you a great excuse to stock up your wine collection along the way.
1. Wine Tasting at McLaren Vale’s cellar doors
With over 80 cellar doors and vineyards in the McLaren Vale wine region, the choices truly seem endless.
While you’ll never be able to visit them all, selecting a handful of cellar doors to stopover over a long, lazy weekend in the region is the perfect way to sample different wines and get a taste of what McLaren Vale has to offer.
The cellar doors range from expansive powerhouses like d’Arenberg, Hardy’s Tintara and Wirra Wirra, to the charming and quaint like Dog Ridge Wines, Samuels Gorge and Alpha Box & Dice.
Visit a blend of both and savour a tasting platter while taking in the beautiful surrounds and let the good times roll!
2. Hit the Shiraz Trail
The Shiraz Trail offers up eight kilometres of picturesque scenery to enjoy while walking or cycling between some of the regions signature wineries.
The trail stretches past the old railway line that joins McLaren Vale with nearby Willunga, and then continues on for another 30 kilometres as the Coast to Vines Rail Trail for those who want to venture out further.
The Shiraz Trail is flat and scenic, making it an easy ride or stroll and offers a great way to take in the local area. Bikes can be hired from Onya Bikes or Oxygen Cycles on McLaren Vale’s main road.
3. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of McLaren Vale’s restaurants
Like the cellar doors, the dining options at McLaren Vale are plentiful. One of the best things about this region is that there’s something for everyone, whether you prefer to eat wood oven pizza in a relaxed setting or sample five-star cuisine in award-winning dining rooms.
For a high-end experience, try Maxwell’s, Coriole Winery or Penny’s Hill and for something a little hipper and more rustic, head to Pizzateca, The Currant Shed or Russel’s Pizza.
4. Check out the beaches
It’s not just the wine that draws visitors from across the globe to McLaren Vale.
The region is also the gateway to the Fleurieu Peninsula, with easy access to a stretch of six of the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf of St Vincent, including Port Noarlunga, Sellicks Beach, Aldinga and Maslin Beach (where clothing is optional).
Rolling hills and dramatic cliff faces meet powder white sands and pristine waters, where fishing, surfing and diving are all popular activities for locals and tourists alike.
McLaren Vale is only a 45-minute drive from Adelaide, with a wide range of accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets.
Driving is the best way to see the area, but there’s also plenty of operators who offer wine tours, chauffeured services and day tours from the city.
There’s so much to see and do in this stunning part of the world, making McLaren Vale a must-see for any wine, food or nature lover.