McLaren Vale is one of the most exciting and enticing places to visit within South Australia. Despite the popular belief of many a tourist, McLaren Vale is not part of the Barossa Valley. The Barossa Valley is a region North of Adelaide, whereas, McLaren Vale is part of the Fleurieu Peninsula and is 45 minutes South of the city.
Why you should visit McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale is known for its spectacular beaches, and it’s booming food and wine culture. Within the regions 30 kilometres there are over 80 unique cellar doors, filled with many exciting varieties including Mediterranean styles. They say that the best way to get to know a place is to go where the locals go, and I don’t know many South Australians who don’t love going to McLaren Vale. I have visited McLaren Vale on multiple occasions to go wine tasting and have experienced how overwhelming and confusing it can be to be presented merely with a map (which you can collect at the visitors’ centre or some of the local cafes) and a list of all the wineries that exist with McLaren Vale. The best way to handle this is to know which wineries are worth visiting beforehand so that you can plan your trip without a lot of stress on the day. I would recommend trying up to three wineries in a day, this way you’ll have plenty of time to taste and explore the ground, and hopefully won’t start to feel ill. It’s also worth doing a quick Google search before you leave, just to find out if there are any events on while you’ll be there. Having this information will also help you choose which wineries to visit as you may want to avoid the busier areas, or you may want to take part in some of the fun events that happen in McLaren Vale.
Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed Wines
You may need to keep a close eye on the map when finding Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed Wines (I got a little bit lost the first time I tried to find it) This is one of the quaintest wineries I have come across. The cellar door is a tiny cottage, so I doubt there would be many large tour buses around. The Bosworth family have been growing grapes around the region since the 1840s, and you can feel that historic charm as you explore the cellar doors and the grounds. Battle of Bosworth grows organic grapes and has some vegan options which set them apart from many other wineries. They are a fantastic place to go wine tasting if you are a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, Rose or Meditteranean Reds.
Chapel Hill Winery, Tasting Room, and Gallery
There aren’t a lot of cellar door interiors that capture my attention; usually, there is more of a focus on the exterior to entice you when you’re driving past. Chapel Hill Winery does have a lovely exterior, but it’s particularly impressive on the inside. The name of the winery might give you a little bit of a clue as to what this place looks like, as the sight was, in fact, a church built in 1865. Elements from that church are incorporated into the design to create a unique space. The tasting experience is almost as unique as the building; each group gets there own wine barrel table to stand at, with the cellar hand bring each wine to you. This set up means each party gets more privacy and space from the other parties at the tasting. Not only is it a unique experience, but the wines also happen to be rather lovely. They even managed to create a Chardonnay that I’m quite a fan of (and I never like Chardonnay)
It seems I have a thing for cute cellar doors because that is the only way to describe Coriole Vineyards. The gardens at this cellar doors are stunning and worth taking a stroll through (and possibly a couple of pictures to remember your day). Not only is it cute as a button, but they also have heaps of different Mediterranean style wines to taste. They also have a lovely looking restaurant for lunch if you’re in the mood for it.
Oliver’s Taranga Vineyard
If you’re exploring McLaren Vale with a larger group and are trying to avoid the super touristy cellar doors you might find Oliver’s Taranga Vineyard the perfect place to avoid crazy crowds. It is a cellar door with a very relaxed feeling to it, with beautiful views of the surrounding vineyard. You do have to pay for tastings, but the wines are worth a try if you’re in that part of McLaren Vale.
Paxton Wines Cellar Door
Paxton Wines is another fantastic winery that specialises in making gorgeous organic wine. This cellar door is one of the first wineries you will pass when travelling into McLaren Vale which makes it a fantastic place to start to start your wine tasting journey. The grounds at Paxton are stunning and they often the host to a wedding on the weekend and you might get a glimpse of the set. There are plenty of spectacular views, making Paxton Wines another great place if you’re in the mood for taking a few photos.
S.C. Pannell Wines
One of the worst parts of wine tasting is when you have to stop and attempt to find a place for lunch; this is when you go to S.C. Pannell Wines. The views from the deck will take your breath away, and you can continue to enjoy them over lunch and a glass of wine. Their food menu is a little bit of fun and different from many of the other options around McLaren Vale. The wines are lovely to sample, and it’s highly likely that you’ll walk away with a bottle or two. There is an exciting atmosphere around the cellar door, and it’s always a popular destination on the weekend.