The South Australian wine industry’s genesis is about an hour’s drive from Adelaide. Shiraz is the main draw. Stay for the unique immersive experiences, upscale accommodations, and rustic cuisine. The greatest things to do in McLaren Vale are listed in this guide.
McLaren Vale: South Australian Gem
The heart of the South Australian wine industry, McLaren Vale, is home to some of the oldest grapevines in the world.
McLaren Vale is about 45 minutes from Adelaide and is positioned between the undulating Mount Lofty Ranges and the beaches of the Gulf St. Vincent. This South Australian treasure offers beautiful lodging options, more than 80 cellar doors, and vineyards. Beyond the grapes, however, are extensive expanses of beach, a craggy coastline, and native fauna, so McLaren Vale is about more than simply wine.
Besides, in a very Mediterranean backdrop of rocky limestone cliffs, market gardens, and olive groves soothed by sea breezes, McLaren Vale emerges from the urban sprawl. Although the region has a more than 180-year history of producing wine, the food culture follows similar trends and is delightfully unconstrained by tradition.
In what is perhaps Australia’s most sustainable wine area, “alternative” heat-resistant grape varieties coexist with tough bush vines that produce intensely flavorful grenache. Organic and biodynamic vineyards are also in abundance.
The Best Time To Visit McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale has temperate winters and hot, dry summers, making it a year-round travel destination. No matter the season, wearing a hat and sunscreen is advised on sunny days, while layering is advised in the fall and winter when evening temperatures can dip.
Chalk Hill Wines: One of The Best Wineries In McLaren Vale
In McLaren Vale, it’s impossible to turn in a circle without colliding with hundreds of top-notch wineries. However, Chalk Hill Wines stands out because it offers much more than just a cellar door. It also has Never Never, one of South Australia’s greatest distilleries, and Cucina di Strada, an Italian cantina designed by the masters of the nearby Pizzateca.
In addition, the three on-site locations have a genuinely communal vibe, and together they produce an engaging and varied vineyard experience. It’s the place to taste fantastic food and wine with a little edge because each brand likes to experiment.
Besides, bring a picnic and take in the beautiful views on the expansive lawn at the top of Chalk Hill. Increase the intensity with a No Way Rosé Spritz made with the vineyard’s own fiano, Regal Rogue Wild Rosé vermouth, pink grapefruit, and Never Never Triple Juniper gin.
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Things To Do In McLaren Vale
Snorkel Port Noarlunga Reef
One of the greatest places to do your snorkel and get to know the local marine life is the Port Noarlunga Reef Sanctuary Zone. It stretches from the Fleurieu Peninsula’s base to Kangaroo Island’s northeastern shore.
Taste wine on a double-decker bus
Drop by the Down The Rabbit Hole vineyard for a cellar door experience unlike any other. You can have a meal at the restaurant (which features local organic produce) or a glass of wine on the double-decker bus.
Explore the Fleurieu Peninsula
The Fleurieu Peninsula is home to an abundance of native animals, stunning beaches, and top-notch surfing, fishing, and diving. You should not skip Victor Harbor, where you may ride a horse-drawn cart, go whale watching, and swim with leafy sea dragons.
Paddle the Onkaparinga River
On the Coast to Vines Tour, you may explore McLaren Vale by e-bike and stand-up paddleboard. After riding to the coast, you can paddle on the Onkaparinga. Enjoy a delectable lunch and wine and beer tastings to cap off the morning.
Hit the Sellicks Beach
Six expansive sandy beaches can be found at McLaren Vale, along with extensive sections of magnificent coastline. Visit Port Noarlunga to snorkel, Sellicks Beach to fish or surf the waves, or Port Willunga to scuba dive the Star of Greece shipwreck. Personally, I like to go for a walk at Sellicks Beach.
See local Aboriginal art
Visit Red Poles Gallery to view the most recent display of Aboriginal art. In addition to holding courses and events. It includes Indigenous art markets and smoking ceremonies, and the gallery represents local First Nations artists and musicians.
Visit Willunga Farmers Market
At the Willunga Farmers Market, which opens every Saturday morning, more than 80 farmers and artisan food producers sell everything from cheeses and chutneys to chocolates, honey, organic fruits and vegetables, and flowers.
Wine is tasted in a piece of art
The d’Arenberg winery offers one of the most unusual experiences in the area. The Cube, an avant-garde building modeled after an unfinished Rubik’s Cube, is located here. It has a top-floor tasting room and a “Museum of Alternate Realities.”
Pedal or bicycle along the Shiraz Trail
Ride the Shiraz Trail through sweeping vineyards to experience the local flavors. Make sure to visit wineries like Wirra Wirra, Primo Estate, and Pertaringa Wines to sample their shiraz, or swing by Swell Brewing Co. for a flight of brews.