Located 40 minutes south of Adelaide, McLaren Vale is home to some of the oldest vines in Australia. A warm, dry climate influenced by breezes from the Mount Lofty Ranges and the Gulf St Vincent, along with the cooling effect from the ocean create mesoclimate variation.
These five wineries have a focus on innovation and sustainability and are must-visits when planning a trip to the South Australian wine region.
Angove Family WinemakersThe Angove cellar door is located among the biodynamically grown vines at Warboys Vineyard – just a two minute drive from the McLaren Vale township. Enjoy the east to west view across one of McLaren Vale's most historic vineyards, with vines dating back to the early 1900s. The source of Angove's super premium wines, the south facing slope is planted to old vine shiraz, while the north facing is planted to grenache, carignan, fiano, and shiraz.
The Warboys Vineyard sits on either side of a creek that only flows in a wet winter. It's blessed with cool gully winds in the mornings and evenings, and fresh sea breezes in the afternoons.
Guests are invited to taste the complete and extensive portfolio of wines including the famed shiraz and grenache, along with the fiano. Also on offer are spirits from family companies including St Agnes brandy, Blind Tiger gin and Camborne whisky. Take part in a guided tasting flight, a tour of the Warboys Vineyard, a St Agnes brandy tasting or enjoy a glass and sample menu while taking in the unspoiled views of the winery.
Chief winemaker Tony Ingle says: The McLaren Vale lifestyle is rich with generous hospitality, culinary experiences, wineries and stunning coastlines. We are spoilt to be able to craft world-class wines from the region's diverse geology and old vines that pay homage to McLaren Vale's rich viticultural history.
Tony's must-try wine: Angove Warboys Vineyard Grenache.
Local favourite: Pearl in Aldinga for coffee, Salopian Inn for food, and the Mickey Barlow Art Gallery for art.
Find out more | 117 Chalk Hill Road, McLaren Vale | (08) 8323 6900
Haselgrove WinesEstablished in 1981, Haselgrove is surrounded by old vine shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and mourvèdre vineyards. Haselgrove has recently welcomed McLaren Vale's first ever rooftop bar and cellar door, which boasts 360 degree views of McLaren Vale and beyond.
Guests can take part in three structured tastings: the Legend Series (taste Haselgrove's ultra-premium wines including The Ambassador Shiraz), the Origin Series, which focuses on the varieties that have put McLaren Vale on the map, and the Modern McLaren Vale experience where guests can taste the emerging varietals that excel in the region's Mediterranean climate. For anyone looking to choose their own adventure, try the the Express Tasting, or if you've ever wondered what it's like to be a winemaker, try the Winemaker for a Minute experience and tackle the art of blending.
Through the sliding doors, the undercover area offers views of the Ambassador Block, or plant yourself in the vineyard for the afternoon, overlooking the old vines with a glass accompanied by a hand-stretched pizza or gourmet grazing board.
Winemaker Alex Sherrah says: McLaren Vale is truly one of the great wine regions of the new world. We are blessed to have such a mild maritime climate, low rainfall, and no humidity, making it the perfect place to grow premium grapes. The geology is also one of the oldest and most complex of all the grape growing regions globally, giving us extraordinary depth and structure in our wines.
Alex's must-try wine: Haselgrove Catkin Shiraz.
Local favourite: McLaren Vale has a vast and breathtaking coastline – be sure to visit one of the pristine beaches.
Find out more | 291 Foggo Road, McLaren Vale | (08) 8166 1881
Grounded CruThe Grounded Cru home site is the historic Ingoldby Vineyard in McLaren Flat. The winery offers group tastings by appointment – each session is hosted by winemakers Geoff Thompson and Matt Jackman. Hear about the region and Grounded Cru wines as you take part in a barrel tasting, a ferment tasting (if your visit is during vintage), along with a tour of the vineyards planted to old vine shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and 85-year-old grenache vines, before finishing with a wine tasting.
Grounded Cru was launched in 2017 and are a boutique producer who work exclusively with superb fruit to produce wines of great personality and character.
Winemakers Geoff Thompson and Matt Jackman say: McLaren Vale is an amazing wine growing region. Only 45 minutes south of the Adelaide CBD, bordered by the ocean to our west, the Adelaide Hills to our east and the beauty of the rolling hills within – it truly is beautiful. The influence of the ocean creates a Mediterranean climate that provides superb ripening conditions for a wide range of varieties and allows wonderful flavour development.
Geoff's must-try wine: Our GSM is a perfect introduction to our winery; it’s on high rotation in our household! It has wonderful balance, an amazing array of aromas and flavours, medium weight and the structure to be incredibly food friendly. We also love our Inc Shiraz and Inc Cabernet Sauvignon, both are crafted from the old vines at our home site.
Local favourite: The Currant Shed restaurant just down Ingoldby Road is excellent, the Star of Greece, and the McLaren Vale Hotel for a great pub meal. And don't miss the Port Willunga beach, and Hugo Wines cellar door.
Find out more | 49 Ingoldby Road, McLaren Flat | 0438 897 738
Oliver’s Taranga VineyardsThe Oliver family has been farming the Taranga property since arriving from Scotland in 1839, and now grow 15 different varieties on the vineyard.
The Oliver’s Taranga newly renovated cellar door has spectacular spaces for guests to enjoy seasonal wine tastings, or take part in a structured tasting of selected museum wines. For those looking for the full experience, hop on Ollie, the golf cart, and take the Taranga Terroir tour, followed by a wine tasting from the vineyard (in the vineyard). With a serene and relaxing atmosphere, guests are welcomed by the incredible staff, and encouraged to taste wines at their leisure looking out over the vineyards, and leave as a new member of the family.
The Taranga vineyard is 110ha on the northern edges of McLaren Vale in the Seaview subregion. All wines produced come from the Oliver’s Taranga vineyard, and the property's oldest vines were planted in 1948.
Winemaker Corrina Wright says: McLaren Vale is an incredible region, and the Taranga vineyard is part of our very DNA. We are Sustainable Winegrowing Australia certified, and our focus is on making sure we preserve the land for the next six generations. We are lucky to live and work on our vineyard, with the sea so close, and to be part of a vibrant and inspiring community.
Corrina's must-try wine: Oliver’s Taranga Shiraz (and the 2022 Fiano).
Local favourite: The tiny but iconic The Little Rickshaw, Salopian Inn, we also love Swell Brewing Co, Pizzateca and the gins at Never Never. Fall from Grace is a favourite wine store, and Port Willunga beach.
Find out more | 246 Seaview Road, McLaren Vale | (08) 8323 8498
Pannell EnotecaThe Pannell Enoteca cellar door takes in distant views to the Gulf St Vincent and the rolling hills of the Vale. Open daily, the cellar door offers tasting flights and small plates as you sit out on the deck and absorb the region. The knowledgable Pannell Enoteca team will guide you through tastings, and love sharing the stories and inspiration behind each wine.
Pannell is home to three vineyards across 30ha, each sits in a unique location matched to the growing needs of varieties, cementing the future vintages of SC Pannell, Koomilya, and Protero. From the Maslin Beach sands of Blewitt Springs growing 100-year-old grenache to the ancient landscape of Koomilya uniquely nestled in the native bush of Upper Tintara, and the beautiful views of our Olivers Rd home – each of our vineyards are lovingly farmed using regenerative practices.
Stephen's must-try wine: Stephen Pannell started working with grenache in 1995 while he was at Hardys. His reputation for crafting finely detailed grenache has resulted in five styles being produced. The 2020 Basso Garnacha is the gateway grenache and encapsulates the vibrant aromas and palate of SC Pannell's favourite variety.
Winemaker Stephen Pannell says: We love the unusual, celebrate provenance, and encourage exploration by making wines that suit the food we grow and the way we live.
Find out more | 60 Olivers Rd, McLaren Vale | 0423 555 750