McLaren Vale is second only to Barossa Valley as South Australia’s top wine region. The region's wineries are spread out around the town of McLaren Vale, about 25 miles (41 kilometers) south of Adelaide. Soft, luscious Shiraz is the signature style, and more than 70 wineries offer tastings. Don't miss the vibrant local food scene.
The various McLaren Vale wineries have different fee systems for tastings, but, as a general rule, expect to pay for wine tastings, both tutored and independent, vineyard or cellar tours, and food tastings if visiting independently. Some wineries, such as D’Arenberg, house informative sensory and multimedia displays and offer experiences from making your own wine to elaborate tasting menus.
Due to South Australia’s rigorous drunk-driving laws and its patchy public transport, many travelers visit the McLaren Vale wine region via organized tours with round-trip transfers. In addition to minivan tours and private tours, McLaren Vale bike tours are popular, which may include food and wine tastings. Select McLaren Vale winery tours also visit sites on the Fleurieu Peninsula, such as the coastal town of Victor Harbor.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- A pilgrimage to McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley is a must for any South Australia visitor with an interest in food and wine.
- The South Australia drink-driving limit is 0.05 and is rigorously enforced.
- The legal drinking age in Australia is 18. While many winery restaurants welcome children, wine tasting is not a spectator sport.
- Wheelchair access to McLaren Vale wineries varies. Call ahead for details on individual locations.
Visit the McLaren Vale wine region as a day trip from Adelaide, about 25 miles (41 kilometers) to the north, or stay in the region itself. There's no public transportation, so most travelers either self-drive (with designated driver) or book an organized tour that includes transport.
When to Get There
Some McLaren Vale wineries are open seven days a week, and most are closed for major holidays; others are open to the public only occasionally. The grape harvest and wine-making season usually falls between February and March.What McLaren Vale Wineries Should I Visit?
McLaren Vale winemakers have been working with grapes for well over a century, and every winery offers something different. Kay Brothers, established in 1892, is considered the oldest McLaren Vale winery that’s still in the founding family’s hands; d’Arenberg, whose deconstructed Cube building is a McLaren Vale landmark, is another popular stop; and Beresford Wines offers an elegant tasting pavilion.