McLaren and the Southern Vales area about 35 km (22 mi) south of Adelaide. It is here that excellent coastal style wines are produced.
The hills and gullies are topped by wineries, and pencil pines. The Mediterranean climate encourages olive trees and hard cheese production. The brown of the hills in summer contrasts with the green of the vines. Dotted by small towns and boutique vineyards, some of which have been there for over 100 years, parts of McLaren Vale will remind you of Italy. The full time population of the area is only around 2,000, so you will get out into rural, country Australia.
History of McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale was named after John McLaren who surveyed the area in 1839. The first settlers from England had already arrived, and had planted grape vines and cereal crops in the area. You can still see some of the original vines planted by John Reynell and Thomas Hardy today at the Reynella, Seaview and Hardy wineries. The historic town of Willlunga is a step back in time: interesting craft and specialty shops, and some excellent country restaurants.
Wine and Food
Most of the wineries and farms in McLaren Vale are still family owned, giving a very pleasant, rural feel to the region. This is a wonderful area to explore slowly, taking in the tasting rooms at leisure. Many of the wineries have seating and picnic areas attached. On a fine day, what can be better than the crusty bread, home cured meats, fine cheeses and locally grown olives of the area eaten under a shady tree or umbrella directly outside the winery. For the best experience, stay at one of the boutique accommodations of McLaren Vale and let time slip by for a few days.
Map of McLaren Vale
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of McLaren Vale