Wine Regions

The Wines of McLaren Vale

History and dedication to excellence

An introduction to McLaren Vale SA

McLaren Vale is on the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide in South Australia. In a state that boasts abundant natural and man-made beauty, McLaren Vale might be the most outstanding region. Part of the Fleurieu Zone that includes Langhorne Creek, Currency Creek and Kangaroo Island, the area rolls from the Adelaide Hills down to the coastal waters of Gulf St Vincent.


From the Adelaide Hills to the north, the country rolls and tumbles to the sea. The region is often described as the place where wine meets the sea. Beautiful beaches and great growing conditions are just part of why this area is renowned for its lifestyle. Post-war Italian immigration had a significant influence on McLaren Vale food and wine culture and today visitors to the area can eat in winery restaurants.

Climate and wine styles

Summers in McLaren Vale are hot and dry but enjoy cool relief coming in from the sea. These coastal, Mediterranean-like conditions are perfect for producing red wine.


Growers have planted the ironstone soils surrounding the town of McLaren Vale producing rich, supple wines with chocolate and mocha characteristics in their Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends. Higher up in Blewitt Springs, the sandy soils produce Grenache with plum and mulberry as well as tobacco and spice.


The variety of soils over undulating landscapes along with the varied climate allows winemakers to pick from a variety of grapes in the region. McLaren Vale wines are famed for their dry reds that are complex, elegant and well structured.

McLaren Vale Award Winners

Zonte's Footstep Chocolate Factory McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015

This victorious wine is nearly opaque in colour, and a classic McLaren Vale Shiraz. Velvety, plush and with warm blackberry pie and notes of fresh blueberries, it’s like taking a big mouthful of Black Forest cake. It’s no wonder this bottle won an impressive six Gold medals from both national and international competitions, including a double Gold medal at the New York Wine and Spirits Competition 2016.

Vasarelli Pasquale's Selection

Pat and Vicki Vasarelli are well known in McLaren Vale since emigrating from Italy over 30 years ago. Sticking to tradition, they hand-pick all their fruit and this particular wine has refined savoury fruit flavours with hints of black cherry and chocolate underlying the well balanced tannins. One of their wines is currently in the running for Cellarmasters Red Wine of the Year, so it’s no wonder that Pasquale’s Selection won three Silver and one Bronze medal!

Tolley Elite McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013

This victorious wine is made by esteemed winemaker Nigel Dolan and has three Gold, three Silver and twelve Bronze Medals. The Tolley label is a historic, family owned business and one of their Pinot Noirs is one of the finalists for the Cellarmasters Red Wine of the Year 2017. This generous, full-bodied Shiraz has been matured for 12 months in new and seasoned American and French oak and has flavours of dark, ripe plum, cherry and with a toasty oak profile.  

Di Fabio McLaren Vale Bush Vine Shiraz 2013

From 60 year old vines that have been carefully hand-pruned and hand-picked, comes a wine that’s soft, generous and of great flavour persistence. Rich dark berry fruit notes mingle smoothly with toasted nutty oak and vanillin in this complex wine. Rated 95 by James Halliday and with one Silver and 6 Bronze medals under its belt, it’s a winning bottle.

The future of McLaren Vale

For McLaren Vale, with Adelaide on its doorstep, the future will be continued steady growth of the region’s reputation for great Shiraz but also a wide range of other exciting varietals.


Lifestyle is an important draw for the region for both tourists and those looking to put down roots. McLaren Vale benefits from the close proximity to the state capital, one of the most liveable cities in the world, and the coast on Gulf St Vincent. There is also a vibrant cultural scene with food and the arts being an important part of life in the region. With so much to offer and regional inclination for reinvention, McLaren Vale will continue, as it always has, to grow and develop.

File under:

  • Mclaren Vale
  • Shiraz
  • Tolley
  • Zontes
  • DiFabio
  • South Australia