The southern vales town of McLaren Vale was planted with its first vines in 1838, just two years after the colony of South Australia was founded. By the late 1800’s a number of wine companies were operating in the region including Ryecroft, established in 1884, Tatachilla in 1887, Kay Brothers Amery in 1891, Pirramimma in 1892 and Wirra Wirra in 1893.
Today the region is home to over 86 winemakers and around 70 cellar doors, and some of Australia’s finest restaurants and produce.
The red grape variety Shiraz is undoubtedly the king in McLaren Vale showing distinctive cherry, plum and spice with elegance, texture, length and importantly ageing potential. The region also produces amazing Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and the emerging alternate varieties Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Fiano, and Vermentino.
With the St Vincent Gulf less than 5 kilometres away the climate of McLaren Vale is broadly described as “Mediterranean”. However within the region there is considerable variation of climate with the vineyards closer to the ocean generally being warmer than those on the hillsides that lead into the Mt Lofty Ranges.
The McLaren Vale region receives an average of 8.6 hours of sunshine on average per day and an annual rainfall of just 660mm. During the growing season only 180mm of rain falls in the region and the heat degree days summation is 1910. Mean January temperature is 21.7 °C and harvest typically occurs from late February through to early May.
The soil types in vary from red brown sandy loams to grey brown sandy loams with areas of yellow clay sub soils, interspersed with limestone.
McLaren Vale is a region of great contrast and beauty. With a culture of sustainability, community and best practice environmental management the region produces some of the world’s finest wine and food.