McLaren Vale

Highlights

 
  • Wine, wine, and more wine!!!
  • Book a delicious long lunch and enjoy the amazing farm to plate food experience from around McLaren Value.
  • Drive to Port Willunga beach and take a stroll along the breathtaking coastline.
  • After a hard day of wine tasting, unwind and relax at the beautiful accommodation provided by Corinium Roman Villas in Inman Valley.

About McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale is one of three major wine regions located less than two hours from Adelaide.  Here you'll find an array of lovely wineries (with open cellar doors) offering great quality wines with an absolutely stunning backdrop no matter which winery you choose to visit, or what time of year you are visiting.  You do not need to make a booking (unless you have a group of more than 8 or 10), and you'll find the local cellar door operators extremely warm and welcoming. 

McLaren Vale is very much known for their dry red wines such as Shiraz and Grenache. However, the past few years have seen an increase in Tempranillo and Sangievese. McLaren Value also offers a good selection of white and/or rose wine if that is more up your alley.  Do yourself a favour and spend at least a night here (even two!) and we guarantee that it won't take long before you feel totally relaxed and immersed in the natural beauty of the area.  You will not regret it!      

Our top winery + restaurant picks

There are so, so many amazing places to eat and drink in and around McLaren Vale; you really are spoilt for choice!  In no particular order, these are some of our personal favourites:

Bekkers Wine

For a modern and unique experience, you absolutely must visit Bekkers Wine.  We happened to stumble across the Bekkers tasting room only recently, and were more than impressed.  It is a small, family run winery with a magnificent glass tasting room that offers tastings in a unique and different way in comparison to the many wineries within the McLaren Vale.  When we arrived we were greeted by Toby himself (owner/winemaker) who directed us to the tasting room (which we were lucky enough to have all to ourselves!) and he set us up with cheese, refreshments, and of course the tastings.  Toby and his wife source many of their grapes from France, their white is actually made in France, and are trying to add a slight French flavour to the McLaren Vale. 

It is $10pp and there are four wines to taste - all of which are amazing! - and it was a lovely experience having the wineries owner and maker describe each of the wines to us.  If you're all about quality over quantity, then stop here. No bookings required for small groups.

Bekkers Wine tasting room

Bekkers Wine tasting room

Coriole Winery (restaurant & cellar door)

The Coriole vineyards are stunning.  On a sunny day you will find this winery bustling with families and groups of friends. The cellar door is small but start here to sample their wines, before finding a table outside to enjoy a bottle and one of their famous platters.  You may be fighting for a table as this place is extremely popular on a good day, so get there early! You could also think about booking ahead if you want to stay for lunch. 

Visit their website here. 

d'Arenberg winery (restaurant & cellar door)

The restaurant here is called d'Arry's Verandah and is well known for their top quality degustation menu.  We haven't personally tried the restaurant yet, however stay tuned as we will be trying it out soon.  In saying that, everyone we know who have been lucky enough to try it out highly recommends it.  

The winery also offers some unique experiences, such as their winemaking class ($65pp - 90 minutes) where you can blend, label and take home your own bottle of wine.  Bookings are a must for the restaurant and for any of their experiences.

Visit their website here.

Ekhidna winery (restaurant & cellar door)

Ekhidna is perfect for a lazy day's lunch or to share a platter and wine in the sun.  Ekhidna has a wine tasting area and so feel free to enjoy some tastings before you settle in for a bottle (or two).  They also make their own craft beer and if this is more your thing, then we definitely recommend purchasing a beer flight (see photo below) to taste their different varieties. The food is wonderful and the staff are extremely friendly.  Try to get a table outside (there are only 4 or 5 so you need to get in quick!) as they are located literally right next to the vineyard - absolutely gorgeous.

Visit their website here.

ekhidna winery in Early September

ekhidna winery in Early February

Star of Greece (restaurant)

Star of Greece is located in Port Willunga (15 minute drive from McLaren Vale).  Don't be fooled by the name - it is not a Greek restaurant; it offers a modern Australian menu sourcing the freshest produce from the area as well as other parts of South Australia.  Extremely delicious food, spectacular views, and an intimate setting; just make sure you book ahead as the restaurant is quite small and very well known!

Absolutely stunning at sunset!

Visit their website here.

star of greece - view from restaurant

star of greece - view from restaurant

Wine tasting in McLaren Vale

The wineries we have mentioned above are just a few that we recommend, however, be aware that there are so many wineries to choose from in and around McLaren Vale that are just as good.  You could honestly just drive around and visit whichever wineries you come across.  

Unfortunately, there is not a local taxi service in McLaren Vale so if you are considering having a long, boozy lunch or want to enjoy wine tasting without the worry of driving under the influence, call up Chook's taxi alternative and let them worry about the driving.  

Want more information on Chook's taxi alternative, click here.  They also run little winery tours so if you'd rather be taken around to the best of the best of McLaren Vale without having to organise much yourself, this may be an alternative.  Visit Chook's website here.

Where to stay?

You absolutely must stay at the Corinium Roman Villas in Inman Valley - ok, yes, it's about a 45 minute drive to and from McLaren Vale (further away from Adelaide) but we promise you that it is well worth it!  We take a weekend trip to McLaren Vale at least once a year and have tried a few different places to stay, however, we just seem to keep coming back to CR villas because it ticks all the right boxes.  

Make sure you book the 'Romance package' as the room offers a private patio with barbecue, an indoor fireplace, four-poster bed, and let's not forget the spa!  You feel a million miles away from everything here and the owners are delightful and there to help if you need it, otherwise they just let you be so that you can unwind and relax in utter privacy.

Click here to see if there is any availability.

Corinium Roman villas - view from our private verandah

Corinium Roman villas - view from our private verandah