Home » » Regional Overview»McLaren Vale – Sea and Vines

McLaren Vale – Sea and Vines

Variety is what gives the McLaren Vale region its strength. As McLaren Vale merges with the Adelaide Hills and the Mount Lofty Ranges, so the climate changes. The area is also influenced by the nearby warm waters of the Gulf St Vincent. Winter dominant rainfall (averaging 580-700mm annually), hot summers and moderate winters, low relative humidity and relatively high evaporation combine with cooling sea breezes in the warmer months to provide grapes with a slow, even ripening period. Wines produced in the region are ripe, flavoursome and balanced.


The terrain is equally varied – ranging from sandy to red brown earth, terra rosa and dark cracking soils. Each soil type produces distinct wines with characters unique to each sub-region. A particular advantage to vines are weak soils which hold very little water and allow accurate control of moisture to the vines via drip irrigation. The vines are forced to struggle, limiting canopy development and producing complex, concentrated fruit.

Grape Varieties

Grapes from McLaren Vale are renowned for 5 main attributes: ripeness, elegance, structure, power and complexity.
Mostly known for its ripe, powerful and generously flavoured wines, McLaren Vale produces densely coloured, velvety Shiraz; full bodied, rich, chocolate and berry flavoured Cabernet Sauvignon; and rich, juicy Grenache and Merlot from its established plantings.
More recently red varieties such as Petit Verdot, Tempranillo and Zinfandel have been planted with resounding success.
Whites are dominated by wonderfully varied Chardonnay – ranging from elegant citrus-tinged wines though to richer, fleshier, peach/buttery versions. This region is also renown for growing varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Chenin Blanc which show great variation in characters. Once again much experimentation with other varieties such as Viognier, Marsanne and Verdelho have brought new interest to the region.
Ever since the humble beginnings of the first colonists McLaren Vale has progressively increased its vineyard plantings to its current statistics of 6,750Hectares. McLaren Vale boasts over 100 independent wineries and more than 76 cellar doors.