If you enjoy wine tasting, good food and luxurious accommodation for a reasonable price, McLaren Vale is the perfect weekend away for you.
How to get there
From Adelaide, McLaren Vale is only a short 50 minute drive south. If it is nice weather, you can take the scenic drive along the coast and see some beaches on the way. We took a short 1 hour flight from Melbourne and hired a car.
Where to stay
We stayed in a beautiful place called Rendzina Cottage just outside McLaren Vale. It is a private self contained cottage with a clean and cosy living room, bathroom and kitchen. The view is spectacular and there is a large outdoor decking with a hot tub looking out onto vineyards. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a relaxing stay.
What to do
Wine tasting of course! There are over 70 cellar doors in McLaren Vale that you can visit. There are a few different ways to explore the area depending on your preferences.
Walk/ride the Shiraz Trail
There is a shared walking/bike path that runs through McLaren Vale past several wineries. You can pick a point on the path where there are wineries you want to visit and simply walk between them. If you would prefer to cycle, you can rent bikes from Oxygen Cycles in McLaren Vale. Either way, this is a very fun way to spend an afternoon and you don’t have to worry about driving. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a relaxed day.
Oxenberry Farm Wines
We started at Oxenberry Farm Wines for lunch. There was a great variety of wines and cider on tasting, all of which were delicious. The cellar door prices were very reasonable (there quite a few bottles around $15) so we bought a couple of bottles to enjoy later. Their sparkling red was AMAZING.
After the tastings we enjoyed lunch outside. The restaurant was pretty casual and we didn’t need a booking. There was a nice view of the vineyards and it backed onto the Shiraz Trail. The food was really great and reasonably priced. Their wines by the glass were also cheap so we ordered some that we enjoyed at the tastings (but couldn’t afford to buy bottles of!).
From there, we headed south down the Shiraz Trail for about 500m until we reached Serafino Wines. This was a stunning winery with beautiful grounds. We could see a wedding being setup for that afternoon and it looked spectacular. The cellar door was huge and we were surrounded by all of the wine barrels on display. The staff were very informative and friendly and their tastings were great. Their wines were reasonably priced and they had quite a few on sale for $10. They also had some other produce and we bought some delicious locally made chocolate.
From here, we got back on the Shiraz Trail and walked south about 1km to Primo Estate. It was a beautiful walk past many vineyards.
The cellar door was very modern and there was a spectacular view of the vineyards outside. There were plenty of wines on tasting and they were all great. They also make olive oil which was for sale at the cellar door. We ordered a few glasses of wine and relaxed in their gardens. We were given complementary bread and olive oil which was delicious!
As we were staying out of town we needed a transfer to and from our accommodation. The locals told us that there weren’t many (or any) taxis or Uber around, so we used Chook’s Little Winery Tours. We arranged a return transfer from our accommodation to and from the wineries for $25 per transfer. This was great as we didn’t have to worry about driving and just had to let them know which winery we wanted to be dropped off at and picked up from.
Take a winery tour
If you prefer someone else to organise your wine tasting for you, you can take one of the many wine tours in McLaren Vale. Most of the companies leave from Adelaide, but there are some local tours that will pick you up from the center of McLaren Vale.
This was a fantastic weekend and I generally felt like the wineries we visited were cheaper and less busy than other regions we have visited. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys wine and relaxing!