Ahh, springtime. As the sun comes out and the flowers bloom, winemakers carefully start to monitor the budburst of grape vines, while wine drinkers begin to swap that hearty red for a deliciously dry Rosé. Where better to do it than on location?
A little while ago, we shared some wineries that are convenient to Adelaide and lovely in the winter time here – but this is our sunny, spring time take. This tour is going to take us to McLaren Vale, just 45 minutes south of Adelaide’s CBD, with five wineries all close enough to fit into one tour, if you’re clever!
Get ready for umbrellas on decks, sea breezes and juicy, juicy wine.
Feature image: S.C. Pannell Wines cellar door, via southaustralia.com
1. S.C. Pannell Wines
Recently crowned King of McLaren Vale for a record breaking fourth time, this winemaker knows what’s up, and is breaking down the old rules of what we ‘should’ be drinking – in his words, “I want to make wine that I want to drink” – and boy, does he have good taste. Think French style Rosé, funky Tempranillo, succulent Barbera and all of the good things McLaren Vale has to offer. Visiting this cellar door is truly a global tour, and always fun.
Book a table in warmer weather and enjoy lunch on their expansive deck under an umbrella in the sunshine, with one of the best views McLaren Vale has to offer.
Bookings recommended for lunch, but for tasting, for less than 8pax, feel free to walk on in!
Cellar door open everyday, 11-5 – call up to check what food will be available on your visit date.
2. Alpha Box & Dice
There are few wineries a small walking distance from each other in McLaren Vale, but turn left down the Pannell driveway, walk DOWNHILL (yasss) three hundred metres, and you’ll land yourself at Alpha Box + Dice.
These guys know how to have fun, both in their winemaking, and in the cellar door. Expect banter intermingled with rustic decor, order a cheese plate, sit back and enjoy – the people watching can be good here.
Friendly doggos very welcome.
Open weekdays, 11-5, weekends 10-5.
If you’re into big reds, this is the place for you. Funny name, gorgeous spot – this place is only a three minute drive from the last two, and has an absolutely gorgeous view looking back towards McLaren Vale from a totally different perspective.
The cellar door staff are here for a good time, and your $10 tasting fee includes a take-home, stemless Mollydooker wineglass – great value, considering you can taste around ten wines!
Stay for a little longer and enjoy a glass while the breeze blows through the palm trees. Favourite vinos include the Blue Eyed Boy Carnival of Love, and the Velvet Glove, and prepare yourself to be just as interested in the labels as the wines.
Open every day through the summer, 10-4:30pm.
4. Samuel’s Gorge
Leaving Olivers road and venturing down Chaffeys, discover a deeper, quieter part of McLaren Vale.
Welcome to Samuel’s Gorge.
The format of tasting here is less structured than the rest, and upon entering the 1853 farm shed they call home, you’ll quickly feel relaxed. With no bar, the team wander around pouring tastings, and encourage you to explore and make yourself at home, sitting or standing wherever you please. On any given day you might enjoy a taste from the GM, watch the winemaker at work, or meet any manner of wine dogs.
The team here stick to wine, but aren’t opposed to you calling ahead to see if you can bring your own peaceful picnic to enjoy on their lawns alongside a glass of their delicious Tempranillo.
Open everyday, 11-5.
5. Kay Brothers
Ahh, the old boys.
Finish the tour with a classic piece of McLaren Vale. The oldest family owned winery in the Vale still to this day uses its beautiful old basket press, which if you’re lucky, one of the accommodating cellar door staff might show you, along with the musty, charming and gorgeous barrel room. The wines here come from old, old vines, and the view is another one to knock your socks off – but this one might just be the one that takes the words from your mouth.
Open weekdays 9-5, weekends 11-5.
So get your gal pals together, pick one or two, or follow the route we’ve lovingly mapped out for you, and enjoy some of the best sun-drenched wineries in Australia conveniently 45 minutes from Adelaide.
Love South Australian wineries? See more of our top picks here.
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