Mc Laren Vale Wineries

Mc Laren Vale Wineries

Mc Laren Vale Wineries – 5 Top Winery Tour Options

When planning an Adelaide winery tour to one of our well renowned regions, it can be overwhelming with so many wineries to choose from. To level the field we have reviewed some of our top tour options for Mc Laren Vale Wineries.

Some winery tour operators opt for set itineraries, stopping at their favourite spots, convenient for some but not so for others.  At Shiraz & Co Tours we prefer to offer guests the freedom to have their food and wine passions and preferences considered, discussing options and negotiating the pace and type of venues visited.

Points of Interest

A diversity and uniqueness of venues which provides such a smorgasbord, each and every one focusing on individual strengths. These are influenced by factors such as size, heritage, quality, location, character, range, environment, diversity and others.

Visitors could take the easy option– short listing Halliday rated 5* facilities. Doing so may risk excluding some other gems with intimate and unique producers easily overlooked. Our recommendation would be to prepare an itinerary which has a balance of venues, so that all items on the wish list are covered.

Here is just a small sample of winery destinations in the Mc Laren Vale Wine Region that highlight the diversity on offer for a winery tour. But just enough to tempt you to come and explore them all.

1. Mc Laren Vale Wineries – Samuel’s Gorge Wines

Mc Laren Vale Wineries - Samuel's Gorge Wines

Samuel’s Gorge Cellar Door

Great Location

Mc Laren Vale is a stunning region, geographically and climatically blessed. Wedged between hills and sea on a diversity of soils, it has something to offer every palate and passion.
A unique venue with breath-taking location overlooking the picturesque Onkaparinga River National Park in the Vale’s “Sea-view” sub-region is Samuel’s Gorge Winery.

The Samuel’s Gorge cellar door is housed in a rustic farm shed built in 1853 and the facility is as authentic and hands-on as you would expect. It perfectly complements the dramatic landscape surrounding the winery.
The wines are hand crafted focusing on the old world, just like the surroundings they have a traditional, rustic and earthy quality.

Hands on Philosophy

The winery is in the courtyard, using open slate fermenters, oak barrels and basket press. You could easily mistake it for an official heritage museum of wine-making, a clear focus on traditional methods is evident.

The wine brand’s image, a mosaic reflecting its unique Gorge location, perfectly sums up the philosophy of the team behind the business and highlights its unique sense of place.

For more information on this great destination click here.

2. Mc Laren Vale Wineries – Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards

Great Service

Quality of service is one of those intangibles that contributes greatly towards the overall rating of the cellar door customer experience. Although there seems to be a generic model that serves most venues well, there are some which make a more enduring impression.

Cellar doors range from mass tourism affairs with almost supermarket like efficiency and processes to small, personal encounters where the focus is more on sharing a passion of a craft.

At Oliver’s Taranga the long family heritage shines through at the cellar door. The nature of the cellar door leaves you feeling like you have been invited to share in a glass of wine with friends and family. The small tasting rooms and nooks, the bar where you can sit and sip to you hearts content, all make for a very personal and intimate experience.

 Regional Knowledge

No excessive sales pitch given here, the wines are left to sell themselves, and this they do. Instead the banter typically revolves around flavour, aroma, personalities, preferences, perceptions and maybe the weather. Those that are interested to broaden their wine or regional knowledge are catered for, the staff are rich in local knowledge and love their wine too.

It is rewarding to hear tour guests recount their day exploring the region, reflecting on the personal encounters as much as on the special bottle or 2 of wine that they have collected during the day.
No wonder that Oliver’s Taranga was awarded 2012 Cellar Door of the Year by McLaren Vale Grape, Wine, & Tourism.

Follow this link to learn about the winery and their wines.

3. Mc Laren Vale Wineries – Bekkers Wines

Precision Approach

Wineries range from small rustic affairs in sheds and back yards to mass production facilities of concrete and stainless steel spread over acres. The experiences are as varied as the labels and brands they produce.
Cellar doors are likewise varied, yet some strive to offer an experience which is more individual and exclusive than others.

Bekkers Wine’s Tasting Room offers a such a unique and personal experience. The private cellar door sits in a dominant location overlooking the Vale, an architectural statement of modern design, small, intimate and maybe even with a sense of indulgence.

Refined Wines

The philosophy which underpins the wine-making is reflected in the cellar door; cohesiveness, finesse, texture and precision are clear. These values are echoed in the ambience, service and wines of course.

The fact that their small volume production fine textured and refined wines are only available at select restaurants, merchants or by allocation reflects the exclusive nature of this cellar door and the product.

The knowledge that viticulturist and winemaker couple Toby and Emanuelle Bekker regard both their talents and the McLaren Vale region equally capable of producing world class wines, equal to those held so much in high regard from the old world, is reassuring.

Read about the Bekkers’ story and their philosophy by visiting their website.

4. Mc Laren Vale Wineries– D’Arenberg Wines

Great Range

There are several larger producers in the region, but for sheer numbers and prominence, DÁrenberg’s range and portfolio has arguably got all the bases covered.

If you are into quantity, then their cellar door provides some of the most comprehensive selection around. 60 wines made from 25 varieties over 11 different ranges; best to book an extended stay if you plan to taste your way through these.

The stable includes Icons, Artisans, High Altitude Hillbillies from the Adelaide, the Originals from the good old days (well known staples), The Outsiders, The Socialites, Nobles, Ancients, Supers, Stump Jumps and Limited Releases.
Although most are available at local liquor stores, restaurants and wine merchants, seeing them in their natural habitat is a unique experience. The cellar door is being upgraded so the experience will soon be taken to a whole new level. Like the philosophy applied to their wines, the project reflects the same level of enthusiasm, a challenge and ode to the complexity of the wine making process.

Awards and Accolades

Over 70 awards and accolades since 1990 have recognised what was already a long traditional family history and fine track record in wine making. Since 1912 the winery has been a pioneer, and the development of the innovative and stunning $13m 5 storey “Cube” cellar door, bar, restaurant etc. will continue this tradition.

For more on this great destination follow this link. 

5. Mc Laren Vale Wineries – Kay Brothers Wines

Mc Laren Wineries - Kay Brothers Wines

Kays Brothers Winery

Great Tradition

With a humble beginning in 1890, the Amery vineyard and undertaking that became the Kay Brothers brand has stuck to its knitting. Committed to Tradition, they have passed on deeply held beliefs from one generation to the next. This is epitomised by the history recorded by the owners of Kay Brothers Wines.

Kay Brothers have resisted the impulse to cater to the whims of changing fashion and focused on producing exquisite dry red and fortified wines. They have maintained a vision to defend the values of their founders to produce wines of classic quality in a sustainable way for 3 generations.

Focus on Sustainability

The winery has also had an enduring focus on sustainability throughout its long history. Not only by way of water and energy efficiency, but also lending continued support to the local community and the wine and grape industry.

Recent support for the arts by hosting chamber music events is continuing to foster this connection.

Kay Brothers Wines present amazing value and provide extended cellar potential, as they have always done. The wines are characterful and uncomplicated, a pleasure to drink now or put aside for a decade or more. It is reassuring to see such a continued dedication to tradition in such a competitive industry.

Read more about Kay Brothers Wines here.

Maybe these great venues appeal and you wish to build them into a full day food and wine experience. Please contact Armin on 0411752062 or complete the Booking Form.

We can’t wait to share them with you on your own personalised day in “the Vales”.

St Hugo Cellar Door Wine Tasting

Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations – Part 2

Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations

Hand Crafting Cheese and the Barossa’s latest bespoke Wine Tasting Experience

This is Part 2 of our summary of  Top Food and Wine Tour Destinations  near-to-Adelaide and a few more of our recommended places to visit while on a full day tour with Shiraz and Co Tours. Read Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations part 1 here.

We have a list of suggested themed tour itineraries showcased here, or if you have a particular interest we are happy to coordinate a custom collection of attractions and activities for you. Simply give us a call and let us know what is on your wish list.

Tours can be food or wine focused, or a combination of both, and with a great number of new providers now available we can incorporate ciders, beers, gin, honey, cheese, chocolate and more, all with great sightseeing along the way.

4. Culturing an appreciation for Cheese – Culinary Art Productions

Top Food and Wine Tour Destinations – The Art of Cheese Making

Pairing Wine with Cheese is a very traditional combination, one product enhancing the taste and enjoyment of the other. Wine and cheese matching has become an art also and we have a top food and wine tour destinations which focus on what goes with what, but here its all about making cheese.

Although there are several Cheese Wrights in Adelaide’s surrounding wine regions, the experience that gets some serious praise is the artisan cheese making class run by Culinary Art Productions at their farm and vineyard in the McLaren Vale wine region.

Milk straight from the Farm

Cheese making class tour

Milking Hettie the Goat

Here Lulu and Grace, cheese maker and affineur, direct small half day master classes in the art of cheese making. This is a true hands-on experience. It starts with the introduction to Hettie and her friends, goats to be exact, and ends with a long table lunch enjoying the estate grown wines and fresh hand-made cheeses.

After meeting and feeding the goats it’s time for milking. Everyone gets a turn and there is a real sense of achievement once you start to get the milk into the pail. Then it’s into the kitchen to make some fresh cheese with the still warm milk.

Quality control and hygiene are priorities so there are aprons and lots of washing and sterilising. Then the fun begins.

The language of Cheese making

Lulu and Grace get you familiar with terms such as lactic curd, fromage blanc, mould, bacteria, rennet, brine, lipase and culture. Then after a morning coffee break it’s on-wards with Haloumi, Fetta, Ricotta and White Mould.
Fermenting and curdling milk has never been so rewarding. The objective is to turn a fresh perishable product into cheeses which have a shelf life. No wonder wine and cheese have so much affinity for each other, they share a focus on process to build complex yet balanced flavour and aroma.

Hands on Cheese Making Class

Cheese Making Class

Grace also explains the art of ageing cheese, like cellaring wine, the art of the Affineur. The class is then treated to an international smorgasbord of soft and hard imported cheeses to put perspective on the difference age, storage, treatment and terroir have. Notable cheeses from the UK, France and Italy are discussed and their unique characteristics explored and contrast against what cheese makers are producing locally. Grace and Lulu highlight a list of go-to local artisan producers for those that want to get the scoop on exciting new cheeses on offer.

Long Table Lunch

Boutique Cheese Making Class

Long Table Cheese Lunch

The food is local produce based and made with love, mostly fresh from the garden. The class then get to share the cheeses made in the morning, some cooked some served fresh, all in a way to highlight their versatility. These are served with Estate grown wines chosen to complement the cheeses perfectly.

Simply delicious and even better as you get to take all the cheese you made home, including a recipe sheet and instructions so that you can continue your journey at home.

These classes have very limited numbers and are very exclusive, so bookings are again essential. This is a great way to see the Vales, learn a new cooking skill and taste some brilliant estate grown wines.

5. Bespoke Wine Tasting Experience – St Hugo Cellar Door

Top Food and Wine Tour Destinations – Premium Cellar Door Experiences

St Hugo Cellar Door Wine Tasting

St Hugo Cellar Door

The Barossa Valley has undoubtedly built a loyal following and serious brand credibility amongst the wine loving community. Serious integrity and history underpins the region, especially when it comes to premium red wines. It is a great destination with its large number of long established wine labels and cellar doors.

The Barossa Valley  has a number of notable premium cellar doors offering luxury tasting experiences. There are several on our itinerary list offering private hosted tastings.  Some offer tastings in exclusive tasting rooms away from the weekend crowds where you can connect with the premium, museum and reserve products in an intimate atmosphere.

State of the Art Cellar Door and Restaurant

Luxury Wine Tour Cellar Door

St Hugo Cellar Door, Rowland Flat

It is always exciting when someone adds another notable venue to the mix.

A recently re-opened historic cellar door, St Hugo at Rowland Flat has transformed an iconic local landmark site into a state of the art wine appreciation facility complete with tasting room and fine dining degustation restaurant.

This amazing venue offers a personalised approach to experiencing the premium St Hugo range of wines. The location speaks for itself. The creek, buildings and the view have heritage significance in the Valley, with the vine covered walled courtyard an amazing feature.

Exclusive tasting and dining experiences

Here you will be able to indulge in a menu of bespoke wine flights, private tastings in the Hugo Grant Bottle Room, Chef’s table lunches including a tour through the vineyard, inspecting the cork trees and kitchen garden, participate in a private tutored tasting in the cellar and chatting with the chef’s as they prepare your gourmet meal.

The renovation of the cellar door is in itself a work of art, the interior design focus being on finishes synonymous with the character of the region, highlighting the natural beauty of local stone and timber. Large picture glass windows bring the vineyard into the tasting room and add to the exclusivity of the tasting experience.

These exclusive tastings are by appointment and spaces are naturally limited. We recommend allowing a good half day to make the most of this location and to fully appreciate what this iconic brand is all about.

We look forward to sharing some of these top food and wine tour destinations and to spoiling you on your next visit or upcoming special occasion. We offer Gift Vouchers valid for any of our tours.

To make a booking simply:

  • Call Armin on 0411752062
  • Email tours@shirazandco.com.au
  • or use the website Booking Form