McLaren Vale Wine Region in South Australia

The McLaren Vale Wine Region is blessed with a wonderful climate for viticulture. It is located just south of Adelaide in South Australia. It is part of the Fleurieu Zone along with the Currency Creek, Langhorne Creek, Kangaroo Island and Southern Fleurieu wine regions.

Situated on rolling plains between the Mount Lofty Ranges and the sea, the area is warm enough to ripen almost all varieties, but the maritime influence tempers the worst of the summer heat. No wonder there are about a hundred wineries operating in the region, and most are producing excellent wine.

Unfortunately the McLaren Vale Wine Region is being encroached on by suburban development from nearby Adelaide.

McLaren Vale is now regarded mainly as a red table wine area, but has made very good Riesling and other white wines in the past. Marketing difficulties, rather than wine quality have meant that Riesling and other white wines are no longer grown as commonly in the region.

McLaren Vale is the Grenache stronghold of Australia. Quite a few of the older plantings of this fine variety survived the vine pull schemes of the 1980s and are now regarded as living treasures.

An interesting project taken up by a number of winemakers in the region is the production of Cadenzia wines. These are blends which must contain Grenache as the major variety. Shiraz and Mourvedre are the most common blending partners, but Cinsaut, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo are also used. The word cadenzia was inspired by the musical term cadenza, defined as 'an elaborate, ornamental melodic flourish interpolated into an aria or other vocal piece'.

While GSM blends of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre are becoming the signature wine of the region, other varieties of note are emerging including the Rhone white varieties Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier, the Italian whites Fiano and Vermentino. Petit verdot was pioneered in Australia by Pirramimma in this region, and the Italian red wine varieties Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbera are increasingly appearing in red wines.

Wineries with alternative varieties in McLaren Vale

Aldinga Bay Barbera, Petit verdot, Nebbiolo, Ruby Cabernet, Sangiovese, Verdelho, Vermentino, Viognier |
This page recently updated to include new wineries listed in
James Halliday's Wine Companion 2014
Alpha Box and Dice Barbera, Dolcetto, Muscadelle, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Tinta Negra Mole, Tempranillo | Amicus Malbec | Arakoon Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier | Battle of Bosworth Wines Viognier | Beechtree Wines Arneis, Marsanne, Petit verdot | Bent Creek Vineyards Grenache, Moscato, Rossola nera | Blackbilly Grenache, Mourvedre, Pinot gris, Tempranillo | Blown Away Grenache, Kerner | Bottin Wines Barbera, Sangiovese, Vermentino | Brash Higgins Grenache, Mourvedre, Nero d'Avola | Brini Estate Grenache | Byrne and Smith Cabernet franc, Tempranillo | Cape Barren Wines Grenache, Mourvedre | Cascabel Carignan, Cinsaut, Graciano, Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Tempranillo, Viognier | Chalk Hill Winery Barbera, Cabernet franc, Moscato, Sangiovese, Vermentino | Chapel Hill Mourvedre, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Savagnin, Tempranillo, Verdelho | Charlatan Wines Sangiovese | Clarence Hill Grenache | Clarendon Hills Grenache | Classic McLaren Wines Grenache | Coates Wines Sangiovese, Touriga, Viognier | Conte Estate Wines Gewurztraminer, Grenache, Viognier | Contessa Estate Gewurztraminer, Grenache | Coriole Barbera, Chenin blanc, Fiano, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Nero d'Avola, Prosecco, Sangiovese, Sagrantino | Cradle of Hills Cinsaut, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier | D'Arenberg Chambourcin, Cinsaut, Grenache, Marsanne, Mourvedre, Petit verdot, Roussanne, Sagrantino, Sousao, Tempranillo, Tinto Cao, Viognier | De Lisio Wines Grenache, Pinot gris | Di Fabio Estate Grenache, Mourvedre, Petit verdot | Doc Adams Pinot gris | DogRidge Grenache, Petit verdot, Viognier | Dowie Doole Chenin blanc, Graciano, Petit verdot, Tempranillo, Vermentino, Viognier | Ducks in a Row Fiano, Graciano, Mourvedre, Nero d'Avola, Tempranillo, Vermentino | Dyson Wines Viognier | Echelon Grenache, Mourvedre, Pinot Gris, Tempranillo | Edwards and Chaffey Sangiovese, Tempranillo | Five Geese Hillgrove Wines Grenache | Foggo Wines Cinsaut, Grenache, Viognier | Fonthill Wine Grenache, Verdelho | Fox Creek Wines Grenache, Verdelho, Vermentino | G Pattriti & Co Arneis, Barbera, Mourvedre, Moscato, Savagnin, Saperavi, Trincadeira | Galvanized Wine Group Montepulciano, Pinot gris, Roussanne, Tempranillo, Viognier | Geddes Wines Grenache, Petit verdot, Viognier | Gemtree Vineyards Grenache, Petit verdot, Sangiovese, Savagnin, Tempranillo, Viognier | Geoff Merrill Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier | Gilligan Grenache, Marsanne, Mourvedre, Roussanne | Grancari Estate Grenache | Halifax Vermentino | Hand Crafted by Geoff Hardy Aglianico, Fiano, Graciano, Lagrein, Roussanne, Savagnin, Tannat, Tempranillo, Teroldego, Verdelho, Viognier, Zinfandel | Haselgrove Grenache, Pinot gris, Viognier | Hastwell and Lightfoot Cabernet franc, Tempranillo, Vermentino, Viognier | Hawkers Gate Grenache, Saperavi | Head in the Clouds Grenache, Mourvedre, Pinot Gris, Zinfandel | Hedonist Wines Tempranillo | Hills View Verdelho, Malbec | Hither and Yon Aglianico, Nero d'Avola, Tannat, Tempranillo | Hugh Hamilton Petit verdot, Sangiovese, Saperavi, Tempranillo, Verdelho, Viognier | Inkwell Viognier, Zinfandel | Jauma Chenin Blanc, Grenache | Kangarilla Road Fiano, Grenache, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Savagnin, Tinta Negra Mole, Vermentino, Viognier, Zinfandel | Kay Bros Amery Grenache, Mourvedre, Nero d'Avola, Viognier | Kimber Wines Petit verdot | Koltz Grenache, Mourvedre, Sangiovese, Viognier | La Curio Grenache, Sangiovese, Zinfandel | Linda Domas Wines Grenache, Viognier | Loom Wine Montepulciano, Nero d'Avola, Savagnin, Tempranillo | Maglieri Barbera, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese | Marienberg Grenache, Mourvedre | Marius Wines Mourvedre | Massey Wines Grenache, Mourvedre | Maximus Wines Grenache, Pinot gris, Tempranillo, Viognier | Maxwell Wines Grenache, Verdelho, Viognier | McLaren Ridge Estate Grenache | McLaren Wines Grenache, Pinot gris | Middlebrook Estate Barbera, Chenin blanc, Grenache, Vermentino | Minnow Creek Malbec, Sangiovese | Mitolo Sangiovese, Vermentino | Morgan Simpson Wines Mourvedre | Mr Riggs Wine Company Montepulciano, Petit verdot, Tempranillo, Viognier | Nashwauk Tempranillo | Noon Winery Grenache | Oliverhill Grenache | Olivers Taranga Fiano, Grenache, Mencia, Sagrantino, Tempranillo, Vermentino, Viognier | Oxenbury Estate Grenache, Tempranillo | Paxton Graciano, Grenache, Marsanne, Pinot gris, Tempranillo | Pende Valde Grenache | Penny's Hill Grenache, Marsanne, Roussanne, Verdelho, Viognier | Pertaringa Aglianico, Graciano, Grenache, Nero d'Avola, Petit verdot, Tannat, Tempranillo, Verdelho | Pirramimma Grenache, Petit verdot, Tannat, Tempranillo, Viognier | Possums Vineyard Grenache, Malbec, Pinot gris, Viognier | Primo Estate Barbera, Colombard, Nebbiolo, Pinot gris, Sangiovese | Redheads Studio Grenache, Viognier | Richard Hamilton Wines Grenache, Roussanne, Viognier | Rosemount Fiano, Graciano, Grenache, Mourvedre, Nero d'Avola | Rudderless Wines Graciano, Grenache, Malbec, Mourvedre, Viognier | Rusty Mutt Viognier | Samuels Gorge Gewurztraminer, Graciano, Grenache, Tempranillo | SC Pannell Grenache, Nebbiolo, Pinot gris, Tempranillo, Touriga | Scarpantoni Estate Chenin blanc, Gamay, Grenache | Seaview Barbera, Fiano, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Vermentino | Serafino Wines Barbera, Fiano, Grenache, Lagrein, Mourvedre, Nebbiolo, Pinot gris, Tempranillo, Vermentino, Zinfandel | Settlement Wines Arneis, Cabernet franc, Palomino, Pedro Ximenez, Pinot gris, Savagnin, Tinta Negra Mole, Verdelho | Shingleback Grenache, Viognier | Simon Hackett Grenache | Tapestry Grenache, Verdelho, Viognier | Tatachilla Chenin blanc, Grenache, Malbec, Sangiovese, Viognier | The Hedonist Tempranillo | The Old Faithful Estate Grenache, Mourvedre | Three Dark Horses Grenache, Touriga | Tintara Grenache, Sangiovese, Tempranillo | Twelve Staves Wine Company Grenache | Vincognita Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Zinfandel | Vinrock Grenache | Walter Clappis Wine Co Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Viognier | Way Wood Wines Cabernet franc, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Pinot gris, Sangiovese, Tempranillo | Willunga 100 Wines Grenache, Pinot gris, Tempranillo, Viognier | Wirilda Creek Verdelho | Wirra Wirra Arneis, Grenache, Moscato, Mourvedre, Petit verdot, Tempranillo, Viognier | Woodstock Barbera, Grenache, Malbec, Petit verdot, Tempranillo, Verdelho | Woop Woop Wines Marsanne, Roussanne, Verdelho, Viognier | Yangarra Estate Cinsaut, Carignan, Graciano, Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Tempranillo, Viognier |

Do you know of any wineries using alternative varieties we have missed? Use the comment box below to let us know.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Keep in touch with Vinodiversity

Just enter your details below and you will receive an occasional newsletter letting you know all about the alternative varietal wine scene in Australia and beyond.



Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Vinodiversity News.

The Magazine
of this Website

EST Wine Tours magazine
Now available!

Est Wine Tours for your iPhone and iPad

Visiting the McLaren Vale Region

The region has some large wine companies, but there are plenty of medium and boutique cellars to visit.

Day trips from Adelaide are quite feasible, but there are plenty of reasons to stay for a few days.

The region has an abundance of accommodation if you choose to stay. Vinodiversity's Accommodation Finder will help you find the best hotel deals in the region.

The list of wineries and the varieties they are using indicate that this region has plenty to offer those winelovers who want extend their enjoyment beyond the mainstream varieties. By all means enjoy some classic reds, but don't overlook the other riches that this superb region has to offer.

Now Available!

Cover of Vinodiversity book

Now available for delivery in Australia, and internationally

See details here

Hotel booking