Must-visit McLaren Vale cellar doors

By Halliday Promotion

McLaren Vale's 80-plus wineries can be daunting for the uninitiated. To streamline your options and kick off your planning, we’ve pinpointed six unmissable cellar doors.

    Historic, picturesque and sustainably minded – McLaren Vale is a colourful mix of the classic and the innovative. Home to some of the country's oldest vines, alongside an ever-expanding population of alternate varietals, the region offers a diverse portfolio of wines. Dotted along coast-adjacent roads are world-class cellar doors with an increasing devotion to sustainable vineyard practices. Find passionate winemakers and friendly staff ready to take you through intimate tastings paired with gourmet local produce. 

    With more than 80 wineries in the region alone, planning a trip to McLaren Vale can be a little overwhelming. If you're looking for a place to start, we've pin-pointed six standout cellar doors with a wine experiences aplenty. Whether you're there to learn, taste, relax or graze, the following are must-visit wine destinations. 

  • Blewitt Springs Wine Co

  • Blewitt Springs Wine Co is a family owned, small-batch winery located in the most northern subregion of McLaren Vale. The winery’s rustic cellar door is housed in repurposed timber and iron from the old stables on the property, originally built in the 1930s by returned World War I soldiers. These days, the property is run on organic principles, with vines grown in sand over clay and outcrops of iron stone with a geology of over 50 million years.

    Thanks to high elevation, rainfall and cool nights, Blewitt Springs produces wines with intense flavour profiles that are unique to this McLaren Vale subregion. Open by appointment only, the cellar door offers intimate, winemaker-lead tastings showcasing a large portfolio of wines – including the popular Shiraz and Grenache styles – for a small fee redeemable on purchase. Blewitt Springs Wine Co also offers onsite accommodation to entice visitors to stay a while and explore more of what the region has to offer.

    Winemaker Phil Tabor says: "Our terroir produces exceptional fruit with dark colours and intense flavours. Blewitt Springs has traditionally been under the radar but is now coming of age – our Shiraz and Grenache are both stand outs and we have recently planted a hectare of organic bush vine grenache which we are excited to harvest for rosé and still wine".

    477 Blewitt Springs Rd, Blewitt Springs | Find out more.

  • Beresford Estate

  • The vineyards of Beresford Estate were first planted back in the 1960s. In 2016, the brand opened a luxury Tasting Pavilion situated at the edge the 70-acre estate vineyard in McLaren Flat, affording visitors panoramic views of the stunning surrounding regional landscape. The building exemplifies contemporary architectural design, with the ultra-modern and minimalistic aesthetic featuring expansive glass, timber screens and natural stone.

    The award-winning cellar door is just five minutes from the McLaren Vale town centre and offers guests a range of tasting experiences – including a premium wine flight featuring six wines all individually paired to regional tasting plates. Beer and gin tasting flights are also available, or simply sit back and enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate and take in the enviable views out on the deck in the warmer months, or in front of the suspended fireplace in winter.

    Winemakers Chris Dix and Chad Fenton-Smith say: "Our vineyard is a true representation of McLaren Vale’s most successful wine-grape varieties – 50-year-old gnarly old bush vine grenache, balanced shiraz and cabernet sauvignon and leading clones of chardonnay. These wines have a sense of vitality reflecting the nuances of the vineyard & vintage which make them truly unique".

    252 Blewitt Springs Road, McLaren Flat | Find out more.

  • Yangarra

  • Immerse yourself in McLaren Vale viticulture with a visit to the intimate Yangarra Cellar Door. Set among the idyllic winery estate, the venue has a comfortable and relaxed air where welcoming and knowledgeable staff will host you for a range of informative tasting experiences of their single estate grown wines.

    Yangarra’s combination of rare geologies, moderate altitude, abundant sunshine and cool evening breezes make it perfect for growing southern Rhône varieties that thrive in the moderate maritime Mediterranean environments. Enjoy the stunning preserved native vegetation and wildlife which enhances the winery’s symbiotic relationship between the vines and their natural environment.

    Winemaker Peter Fraser says: "We are very proud to showcase our certified biodynamic single estate wines, that show a genuine sense of place. While our vineyards delivers great concentration of flavour, we focus on crafting wines of purity and finesse, with an underlying balance that makes these wines so enjoyable now as well as rewarding for years to come”.

    809 McLaren Flat Rd, Kangarilla | Find out more.

  • Paxton Wines

  • Both charm and character defines the Paxton winery location, with historic stone buildings dotted around the site. Surrounded by luscious, landscaped lawns, rolling hills and vineyards, the cellar door is housed in the original 1850s shearing shed. Situated at the gateway to McLaren Vale, the winery offers incredible views of the vineyards and surrounds – take them in as you relax and unwind with a glass of Paxton wine.

    Estate grown, organic and biodynamic, the winery’s range of premium wines showcase the region’s fruit quality, natural diversity and varietal expression. With an extensive list of wines, the friendly staff will tailor your tasting experience to share their knowledge of McLaren Vale’s distinctive terroir and climate, while you enjoy a build-your-own gourmet platter of a selection of local cheeses, almonds, antipasto meats and olives.

    Winemaker Ashleigh Seymour says: "The Paxton Mediterranean range is very exciting to us. This includes our Tempranillo, Graciano and Grenache, which are all unique and exciting wine styles that all feature freshness, vibrancy, bursting fruit, lighter to medium bodied with very subtle oak integration wines. The 2021 vintage has been really exceptional".

    68 Wheaton Rd, McLaren Vale | Find out more.

  • Hither & Yon

  • As the first carbon neutral certified winery in South Australia, Hither & Yon aim to emulate the care and creativity of its family owned and operated vineyards in McLaren Vale – sustainably grown and artisan made. The cellar door is located in the village of Willunga and is an intimate space with a vintage vibe, styled and curated to reflect a down-to-earth but designer nature.

    Sit down guided tastings of the diverse range of Hither & Yon varieties are available. Sample different wines alongside other local craft beverages, lovely seasonal food from de Rose Kitchen next door as you relax inside the lounge or sunny courtyard – or hire cruiser bikes to explore the shiraz trail on the Hither & Yon ride, discovering the beautiful hidden pockets of the Vale.

    Co-owner Malcolm Leask says: "I have been loving our 2021 ‘light’ wines, the petit blanc and aglianico rosé – both made crisp and dry from early harvest fruit, they are singing out with seaspray fruity freshness. We are also excited for this year’s release of pinot noir from our cool Kangarilla site, and our first ever montepulciano".

    17 High St, Willunga | Find out more.

  • Angove Family Winemakers

  • Angove Family Winemakers are a 135 years’ young winery. The Angove McLaren Vale Cellar Door is nestled in the heart of the family’s historic, organic and biodynamic Warboys Vineyard, home to some of the oldest Shiraz and Grenache vines in McLaren Vale and boasting an enviable view across the vineyard to the coast just 6 kilometres away through the delightful floor to ceiling windows.

    Visitors to the Angove cellar door can expect impeccable service paired with stunning views and wines that represent the true essence of McLaren Vale. There are a range of wine tasting options to suit all levels of knowledge – from the aspiring wine connoisseur, to those looking for a relaxed environment to enjoy some wine with friends and family. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the Angove Indian Runner ducks as they begin their work removing snails from the vineyard, part of the wineries approach to Organic and Biodynamic certification.

    Winemaker Tony Ingle says: "Through summer we really enjoyed our Wild Olive Organic Fiano, which matches perfectly with freshly caught local squid or King George whiting. As the weather turns cooler our Angove McLaren Vale Family Crest Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre is medium-bodied and bursting with layers of bright red berry fruits and seductive tannins".

    117 Chalk Hill Rd, McLaren Vale | Find out more.

    Discover more about McLaren Vale in our essential guide.

    *This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with the featured wineries.

    Top image credit: Wine Australia