Top cellar doors to visit in McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale - one of our premier regions when it comes to producing a pretty gosh darn delicious drop of wine, and stunningly beautiful with it. Should we mention the excellent food scene here too? Probably. But you’re not looking for our endorsement on the region; your curiosity has already brought you here, so you know it’s good. You want cellar door recommendations, you got it - here are our faves.
You might recognise the surname - Bec is the sixth generation of the winemaking Hardy family, and her great great grandfather Thomas Hardy planted some of the first South Australian vines way back in the 1850s. Tasting here is a choose your own adventure through history, with visitors free to choose between contemporary Pertaringa and Bec Hardy wines as part of the standard line-up, with additional museum and icon options available by the glass. Their on-site kitchen also offers two “feed-me” menus showcasing the best seasonal and local produce of the Fleurieu Peninsula, and is located in a rustic former winemaking shed. Pure Vale pedigree.
327 Hunt Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171. Open 7 days.
Owned and operated since 1964 by the Harvey family, Chalk Hill Wines only officially opened their cellar door in 2020, and it’s a real feast for the epicurious. Start by taking in the McLaren Vale terroir, running through a tasting of small-batch focused releases whilst casting your eye over the sweeping views of their organic vineyard. And once you’ve sampled the wines, you’ve got the option of following up with relaxed Italian street food courtesy of Cucina di Strada, or moving on to sample world-class gin from the Never Never Distilling Co. - both of whom are also located on the Chalk Hill Collective site. Our advice? Clear a couple of hours in your itinerary and enjoy a relaxed arvo taking in all there is to offer here.
56 Field Street, McLaren Vale SA 5171. Open 7 days.
I mean, where do we even start with d’Arenberg? Their self description as “more than a cellar door” is accurate but doesn’t even begin to unpack what’s so great about it - this was, after all, recently named one of the world’s top 20 vineyards. Their tasting room is at the top of the famous five story “Cube”, featuring sweeping views across McLaren Vale, the Willunga Hills, and the Gulf of St Vincent. Pre-booked tastings also come with admission to the exhibition space housed on the Cube’s other floors (and currently showcasing works by Salvador Dali, at the time of writing). There’s also the option to experience creating your own blend, or dine on a paired degustation menu - or head out to the sculpture garden. Definitely more than a cellar door - bookings highly recommended to avoid disappointment.
58 Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171, open 7 days.
Haselgrove’s cellar door, situated on the corner of their Ambassador block, is a must for any lover of award-winning reds (although don’t overlook their whites, either). Established in 1981, they’re rated by Halliday as a five “red-star” winery - meaning they’ve proven year after year that they’ve got the goods. With a range that showcases the region’s classic varieties, plus the more experimental and emerging ones too, book in for a tasting on the panoramic rooftop and soak in the environment as you’re taken through a flight. There’s also the option to soak it all up and stay for lunch, with a menu featuring hand-crafted pizzas, locally sourced grazing platters and cheese boards.
291 Foggo Road, McLaren Vale. Open 7 days.
The Hamiltons lay claim to being one of Australia’s oldest winemaking families, with first-generation Richard Hamilton planting his first vines over 185 years ago. Swing by their stunning cellar door (offering a panoramic view of their appropriately named “Cellar Vineyard'') to take in the wines, where there’s either the option to run through a flight of chief Mary Hamilton’s seasonal selections, or sip through their premium selection of McLaren Vale favourites (plus a few dark horses - saperavi, anyone?).
94 McMurtrie Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171. Open 7 days.
Italian-inspired hospitality is very much a feature of the Mitolo cellar door, and it’s no surprise given that the family trace their roots back to the Abruzzo region of Italy, famed for its Montepulciano. And you’ll find some of those old country classic varietals nestled in their tasting lineup amongst the more established McLaren Vale favourites of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and grenache. A range of tasting flights are available to cater to all palates, with the Little Wolf Osteria and the excellently named Frankie Italo Disco and Dining Lounge also on site if you’re looking to wine + dine whilst you’re here. Our recommendation? Well, since you asked… book in for a Masterclass tasting experience, where a guided flight is served alongside “assaggini”; small plates showcasing the best regional producers and produce, paired to the wines.
141 Mcmurtrie Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171. Open Thursday - Sunday 10am - 5pm.
Five generations of the Oliver family grew grapes on their Taranga vineyard before Corrina Wright in the sixth generation became the family’s first winemaker, the family converting a heritage worker’s cottage on the property to become their first cellar door in 2005. Renovated again in 2021, you’ve got the opportunity at Olivers’ to take a tasting flight through what makes the Taranga vineyard so special whilst taking in the surrounds from their all weather deck. Plus, for those keen to dive deeper there’s also the opportunity to head out into the vineyard proper for a “Terroir Tour” and hear what’s unique about the land here.
246 Seaview Rd, McLaren Vale SA 5171. Open 7 days.
Visiting Pannell Enoteca gives you three for the price of one - with the labels SC Pannell, Koomilya and Protero all available for tasting at their Olivers Road cellar door, each offering a different expression and view of the region. Speaking of views - out on their deck you can take in a tasting overlooking the sweeping vines out front, and if you get peckish there’s snacks and grazing platters available to go alongside the gorgeous wines you’ll find in glass.
60 Olivers Road, McLaren Vale Sa 5171. Open 7 Days.
Hidden away in Dover St Gardens (about 20 minutes from Adelaide CBD) you’ll find Patritti’s urban winery - family owned and operated since 1926. If you’re fortunate enough to book into Cellar II, you’ll be surrounded by their huge (and hugely impressive) jarrah vats, where you’ll have the option of five tasting flights to pick between - including a zero alc line-up. With their fruit largely sourced from premium Blewitt Springs and Tatachilla sites, there’s also a tasting flight dedicated to wines made with fruit sourced from historic urban vineyards across the City of Marion. Friday evenings and weekends their extended courtyard also plays host to a rotating line-up of food trucks and live music - make sure you check their website to get the latest listings before swinging by.
13-23 Clacton Road, Dover Gardens, SA 5048. Open 7 days.
The intimate and cosy cellar at Samuel’s Gorge is all about the main event - their wines. No restaurants or picnics here, but what you will be treated to is a flight of cracking new McLaren Vale classics - including juicy and vibrant grenache, shiraz and tempranillo. Now into their second winemaking decade in “this old barn on top of the hill”, make sure to make it a stop on your itinerary.
193 Chaffey's Road, McLaren Vale, SA 5171. Open 7 days.
Located in the heart of McLaren Vale, Wirra Wirra’s relaxed cellar door is located next to their working winery. Surrounded by gum trees (and only a stone’s throw from their renowned “Church Block” parcel of vines), there’s the option to taste through several flights on offer, or book into an extended tasting experience that also takes in a tour of the historic cellars. Harry’s Deli on site also offers a selection of small & large plates or platters, giving you the option of staying for a bite to eat, kick back and take in the native gardens and biodynamically-farmed vineyard blocks surrounding the winery (with another glass or two, naturally).
255 Strout Road McLaren Vale SA 5171. Open 7 days.
ps. make sure to check the winery websites we've linked above for up-to-date info on openings and bookings, especially around the holidays.
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