McLaren Vale is home to the oldest Australian vineyard, its original vines planted in 1838.
It’s also home to several highly acclaimed wine estates, including the legendary Chapel Hill. The Indian Ocean borders on the west, which leads to a cooling factor that prevents the grapes from getting too hot. In short, the climate is perfect for grapevines.
McLaren Vale is a mere half-hour drive south out of Adelaide. Driving over the first row of hills, one is met by a vista of undulating vineyards surrounding pretty townships. The backdrop: the wave–ike South Lofty Ranges, rolling to the sea.
The township of McLaren Vale is central to this region, with Reynella and Clarendon to the north, Kangarilla on the eastern boundary, Aldinga on the coastal edge to the west, and Mount Compass and Sellicks Hill to the south.
McLaren Vale was named after David McLaren, the colonial manager of the South Australia Company, who arrived in the colony in 1837.
Thomas Hardy, a winemaker growing vines on the outskirts of the young Adelaide City, purchased the Tintara Winery from Dr. A.C. Kelly in 1873. Through Hardy’s innovative ideas and rapid expansion, this was considered by many to be the beginning of McLaren Vale’s wine industry.
By 1889, more than 7,300 acres were under vine and 70 recognized winemakers worked in the colony. Many of the award-winning wines produced in the region today come from 100-year-old vines.