One region with so much to offer. McLaren Vale is only 40 kilometres south of Adelaide - that's about 45 minutes by car. I've been told it's a great route to cycle too, but for someone who comes home with a minimum of two bunches of flowers, three kilos of veggies, at least half a dozen bottles of wine, four cheeses and enough bread for a small army, the car is essential.
McLaren Vale is home to sustainable wine growing, world-class wines, produce and food, as well as magical beaches and walking trials. Here are my top picks if you're in the region.
McLaren Vale is home to one of the oldest Farmer's Markets in Australia, so there is no surprise that the region has become synonymous with fresh produce, artisan cheese and bread, as well as all of your favourite trimmings.
The region is a buzz with farmer's markets, artisan markets and country craft markets all year around. My top pick is Willunga Farmer's Market. Open every Saturday, 8am - 12:30pm, bonus points because it is dog friendly.
My favourite stalls are Les Deux Coqs and Alexandrina Cheese Co.
After your visit to the market, wander through the surrounding streets to find more fantastic local produce.
Sweet tooth? Say no more. The thought of sinking my teeth into anything from Four Winds Chocolate is enough to have me jumping out of bed early on a Saturday morning. Four Winds Chocolate comes from a long-held love with all things delicious. Wendy Ashwin (melter, creator and founder) has been collecting books on baking, pastry and sweets for decades, pouring over the pages of her favourite bakeries, patisseries and chocolatiers the world over. The shop is open Saturdays 9am - 3pm. And don't worry, there is never any judgement when you walk out with arms full of sweet treats for you and your 'family'.
Get Out In The Sunshine:
McLaren Vale has almost 30km of magical coastline. Think of crystal clear water, sandy beaches, and spectacular cliffs to frame them. My top pick is Maslin Beach, infamously unclad down one end, and leash free for the four legged friends down the other - what more could you want from a day at the beach?
McLaren Vale's Mediterranean climate continues to drive the region's wine style and diverse food culture. The region has long been known for its Shiraz, however the region continues to produce exceptional lighter varietals includes Fiano, Vermentino, Tempranillo and Sangiovese.
Each time I visit the region I make my best effort to visit a different cellar door, otherwise I fall into the trap of sticking with my long time favourites Hugo Wines and Maxwell Wines.
I recently visited Kay Brothers who are well known for their rich soft wine. A traditional cellar door located at the top of a hill. Allow yourself some time to work through the complimentary tasting.
The standout of my recent trip to the McLaren Vale Region was a visit to Hugh Hamilton Wines.
Without a doubt this experience was the best I have had in any cellar door.
You will feel like family as the Hugh Hamilton team take you through their wines and what makes them so special. The cellar door is visually stunning with a 270 degree view of the vineyards and rolling hills. The Tasting of the Senses Experience takes you on a journey through Hugh's wines and perfectly matched cheese. The cellar door is highly interactive with videos, smell jars and tactile props and this experience is only exemplified by some of the best staff in the industry.
I would strongly recommend The Tasting of the Senses experience to anyone passionate about wine, or looking for an opportunity to immerse themselves in it. The experience is $20 per person. Allow 1hr +