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What to do, where to go and what's on in the McLaren Vale region.

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For Members of the McLaren Vale Grape, Wine & Tourism Association.

Key Varieties

McLaren Vale has produced wine since 1838. With more than 180 years of experience, our region's reputation is strongly established in Australia's winemaking origins.

Production and winemaking image
© Copyright

Today, our region remains phylloxera free and is known for innovative viticultural and winemaking techniques and an international reputation for producing the 'trilogy' of Australian reds: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache.

McLaren Vale has 7,375 hectares of grapevines planted, with 56% of our plantings dedicated to Shiraz. However our region also excels in producing exceptional Mediterranean alternative red and white varieties including Fiano, Vermentino, Barbera, Montepulciano, Nero d'Avola and Tempranillo.

For more detailed information regarding grapevines planted in the region (including a list of the Top 10 varieties), the Vinehealth Australia's online region's report can be viewed here.

McLaren Vale is also home to a significant number of boutique brewers and passionate distillers and our region's reputation continues to grow steadily.

MVGWTA Photo Credit SERIO Isaac Forman SERIO 20190222 0396
© Copyright McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association


McLaren Vale might be best known for the trilogy of reds but producers are embracing 'alternative varieties' more suited to the region's Mediterranean climate.

Top 5 Varieties in the region

#1 Shiraz56.85%
4,193 ha
#2 Cabernet Sauvignon17.96%
1,325 ha
#3 Grenache6.58%
486 ha
#4 Chardonnay3.57%
264 ha
#5 Merlot2.46%
182 ha


The crown jewel of McLaren Vale is Shiraz - producing a densely coloured, richly flavoured wine that quickly develops a velvety texture. McLaren Vale Shiraz is known the world over for its quality and its seductive style.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon wines from McLaren Vale are full bodied and rich, often with a touch of dark chocolate intermixed with blackcurrant. The tannins are plentiful but soft, and the wines have structure for aging.


Grenache has enjoyed a spirited renaissance during the last decade. The older plantings produce incredibly richly flavoured wines with juiciness. One would be hard pressed to find a variety more ideally suited to McLaren Vale and many old-vine vineyards still exist and are revered.

Olivers Taranga Vineyard
© Copyright Oliver's Taranga


Chardonnay established a dominance in white grape plantings with virtually every producer having a Chardonnay however in more recent years winemakers have shifted their focus to Spanish and Italian varieties better suited to the maritime climate.


Merlot is a prominent grape variety for wine-making and it the third largest grape variety grown in Australia for wines. Traditionally, McLaren Vale is one of the main regions where this variety is grown. It’s typically less powerful than bold reds such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and has flavours of berries and plum

Alternative varieties

The diversity of so called ‘alternative varieties’ continues to grow with considerable excitement around varieties such as Vermentino, Barbera, Montepulciano, Fiano, Nero d’Avola, Tempranillo and Zinfandel.

McLaren Vale inherently produces wines of ample concentration and flavour; however greater restraint and terroir translucency are good terms to describe the current winemaking trend.

Watch: Alternative Varieties in McLaren Vale