With the gently rolling Mount Lofty Ranges forming a backdrop, the town of McLaren Vale nestles amongst vineyards. It is a stunning sight and a welcome introduction to the historic area.
A Scotsman, John McLaren, who named it McLaren Vale, originally surveyed this beautiful valley in 1839. Two small villages – Gloucester and Bellevue – were established here in the 1840’s by migrants from Great Britain, In 1923 buildings from these villages merged, adopting the name of the valley. Many buildings from these early days can still be found in and around the area. Early life was founded on farming with and emphasis on cereal crops.
Evidence of the prosperity in the era can be found in McLaren Vale today. McLaren Vale is now a busy town with about 2000 residents and makes an ideal base when exploring the McLaren Vale Wine Region and other attractions in the Fleurieu Peninsula.
McLaren Vale is synonymous with wine. Home to the historic Hardy and Seaview wineries McLaren Vale has over 40 winery cellar doors, many of them family concerns. Here, at wine tastings for visitors, the winemaker will often act as host. McLaren Vale has grown up around the district’s wine industry, but the wider McLaren Vale Region has much more to offer. The beauty of the surrounding hills, uninhibited rural vistas, pristine beaches and coastal scenery has attracted artists and crafts people to the district. Their work is displayed at a number of galleries around McLaren Vale.
Warm, dry summers moderated by cooling breezes from the Gulf create favorable conditions for varied agricultural endeavors. Avocados, olives, almonds, stone fruits and berries grow well in the temperate Mediterranean climate.
Enjoy the region’s variety of fresh local produce, often a feature on the menus of the local restaurants and cafes of the district. Several specialty museums provide an insight into the history of the area. Make sure you check the Local Attractions section for more information.
The area is also known for growing a variety of fruits including strawberries, apricots, apples, pears, peaches and nectarines. In season, there is an opportunity for visitors to pick their own fruit.
Whether your travels are for business or pleasure, you can always find that something special in McLaren Vale. The McLaren Vale Visitors Center is a short stroll from Southern Vales and can offer a wealth of information to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.