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Our top picks for McLaren Vale

We just love our aussie wine regions and McLaren Vale in South Australia is right up there as one of our favourites. Known for its mediterranean climate, McLaren Vale has earnt its reputation for producing award winning, bold red wines although it's predominantly known for its grenache and shiraz varieties. With gorgeous beaches lining the coast, amazing food and award winning wineries, we really can’t think of a better escape.

With a short 45 minute drive from Adelaide airport (or an eight hour road trip from Melbourne if you’re so inclined), it’s a must for any beach, food or wine lover. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of our favourite spots.

Beaches

A short ten minute drive from McLaren Vale town centre, Port Willunga beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand with crystal clear blue waters. It also offers the perfect waves for those who like to try their hand at body surfing at a safe beach, so is also a great spot for families to spend the day. While you’re there, head to the Star of Greece cafe for your lunch fix where you can choose from the casual kiosk menu or ask to be seated in the restaurant with amazing panoramic views (bookings recommended).

For those wanting to take the road all the way to the beach, the famous Sellicks beach lets you drive your car right onto the beach where you can set up camp for the day with the ease of having your car right there.

Food, food, food, wine, wine, wine

Wow, where to start! There are just so many amazing wineries and food options around McLaren Vale (not to mention the nearby Adelaide Hills), but for the sake of this article, I’ll focus on some of our favourite foodie experiences while we were there.

  • The Victory Hotel in Sellicks beach is a must for anyone visiting the region. Nestled on a slight hill with ocean views and described as being a ‘Slice of Heaven’ by Australian Gourmet Traveller, you’ll never want to leave. The menu has great variety and the quality won’t disappoint. We just love the underground cellar where you can choose a special bottle to accompany your meal (or bring your own wine for a $15 corkage fee). The hotel also offers accommodation and is open daily for lunch and dinner but be sure to book to avoid disappointment.
  • Beach Road Wines serves delicious wood fired pizza and platters and offers sweeping views of the nearby vineyards. You can’t go past their wine selections, absolutely divine and a great introduction to some different grape varieties.
  • The Salopian Inn is another jewel amongst the vines and has been an icon in 'the Vale' since 1851. It has a gorgeous rustic feel about it and has become a landmark building. The menu itself offers variety with much of the produce coming from its own organic kitchen garden. We highly recommend trying the steamed boston bay free range pork buns - absolutely divine (oh and yes, bookings are also highly recommended for this other slice of heaven).
  • S.C.Pannell wines offer an outstanding selection of award winning wines, in addition to traditional styles they are pioneering new varietals, styles and blends. The cellar door restaurant serves a wide range of quality food in a gorgeous covered alfresco dining area.
  • We also love the wines at Hugo, which is one of the stops on the Blessed Cheese food and wine trail. If you love your cheese and wine (and who doesn’t, let’s be honest), you can enjoy a four course progressive picnic across the wineries of McLaren Vale while learning about cheese and wine matching - fork yeah!

This is just a very small snapshot of the amazing wineries, restaurants and region that is McLaren Vale. It really is a region for all seasons so if you haven’t been there before, do yourself a favour and get down there! 

Port Willunga beach

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