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McLaren Vale

Thursday, March 30, 2006
McLaren Vale is loaded with history, food and fine wines, most importantly of the shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay varieties. One of Australia's oldest winegrowing regions, much of the wines produced in the region today come from 100-year-old vines. It enjoys a maritime Mediterranean climate with warm to hot and dry summers and moderate winters.

Less than an hour's drive from Adelaide the charming town has more than 50 vineyards and wineries, most with cellar doors for tastings and sales.

With vineyards and olive trees stretching from the Mt Lofty Ranges to the sea, driving there is a great pleasure. Pretty towns, rows of hills and undulating vineyards greet you.

Justin McNamee of Samuel's Gorge Winery has a spiritual outlook on winemaking. He loves the Australian wilderness that greets him each morning. He has worked in many wine areas around the world and loves the unique McLaren Vale soils, which vary dramatically. He sources grapes from a range of sites and soils to achieve a great depth and complexity of flavour.

Visitors are welcome to stop by, enjoy a tasting and hear all about the vineyard and wine's history.

David Paxton of Paxton Wines has grown grapes in the McLaren Vale for 25 years. He has managed and developed vineyards in the Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra, Yarra Valley, parts of Western Australia and given advice to growers across Australia.

Paxton Vineyards owns 80 hectares of premium McLaren Vale vineyards and manages 200 hectares in the area. Most of Paxton's grapes are sold to wine companies, but they do retain a small amount for their own label.

Landcross Farm Homestead has been beautifully restored and the Paxton home is open to the public. On a historically significant 1800s sheep property, it is dotted with historic buildings and has beautiful views of the valley. The tasting room is in the original shearing shed and there is an underground barrel store with a 1000-barrel capacity.

McLaren Vale has other attractions — local cottage industries, gourmet foods, diving, boating, family-friendly and surf beaches and lots of lovely places to stay.

The Salopian Inn has been operating for almost 20 years. Built in 1851, it has three dining rooms and an extensive wine cellar. A special treat to enjoy there while pondering the menu is dukkah, a North African delicacy usually made with hazelnuts. The recipe has been adapted to use locally grown almonds and it is enjoyed on fluffy white bread which has been dipped in olive oil. (Almonds grow so well in the area there is an Almond Blossom Festival held each July.)

On a cliff-top overlooking the Gulf of St Vincent at Port Willunga is The Star of Greece Café. Its name comes from a ship of the same name which met its fate there in 1888. It began its life as a kiosk in 1947, re-built in the 1960s and had a total makeover in 2002.

It has long been a popular place for its fresh seafood — calamari, oysters and whiting are favourites with those in the know — and the beautiful sunsets.

Location

30 minutes south of Adelaide.

Cost


Samuel's Gorge Winery cellar door is open on weekends between 11am and 5pm, or by appointment.

Paxton's Landcross Farm Cellar Door is open between Thursday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm, or by appointment.

Salopian Inn serves lunch every day except Wednesday and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Star of Greece Café is open from Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.

For further information


Samuel's Gorge Winery
Chapel Hill and Chassey's Road
McLaren Vale SA 5171
Ph: (08) 8323 9944
Fax: (08) 8323 9949
Website: www.mclarenvale.info
E-mail: information@mclarenvale.info

Paxtons Landcross Farm
Lot 100 Wheaton Road
McLaren Vale SA 5171
Ph: (08) 8323 8645
Fax: (08) 8323 8903
Website: www.paxtonvineyards.com
E-mail: paxton@paxtonvineywards.com

Salopian Inn
McMurtrie and Wilunga Roads
McLaren Vale SA 5171
Ph: (08) 8323 8769
Fax: (08) 8323 9811
E-mail: salopian@bigpond.com

The Star of Greece Cafè
The Esplanade
Port Willunga SA 5173
Ph: (08) 8557 7420
Website: www.southaustralia.com

McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Visitor Centre
Main Road
McLaren Vale SA 5171
Ph: (08) 8323 9944; 1800 628 410
Website: www.mclarenvale.info
E-mail: information@mclarenvale.info

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