A brief history

Of the McLaren Vale wine region

McLaren Vale

McLaren Vale's extensive natural and cultural heritage spans over thousands of years of traditional ownership by the Kaurna people and recently, has been shaped by European colonisation.

The colony of South Australia was founded in 1836 and McLaren Vale was established two years after following a survey conducted by John McLaren.

History of our wine region

John Reynell and Thomas Hardy planted grape vines in 1838 and the Seaview and Hardy wineries were in operation as early as 1850.

At that time, McLaren Vale wineries made heavy, dry table wines in the style required by the bulk wine merchants and exporters of the 19th century. By the turn of the 20th century there was a shift towards making fortified wines.

Between 1920 and 1930, exports trebled and finally, after World War II, local sales increased. In the 1950s, several McLaren Vale wineries began bottling small parcels of selected wines and established cellar door tastings and sales.

In the same period, many Italian migrants settled in McLaren Vale and introduced olive and olive oil production. More recently, the production of almonds, cheese, milk and cream have added to the rich food tapestry of our region.

It was not until the 1970s that table wine grew in popularity and within the same decade, over 25 new wineries were established in our region which specialised in the production of distinctive Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache.

Today, McLaren Vale is host to more than 80 cellar doors and our region's wines and their makers continue to receive awards and major trophies at the most prestigious wine shows in the world.