Media Releases

31 July 2020

Following careful consideration and strategic planning, McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association (MVGWTA) is pleased to confirm the McLaren Vale Wine Show and James Halliday Grenache Challenge will proceed in 2020.

The McLaren Vale Wine Show endeavors to provide a platform for presenting wines that demonstrate varietal expression, excellence in viticulture and production, as well as provenance and sub-regionality. In 2019, over 100 of the region's wineries entered the show and over 700 wines were entered for judging.

Following the devastating Australian bush fires and the COVID-19 global pandemic, entry requirements have been reviewed and amended to allow greater inclusivity for smaller producers to qualify for trophy eligibility.

2020 McLaren Vale Wine show Co-Chair, Paul Carpenter is confident the 2020 Wine Show will maintain and build on the long established reputation as one of Australia's premier regional shows.

“The show will certainly be different in 2020 but with a string of high quality vintages and lowering of stock requirements for trophy eligibility we are excited about the wines that will be entered in 2020 and the resultant winners."

"As a committee and a region we are focused on ensuring that the integrity to the judging processes is maintained to the highest standard whilst ensuring the absolute safety and well-being of our Committee and Judges among COVID-19 social distancing and recommended hygiene best practice requirements.  We are looking forward to the challenges and excited about unearthing some ripping wines," said Mr Carpenter.

The James Halliday Grenache Challenge (JHGC) gathers varietal Grenache wines from around Australia for a competitive tasting to celebrate and elevate the variety. The fourth Challenge invites all producers from all regions, for an honest gauge of Australia’s winemaking form and to catch the styles and movements developing across our landscape.

For more than 50 years, the McLaren Vale wine community has celebrated the culmination of the McLaren Vale Wine Show through the Bushing tradition with a lunch acknowledging the Best Wines in Show. In 2020, McLaren Vale Wine Show entrants and trophy winners will be acknowledged via a virtual awards ceremony in lieu of a sit down lunch with a community celebration postponed until 2021.

For more information and to enter in the 2020 McLaren Vale Wine Show on August 3, click here. To enter into the James Halliday Grenache Challenge, click here.

Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

05 June 2020

Following two-months of travel and trade restrictions that paused tourism visitation to McLaren Vale, the region prepares to reopen in time for the iconic June long weekend public holiday.

With COVID-19 restrictions forcing the temporary closure of cellar doors, restaurants and tourism operators, businesses have eagerly awaited to welcome back visitors and resume what McLaren does best; warm and generous hospitality.

Pleasingly, more than 90% of the region's accommodation is at capacity this long weekend with many local businesses utilising the down time to accelerate renovations in their venues, assessing their businesses operations and implementing new measures to maintain social distancing and increased hygiene practices for reopening.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch credits the region's businesses for their fortitude during the required shutdowns.

"Reopening requires more than a return to normal, however, our businesses are innovative and continue to adapt to the changing circumstances.  To reopen has required continuous adjustment and communication to ultimately ensure that any guest to McLaren Vale becomes a friend for life of our region," said Ms Lynch.

"We are very much looking forward to welcoming visitors to McLaren Vale again and getting back to doing what we love and enjoy in a safe way."

To view a list of McLaren Vale businesses trading this long weekend,  please click here.

Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

13 February 2020

In the wake of Australia's tough start to the year, the McLaren Vale wine region is heartened to share a positive outlook for the upcoming 2020 vintage.

Dry weather conditions throughout the spring and summer months of 2019 resulted in vigilant irrigation by growers, alleviating the onset of stress in most vineyards.

Viticulturist and co-owner of Gemtree Wines, Melissa Brown credits the accessibility of the region's recycled water program as a contributing factor to the good health of vineyards during an unusually hot end to the year.

"The season has had its ups and downs but overall we have fared well. Whilst there were some very hot days in December and early January - having access to the recycled water program eased the potential onset of stress in vineyards," said Mrs Brown.

"We received over 75mm of rain in January and February which has set the vines up well leading into harvest."

Stephen Pannell, winemaker and owner of S.C. Pannell Wines also acknowledges good water management as a safeguard through drier months.

"Below average winter rainfall backed up by good water management and accessibility with a heap of rain in February so far has resulted in moderate crops but the fruit looks good - in fact it looks better here than in any other South Australian region. The interesting point is late ripening which is a real positive," said Mr Pannell.

In addition to good health in the vineyards and a positive outlook, community collaboration has seen spirits buoyed with fundraising efforts to assist nearby fire-affected regions in the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo raising more than $100,000 in donations.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association (MVGWTA) General Manager, Jennifer Lynch notes the region's camaraderie during a difficult and emotional start to the year for the South Australian wine industry.

"It's been a devastating couple of months for our cool climate neighbours in the Adelaide Hills, friends in Kangaroo Island, and many other parts of Australia. However the spirit of inter-regional collaboration and generosity has been truly heartwarming. Many of our region's producers have hosted charity events, auctions and even donated labour and equipment to assist in fire recovery efforts," said Ms Lynch.

"McLaren Vale was lucky to be spared - we approach vintage 2020 with an overwhelming sense of gratitude."

As a precautionary measure, MVGWTA is supporting the region's growers in assessing the risk of smoke exposure through voluntary coordinated sample testing. Although too early to confirm, initial assessments indicate that the risk of smoke tainted fruit is low as the exposure occurred prior to veraison.

Paul Carpenter, winemaker at Ryecroft and Longline Wines highlights the 'trilogy of McLaren Vale reds' as standout varieties to watch this vintage.

"Grape quality and resultant wine quality looks particularly promising in Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. Shiraz at this early stage looks to be the star of the vintage with moderate crops and smallish berry size heading for concentrated flavours," said Mr Carpenter.

"All in all it has been a season of many challenges but what awaits is modest crops and excellent vine health that is likely to see rapid flavour development and the smell of fermenting grapes flooding the Vale."

Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

11 December 2019

McLaren Vale has future-proofed it’s trajectory and strategic direction with the appointment of a new Board following the 2019 Annual General Meeting on Friday, November 29.

In an effort to lead with both change and best practice, as part of the Association's 2018 - 2020 Strategic Plan, the prior Board of MVGWTA committed to an independent membership and Board governance review conducted by Enterprise Corporation.

Based on best practice and Member consultation, the review concluded the Association's governance arrangements should evolve in order to optimise capacity to guide effective decision-making, with Members encouraging greater independence and a skills-based Board.

The newly appointed Board of seven, comprising three Member Directors and four Independent Directors including an Independent Chair, offer an impressive and diverse range of background disciplines and a wealth of experiences and knowledge to help guide MVGWTA's Strategic direction.

New Independent Chair Marni Cook is looking forward to driving further value to the membership and region through strong strategic oversight and governance of the Association.

“Together with the outstanding Board and MVGWTA team, I am delighted to have the opportunity to guide the strategic direction and governance to deliver further value to the grape, wine and tourism community of this magnificent region," said Ms Cook.

"I am looking forward to working with the new Board, who collectively offer an impressive level of experience, skills and commercial acumen encompassing wine tourism, viticulture management and sustainability, leadership, strategic planning, marketing, finance, legal, governance, risk management, stakeholder engagement and communications. 

"It is an honour to continue the fine work completed by the MVGWTA team and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Board, led by Chair, Lauren Fried for their significant contributions and accomplishments.”

MVGWTA General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is looking forward to building on the momentum of a record year of growth in wine export value, tourism visitation and international recognition.

“Our Association has refined and methodically focussed its delivery against a well-considered and informed Strategic Plan to build value for Brand McLaren Vale, and we’re now delivering against that Plan on behalf of the region," said Ms Lynch. 

"We know the Plan is working when we consider our 2019 highlights for McLaren Vale included exceeding the $100m milestone in bottled wine exports, six pages of editorial showcasing McLaren Vale in the December issue of VOGUE China, and continuing international award and recognition as a must-see destination.

"MVGWTA looks forward to continuing to ensure the long-term sustainability of the grape, wine and tourism industries in the McLaren Vale region and to protect and promote the McLaren Vale brand locally, nationally and worldwide."


Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

11 November 2019

Following two consecutive wins in the Great Wine Capitals regional Best of Wine Tourism Awards, McLaren Vale's Gemtree Wines has been named 2019 Global Winner for Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices at the international awards - part of the Great Wine Capitals Annual General Meeting in Bordeaux, France

The boutique winery was recognised for implementing environmental practices and sustainable innovations and developments enhancing the visitor experience.

Gemtree owner and viticulturist, Melissa Brown is thrilled the winery's new sustainability themed tours and organic and biodynamic practices have been recognised on a global stage.

"Mike and I are thrilled to accept this award which shines a spotlight on a global stage not only on Gemtree but also on the outstanding McLaren Vale wine region. It is wonderful to receive recognition for our biodynamic and sustainable practices and the tours that we offer,” said Mrs Brown.

Certified organic and biodynamic, Gemtree Wine’s cellar door is sustainably built with recycled materials and sits next to a ten-hectare nature reserve, which the family planted with over 50,000 natives. 

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said it was fitting to see a South Australian winery recognised on the world stage for its sustainable approach.

“I commend Gemtree Wines on a remarkable award and it is a true testament to the quality of South Australian wines and the associated tourism experience that this winery is recognised on the world stage,” said Minister Whetstone.

“This award is more than just recognition for wine tourism, it demonstrates the state’s ability to provide a unique experience and tell the story of grape to glass.

“Gemtree has one of the largest certified biodynamic vineyards in Australia and they are proud custodians of the land, so this award is truly fitting.”

In addition to the Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism International Awards, the 2019 South Australian Tourism Award winners have also been announced with regional favourites d'Arenberg, The Currant Shed and Willunga Farmers Market taking out awards in their respective categories.


Media Enquiries:

Lucy Gosling, Marketing and Communications, MVGWTA
P: +61 8 8323 8999, E:, W:

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