Media Releases

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:

29 October 2019

McLaren Vale’s Best Wine of Show and prestigious ‘Bushing King’ title was awarded at the 55th annual MGA Insurance McLaren Vale Winemakers Bushing Luncheon held at S.C. Pannell Wines.

Brothers, Malcolm and Richard Leask of Hither & Yon were crowned the 2019 Bushing Monarchs.

From over 788 exhibits, the 2018 Hither & Yon Nero D'Avola was the highest scoring wine of the 2019 McLaren Vale Wine Show as judged by an impressive panel of international and Australian judges including Sarah Ahmed - The Wine Detective, Andrew Thomas - Thomas Wines, Julian Langworthy - Deep Woods and Kate Laurie - Deviation Road.

Chair of Judges, David LeMire MW notes the evolution of McLaren Vale's diverse winemaking style and credits good grape growing as a hallmark indication of the stand out entries.

“There were some really strong candidates for the Bushing King or Queen, in very diverse styles. What the wines had in common was plenty of character, fruit intensity, and great purity, and the winning wine had all those qualities. Good grape growing shone through in the best wines," said Mr LeMire.

"Throughout the judging, we tasted some terrific wines, and we saw a snapshot of the way the region is evolving.  Innovative blends, emerging varieties, and more balance and freshness in tradition McLaren Vale varieties – these are trends that are standing the test of time. Grenache continues to show how well it performs in the region.”

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is thrilled the Best Wine in Show highlights the region's varietal diversity.

"McLaren Vale's climatic and geological diversity has encouraged our region's producers to successfully embrace Mediterranean varieties. This keenness to challenge the status quo using viticulture and winemaking techniques that are authentic to the region has become one of our most interesting stories to share," said Ms Lynch.

"It's an incredible result for Hither & Yon and in turn, a great result for our region." 

The ‘McLaren Vale meets Leigh Street’ medal and trophy tasting event will be held on Friday, November 8 in Adelaide, tickets can be purchased here.

Full results here.

Photograph available here, please credit John Kruger.

Media Enquiries:

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

23 September 2019

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association (MVGWTA) has partnered with South Australian industrial automation design, delivery and support business, SAGE Automation to deliver a technology solution that captures tourism visitation numbers to McLaren Vale in real-time.

McLaren Vale is recognised within the greater Fleurieu region in the context of visitation data. As a result, accurately measuring and reporting tourism metrics has previously not been possible. 

In an effort to better understand tourism visitation to the region and to provide services and experiences that appropriately cater to visitors year-round, MVGWTA engaged SAGE Automation to identify a safe, secure and effective technology solution to collect insights via Bluetooth and WiFi detection. 

Utilising technology originally developed to monitor Adelaide's traffic network for the Department of Transport, Planning and Infrastructure, SAGE Automation developed a dashboard system to report metrics collected by fifteen solar-powered beacon units installed across the McLaren Vale Geographical Indication (GI).

The SAGE Bluetooth detection units work by sensing the unique MAC address of smart devices. A MAC address is assigned to every Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chip produced in the world.

The solar powered beacons can correlate detections of uniquely identified visitors carrying a smart device within a 50-70m radius. The unit does not capture personably identifiable information, nor requires any input or action from the visitor or business.

Data collected by the beacons is reported in real-time to a dashboard displaying an estimate of visitors to a location at a particular time, as well as an estimate of the number of visits per site over time and peak times.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch recognises the importance of understanding visitation data to provide exceptional tourism experiences and inform business decision-making.

"This is the first time that SAGE’s technology will be used in a tourism context; the application of this data insight will enable a greater understanding of McLaren Vale's tourism landscape and visitor economy," said Ms Lynch.

"The collected tourism data is critical in informing business decision-making, grant applications, biosecurity regulations as well as infra, soft and superstructure developments and long-term planning – both at a regional and individual business level."

General Manager of Transport at SAGE Automation, Damian Hewitt believes the collaboration between the two businesses will provide many benefits to the region.

“McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association has shown real leadership in adapting the use of the technology to maximise the economic benefit to their members. This type of technology is the foundation for using artificial intelligence that will lead to significant community benefit," said Mr Hewitt.

“These benefits could include efficient rostering of staffing, coordinating transit between locations and encouraging the promotion of tourism events.”

The Geolocation Project will run as a pilot for 12 months.


Media Enquiries:

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

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