Media Releases

09 August 2019

McLaren Vale's reputation for producing premium and ultra-premium Grenache continues to strengthen following the announcement of the 2020 Halliday Wine of the Year - awarded to Yangarra Estate Vineyard 2016 High Sands Grenache!

No stranger to prestigious wine accolades, Yangarra Estate winemaker Peter Fraser has always sung the praises of the region's most notable varietal. In 2016, Halliday named Fraser “Winemaker of the Year” and last year, the 2015 High Sands Grenache was awarded Halliday’s top wine in the “Other Red” category. Additionally, Fraser was a finalist for Gourmet Traveller Wine’s 2017 Winemaker of the Year and was the only Australian winemaker nominated for “Winemaker of the Year” in Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s annual Wine Star Awards in 2018.

Fraser notes the subtleties of winemaking that reveal the varietals true sense of place in McLaren Vale.

“Since my first vintage at Yangarra, the Grenache from this block has always shown remarkable character,” Fraser explains. “We released the first vintage of High Sands in 2005 and I’ve always felt it was an exceptional wine. Grenache is grabbing the attention of the wine community for its ability to show a true sense of place and its subtleties in the winemaking,” said Fraser. 

The High Sands Grenache is the pinnacle wine in Yangarra’s southern Rhône-inspired portfolio and is sourced from a 1.7-hectare block that sits at the highest elevation on the 90-hectare organically and biodynamically farmed estate vineyard. These gnarly bush vines were planted in 1946 and are dry-grown in North Maslin White Sands that date back over 50 million years.

With just 6.15% of area under vine planted to Grenache, McLaren Vale's premium and ultra premium examples come from small pockets of well-tended vineyards spread throughout the region.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is thrilled the award celebrates and fosters national and international recognition of the deserving varietal.

"Our region’s Grenache history dates back to the 1800s so it is incredibly exciting to note Halliday's Wine of the Year has been awarded to a Grenache wine and to one of our region’s most passionate Grenache stalwarts – Yangarra Estate and winemaker Peter Fraser are deserving recipients,” said Lynch.

McLaren Vale will host the third annual James Halliday Grenache Challenge in September with entries open Australia wide on Monday, August 12 via

Media Enquiries:

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

05 April 2019

The 2019 McLaren Vale Sea & Vines Festival program has officially launched!

Held across three days of the Queen's birthday June long weekend (8-10 June), the 2019 Sea & Vines Festival will celebrate 27 years of operation with 44 events held across 27 McLaren Vale venues.

With a diverse selection of events to suit all ages, palates and experiences, there’s something for everyone - including intimate degustation dinners, live music performances, food truck fare and fun activities especially for families!

Choose from Relish Events - a selection of ticketed bespoke events held across the full three days of the Festival; Sunday Experience – a 'create your own' winery tour adventure at two locations; and Family Friendly Monday – free events offering entertainment and food options for both the kids and adults!

More than 20,000 visitors enjoyed the festivities in 2018 and event organisers are expecting a similar number this year.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is looking forward to showcasing the region's generous hospitality once again.

"The Festival has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors for nearly three decades and we look forward to welcoming new and returning guests to our region - there is always something new to discover in McLaren Vale," said Ms Lynch.

"The fireplaces are lit, there's live entertainment across the region and the atmosphere is vibrant and fun - the 2019 program has a diverse offering of events so the best way to enjoy the Festival is to book some accommodation and choose a different event for each day - make a weekend of it!"

General release tickets on sale 9am Monday, April 8 at

Media Enquiries:

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

23 January 2019

The rise of premier South Australian wine region McLaren Vale continues with Wine Australia's release of the end of December 2018 Wine Export Report.

Annual bottled export totals for McLaren Vale surpassed $100M in late 2018 - a first in the region's export history and an increase of 20% from 2017 figures year to date.

McLaren Vale can lay claim to average export prices of $11.04 per litre - more than three times the national average of $3.32 and an increase of 6% over the past 12 months.

Higher price points have also increased, in addition to an incredible 64% growth in exports to China - reaffirming McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association's (MVGWTA) strategic commitment to this growing market.

MVGWTA General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is thrilled with the region's continued international growth in key export markets, and remarks upon the region's trajectory.

"The export figures detailed in the Wine Australia report demonstrate year on year continued international demand for premium McLaren Vale wines," said Ms Lynch.

"I recall reviewing our export performance in 2015 when our exports totalled $64M - to be a part of our region's near $40M growth in three years is rewarding.

"The strong growth in higher price segments, particularly in the China market, reaffirms MVGWTA's strategic commitment and focus in activating an international consumer marketing campaign in the China market in late 2019."

d'Arenberg Regional Export Manager, Swenson Su credits export commitment to China for the continued success and growth for both d'Arenberg and McLaren Vale brands.

"Led by substantial growth in China, McLaren Vale is 46% above the national average growth rate - it's pleasing to read," said Mr Su.

"The region is blessed with some of the most dynamic exporters in Australia and China has proven to be an excellent market for d'Arenberg - our Chinese customers love the d'Arenberg Dead Arm in particular.

"We are seeing strong and continued demand from this market and we are committed to continued investment, building the brand name and the region's prominence."

Australia is the fifth largest exporter of wine in the world and exports approximately 60 per cent of its total production, with McLaren Vale contributing 9.4 million litres to international markets. 

Media Enquiries:

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

09 November 2018

McLaren Vale took centre stage at the 2019 Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards, with an impressive four out of seven South Australian winners from the wine region.

Announced last night at a black tie gala dinner held at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens as part of the Great Wine Capitals Annual General Meeting, McLaren Vale's Inkwell Winesd'ArenbergCoriole Vineyards and Gemtree Wines were announced as winners of the state awards, with d'Arenberg's Cube also awarded the 2019 International Best of Wine Tourism Award for Architecture and Landscape, recognised for its bespoke structure and design.

The Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in wine tourism in the regions of ten great wine capitals and provides an opportunity for wineries to gain exposure and recognition for their commitment to providing leading wine tourism experiences.

Prior to the awards gala, McLaren Vale played host to 100 visiting delegates of the 2019 Great Wine Capitals AGM on Wednesday. Visitors enjoyed immersive regional experiences including a wetlands and eco tour at Gemtree, structured seated tastings at Mitolo and Wirra Wirra as well as lunch at Pizzateca, Star of Greece and Beresford.

McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association General Manager, Jennifer Lynch is thrilled the region is recognised among renowned international wine regions.

“In conjunction with McLaren Vale's recent nomination as a top five finalist for Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2018 International Wine Region of the Year, the Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards reaffirms our region’s position as a premier wine region on the global stage,” said Ms Lynch.

“We are incredibly humbled to be awarded alongside other global wine regions such as Bordeaux and Napa Valley – we are elated for our region's winners and finalists, Adelaide and our State."

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone congratulated d’Arenberg on receiving their international award.

“McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg Cube is an iconic wine tourism experience that continues to gain worldwide traction for being so unique, easily eclipsing visitation expectations,” said Minister Whetstone.

“The Cube’s design creates a venue that is remarkable and has been deservingly recognised on a global stage through these awards.

“Congratulations to the South Australian winners and nominees of the Best of Wine Tourism Awards and the finalists – this is wonderful recognition for the outstanding wine tourism experiences on offer in our state.”


The winners for the 2019 awards are:

Accommodation - Inkwell Wines (McLaren Vale)

Architecture and Landscape - d’Arenberg (McLaren Vale)

Art and Culture - Coriole Vineyards (McLaren Vale)

Innovative Wine Tourism Experience - Penfolds Magill Estate (Adelaide Hills)

Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices - Gemtree Wines (McLaren Vale)

Wine Tourism Restaurant - The Lane Vineyard (Adelaide Hills)

Wine Tourism Services - Elderton Wines (Barossa)

For further information about the Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards, click here.

Media Enquiries:

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

02 November 2018

The second annual James Halliday Grenache Challenge (JHGC) gathered varietal Grenache wines from around Australia for a competitive tasting to celebrate and elevate the variety. 

The Challenge invited producers from all Australian wine regions to participate, encouraging an honest gauge of Australia’s winemaking form and to catch the styles and movements developing across the landscape.

Cellarmasters 2017 Blood Brother Republic McLaren Vale Grenache emerged victorious, with Z Wine 2017 Rustica just a single point behind.

2018 James Halliday Grenache Challenge Panel Judges included Julian Langworthy - Deep Woods, Andrew Thomas - Thomas Wines and Fiona Donald - Seppeltsfield.

2018 McLaren Vale Wine Show Chair Liam Van Pelt, was thrilled to receive quality Grenache submissions from all over Australia.

"Once again, the JHGC was supported by many great wine regions around Australia. Entries were scrutinised by some of Australia’s top show judges with the top eight wines creating a lot of conversation around style, winemaking and Grenache’s overall position in Australia," said Mr Van Pelt.

"Judges were impressed with the strength of the entries with eventual winner chosen for showing brightness, balance, varietal definition and complexity.” 

James Halliday also noted the standout quality of the final entries.

"The eight grenache that were in contention for the best overall and best regional awards are a brilliant testimony to all that modern day grenache has to offer," said Mr Halliday.

"Lifted, perfumed red fruits and hints of spice of the bouquets were mirrored by vibrant, supple palates with a seamless flow of varietal fruits ranging through red cherry, strawberry and raspberry. The wines achieved these wonderful flavours at moderate alcohol levels, making them a sheer pleasure to drink."

Mark 'Jamo' Jamieson, the winemaker behind the winning wine, is honoured to receive the accolade.

“To get recognition from Australia’s most respected wine critic is a tremendous honour,” Jamieson said.

“Creating a beautiful wine is a team effort, and this win is a true testament to all the hard work the grower, cellar hands and winemaker do together. At the end of the day, it’s all about the vines, the soil, and ability to pick the fruit at optimum ripeness – not to mention a large dash of luck.”

Full results here.

Media Enquiries:

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

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