Photo by Hugh Hamilton Wines
It’s one of Australia’s best-known wine brands, and it all started here in 1878, when Thomas Hardy transformed a flour mill into a winery. With its incredible sense of history, a visit to the Hardys Tintara cellar door is about more than tasting the excellent wines with which you’re likely already familiar. You can choose to sample cellar door-exclusive varietals, explore the history of the brand in the Fortified Room, or head onto the winery viewing platform to peer down at the plungers, basket presses and fermenters.
In 1890, the youngest sons of UK immigrants bought farmland in McLaren Vale and began planting vines. Bert and Fred Kay’s first vintage in 1895 saw them produce 9,000 litres of a dry red wine for export to England. The Kay Brothers vineyards of mataro, grenache and shiraz continued to expand, and various members of the family took over as the years progressed. Book a guided tasting in the heritage cellar door – choose from Kay Brothers’ hero varieties, its reserve range or fortified wines – or find a spot on the deck overlooking the vineyards and Mount Lofty Ranges for charcuterie platters with a glass of wine.
As you head up the stairs to the Hugh Hamilton cellar door, you’ll pass a black sheep. The sculpture is a reminder that, although there is 180 years of serious wine-making history here, life is about having fun. Set amid the vines, the cellar door has 270-degree views of the winery and the landscape beyond. Here you can taste some of the wines for which Hugh Hamilton is famous, including its alternative varieties like saperavi, as well as the incredible shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.
The Lloyd family has been making wine for more than 50 years in McLaren Vale. Taste their wares, which run the gamut from chenin blanc to shiraz, at the Coriole cellar door. Set in a converted ironstone barn, it’s surrounded by a vibrant cottage garden established in the 1970s.
McLaren Vale’s New Breed