McLaren Vale - South Australia
McLaren Vale is a wine region approximately 35 km south of Adelaide in South Australia. It has a population of about 2,000 and is internationally renowned for the wines it produces. The region was named after either David McLaren, the Colonial Manager of the South Australia Company or John McLaren (unrelated) who surveyed the area in 1839. Among the very first settlers to the region in late 1839, were two English farmers from Devon, Mr William Colton and Charles Thomas Hewett. William Colton established the 'Daringa Farm' and Charles Thomas Hewett establshed 'Oxenberry Farm'. Both men would be very prominent in the very early days of McLaren Vale. Although initially the region's main economic activity was the growing of cereal crops, J ohn Reynell and Thomas Hardy planted grape vines in 1838 and the present-day Seaview and Hardy wineries were in operation as early as 1850. Grapes were first planted in the region in 1838 and some vines more than 100 years old are still producing. Today there are more than 88 cellar doors in McLaren Vale. The majority are small family-run operations and boutique wineries.
McLaren Vale has a Mediterranean climate with four clear seasons. With a dry warm Summer, the area has dry weather from December through to March or April, giving an easy change between summer and winter. It is gentle with long warm days and short cool nights. Winter rains of 580-700 mm per annum flow into a fresh spring. The region rarely experiences frost or drought due to its close proximity to the sea. The region is bounded to the south by the Sellicks Hill Range and to the west by the waters of Gulf St Vincent. It extends east to the historic town of Clarendon and the area around the Mount Bold Reservoir. To the north it reaches to Reynella, named after the first winemaker in the area John Reynell.