McLaren Vale is located just South of Adelaide in the State of South Australia and is by far the most important wine-producing area in the Fleurieu peninsula. Pioneers such as Thomas Hardy and John Reynella helped to establish the region in the late 19th Century and today it is home to some of Australia's most highly regarded wine producers.
The climate is Mediterranean, with fresh sea breezes helping to moderate temperatures during the growing season. Altitudes differ markedly according to the location, and different mesoclimates are created as a result of varying exposure to the Mount Lofty Ranges in the north and the Sellicks Ranges in the south. The summers and most of the autumn season is dry, which helps prevent vine diseases.
The varied climate and geography explains the diversity of grapes grown in McLaren Vale. Shiraz is, obviously popular, as is Cabernet Sauvignon and old vines Grenache. But Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are also grown successfully here, albeit in smaller quantities.