What's on in the Vale?
Winter sometimes gets a bad rap – but wouldn’t life be boring without the seasons? Particularly here in the wine world, we love seeing how the changing of the seasons affects the vines and the landscape around us.
Plus, winter means you get to mix up your wardrobe, grab your cosy jumpers, boots and hat and head out to the various events taking place in and around McLaren Vale – and what goes better with chillier days and hearty meals than a good glass of South Aussie red?
Here's a selection of our ideas for making the most of winter this year in McLaren Vale, as well as a few events you can build your trip around:
One of the most loved events in the region in winter is the Willunga Almond Blossom Festival, taking place the final weekend of July. It’s a lovely family festival commemorating the time the almond trees are showcasing their distinctive white flowers. There are show rides, an animal nursery, camel and pony rides and plenty of food trucks and market stalls. And if you’re exhausted from all the family fun, you’re basically in the middle the McLaren Vale wine region, easy to go and treat yourself to a well-deserved glass of red!
August sees the Fleurieu Food Festival – taking place all month – which showcases the breadth and depth of food and beverage producers and businesses in this food bowl of Australia. There is something for everyone – you can learn how to make bread in Goolwa with baker Anita Robin, head to the Willunga Farmers Market each Saturday of the month, or enjoy a Mediaeval Winter Feast. Find out more here.
As well as these celebrations, remember most of the region’s cellar doors and restaurants are still open for drop-ins or pre-booked tastings and meals. We’ve recently launched our own food offering – The Kitchen at Bec Hardy. We’re all about championing the best of local produce so have an ever-changing menu from our superb Chef, Anthony. Winter is all about hearty red meat dishes (sourced from our local Ellis Butchers) and seasonal vegetables such as cauliflower and pumpkin.
If you just want to head down to McLaren Vale without a plan, there’s still plenty to do to embrace the winter vibe. Kick off your day with a warming coffee at local favourite Goodness Coffee , take a bracing walk along the beach at Port Willunga – there’s something special about being by the sea out of season. The beaches are quieter and further down the coast you may even see a Southern Right Whale.
Having a beer or a glass of red by the fire in your favourite pub is also a must-do tradition in winter – the McLaren Vale Hotel is a good spot in the centre of McLaren Vale or try the South Coast Brewery in Willunga. And of course, a lot of winery cellar doors will have an open fire or log burner on the go – we’re open seven days a week for pre-booked and drop-in tastings, all through winter. And we’ll often get the outside firepit up and running, so you can enjoy the great outdoors and the views of the vines, without catching a chill!
And if you can’t get down to the Vale this winter, you might want to check out the Cellar Door Fest at the Adelaide Convention Centre between 8-9 July. The team from Bec Hardy Wines will be there, amongst dozens of other wine producers from across South Australia. It’s a great event, with live music and plenty of diverse food offerings – so if you’re heading down, don’t forget to swing by our stand, taste some of our portfolio, and have a chinwag!