McLaren Vale. It's home to some very decent wines. It's the secret sister to the Barossa. Especially on International Tourists radars. I'd say it's time for the world to know how good it is, but then, I kind of want to keep it to myself.
Only 20 minutes from our home, it's bordered by the rotund Willunga Hills, white sand and untamed beaches of Port Willunga, Maslins and Aldinga, and the countryside of Onkaparinga Hills.
The wineries that are here range from contemporary, to boutique, to home grown basics. Stevens Wines is nothing spectacular in terms of wine tasting ambience and scene setting. But what it does do well, is give you the authentic meet the winemaker experience. We are met by Graham himself, opening the door wide to the cellar door. I see a family man, a hard worker, and an honest man written on his face. Speaking to him, I also find out he has quite some humour. I guess you have to when working with winery tour participants. Graham has lived grapes and wine his whole life - having won the first vine pruning trophy at just nine years old. I guess you could say he knows a thing or two about making a good drop.
And his hard work and knowledge has payed off. For a small winery, with production of very few wines, it certainly pours a fine glass. At Australian Wine Shows, Stevens Wines has already won more than 50 awards, in just 2 seasons.
So, next time you are in McLaren Vale, don't just head to the big boys. Take a punt, and take the next turn off. You never know what treasures you may find.