But it’s MEGA important that us Mums and Dads have some time to ourselves WITHOUT the kids. For myself and the Winey Dad, our biggest indulgence is a long lunch date whilst they’re at school (pro tip: this saves on babysitting fees!), undertaking an uninterrupted and relaxed wine tasting where you don’t care if there’s a toy box in reach, or booking a babysitter for an evening out to one of our many local restaurants.
Here in McLaren Vale we are truly spoilt for choice with places to go on a date! So to inspire you to book in some Mummy and Daddy romance time (I say this with such jest, please know! We’re all too tired for romance!) here’s the Winey Mum and Winey Dads top 10 favourite places to hang out for grown up time.
We love “The General“, a relatively new wine bar and kitchen in the small township of McLaren Flat and have enjoyed many a lovely lunch, with a menu changing daily that is created under the watch of talented Chef Ben Sommariva (formerly of The Kitchen Door Restaurant and Fino’s Willunga). We’ve eaten here with the kids and they are always welcomed but for us this is most definitely Mummy and Daddy territory. Don’t miss the Prosecco to kick off your date in style and the Montepulciano.
Bekkers Wine is the winemaking project of respected viticulturist and consultant Toby Bekkers and his French-born wife and winemaker Emmanuelle. Together they produce some exquisite wines, gently crafted in tiny quantities. For a $10 tasting fee you can enjoy a guided seated wine tasting experience in their stunning Tasting Room with sweeping views. We were lucky to have Emmanuelle guide us through the wines on our visit and loved hearing her aspirations to stand proud amid the world’s most coveted wines and their craftsmen. This is another place that would certainly welcome your kids, but we recommend taking the time to enjoy this beautiful location as a couple on a bit of a date! You’ll love the super indulgence feeling it brings!
The Winey Dad and I refer to The Salopian Inn as the centre of our McLaren Vale comfort zone. The moment we walk in to this salubrious yet welcoming restaurant, we feel the worries of the world left at the door. We love the bar (I lose count of how many types of Gin they stock – but its in the hundreds), the delicious menu by oh-so-talented and inspirational owner and Chef Karena Armstrong, and a brilliant wine cellar. I never leave a date at the Salopian Inn (called the Salops by locals) without rosy cheeks and highly recommend most things on the menu, but especially the steak! And Karena is also very well known for her AWESOME desserts!
What’s not to love about the Star of Greece? You can’t beat a summer afternoon date on the deck, enjoying lunch whilst overlooking the most beautiful beach. You equally can’t beat a winter afternoon inside, whilst the wind howls outside and the grey ocean waves crash at the shore. This is true romantic location territory! I’m obsessed with eating oysters here, and usually a fish dish for mains (it must be something about overlooking the ocean) and always have to enjoy a glass (or two) of Pol Roger. If you’re on a budget, you could always just grab some fish and chips from the kiosk instead and take a stroll on the beach?
Three words. 8-course degustation. That’s all your really need to know.
This indulgence is generally a once-a-year date occasion for us and it is sooooo worth it! You’ll need the whole afternoon to really enjoy it, and you’ll definitely need a driver. You’ll also need your big pants on as the courses just keep on coming, and the next one seems to be even more delicious than the last! The Lobster Bisque is always a stand out dish for me, but I have been known to sing “Hallelujah” at the top of my voice when tasting one of their chocolate desserts. Whilst you’re here without the kids, d’Arenberg cellar door has such a great selection of wines so consider enjoying a leisurely taste!
Ok, I’m starting to really day dream now but let’s just imagine that the Grandparents are in town and they’ve offered to take the kids off your hands for a couple of nights. Are you with me? A 48-hour date!
Without a doubt THE most luxurious place you can stay in McLaren Vale is The Vineyard Retreat. The idea of guest houses with luxurious linens and sophisticated modern touches makes me just want to check in right now. Oh, and there’s also a heated outdoor jacuzzi with views over the vines for guests to enjoy. When shall we go, Winey Dad?
The Hither & Yon cellar door is a former butcher’s shop built in the 1860s and still retains its local slate flooring and limestone walls. It’s a very funky, intimate space and whilst your kids would be welcomed, there’d be something lovely about being able to sit back and relax during your wine tasting in this stunning cellar door. The space is shared with cool café and providore 3 Monkeys next door with great coffee, delicious food and even cocktails! My kind of date!
We just love the wines made by Pete Fraser at Yangarra Estate Wines and love the salubrious feel of their intimate cellar door located between McLaren Flat and Kangarilla. They welcome kids and we enjoy hanging about on their lovely lawns as a family, but for some Mummy and Daddy time love nothing more than sitting back on a leather couch inside to taste wines at leisure with the kids at home with their favourite babysitter. It’s a date!
Primo Estate is so welcoming of families but we love the idea of taking our time in visiting this modern and exquisite cellar door on McMurtrie Road. We especially love the idea of indulging in their premium JOSEPH Experience, which is a sit down tasting featuring their JOSEPH wines accompanied by the latest release JOSEPH Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Italian Grana Padano cheese and locally baked crusty bread. Check out their lunch events too which they put on from time to time – we attended one last summer and had a ball!
Ok, now I am really daydreaming. If I were to put together my absolute DREAM wine tour date of McLaren Vale, it would without a doubt be by helicopter. The coast, the vines, the hills, the romance! Go on, make his or her day by booking a tour with Helivista!