Child friendly wineries in McLaren Vale

Child friendly wineries….children and wine tastings…do they or can they go together? Can you take your child/children to a winery and can both parties have an enjoyable day? Yes, they can….and on an afternoon with parents, adults and open spaces, a good time can be had by all.

I have been living in South Australia for just over one year and have been on the hunt for a child friendly wineries because I have one child and I enjoy tasting and analysing wine. I studied wine and lived in Bordeaux, wrote my dissertation about whether the reputation of Bordeaux wine was justified at the time (2002) and I want to continue learning about the styles, grape varieties and complexities in wine.

So together as a family we head on weekends to some of the great vineyards in South Australia.

Wirra Wirra

This is a beautiful historic building set back off the road with large grounds. The building is split into tasting room, restaurant, outdoor terraced space and lawn. What is fantastic about the cellar door are the number of toys available to borrow while the adults enjoy the tasting on offer. The staff are knowledgeable and the wines deliver at the price point. The 12th Man is my favourite with wonderful fruit structure with length and lovely balance. The cost to taste is $5 which is then taken off the price of the bottle that you might buy.

Toy corner at Wirra Wirra


The cellar door has wonderful view of McLaren Vale with a huge deck and plenty of space between tables and chairs. It caters for live music on Sundays. There’s also a grassed area a few steps down from the tasting room with comfy bean bags. In addition to this, there is a huge lawn up and at the back with barbeques (you need to book in advance to use the BBQs). Again very knowledgeable staff. You pay $5 to taste ($15 for the Premium Tasting) which is then deducted from the total cost when you buy a bottle of wine.

Grazing with a view at S.C. Pannell


This cellar door is intimate with a sofa just opposite the tasting bench which goes the length of the tasting room. The couch is a great spot for your children to sit while they watch their favourite cartoons or play games on an iPad. So it leaves the parent/guardian the flexibility to taste through a flight of wines and be within metres of them. I really love the Italian grape varieties produced here; Nero d’Avola, Sangiovese, Barbera. We met Andrew when we first visited and loved it so much we went back a few weeks later, meeting with Joy, tasting through the range again and buying a few more Barberas.

Inside Coriole cellar door


Since the launch of The Cube just over one year ago, no doubt the visitor numbers have increased. It is an interesting piece of construction not just from the outside but the inside too. It costs $10 per person including children so you may decide you don’t want to pay for your little treasures who are The Cube at d'Arenberg

not going to taste although they can still enjoy the tasting experience with all the jars of different fruits and confected aromas on the ground floor. Just by the parking lot, is d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant and Polly’s wine lounge; in a restored 19th century homestead. They overlook open lawns where there are picnic blankets, boules kits and lots of lounge chairs made out of old barrels (clever use of old barrels). This offers plenty of space for toddlers to burn off energy, kick balls and blow bubbles. In terms of wine tasting, the staff are again very knowledgeable and it really is a fun and interesting experience with all the Alice in Wonderland type furnishings, the view and the vibes. See what I wrote about the tasting experience on the Swanbourne Cellars blog here.

View from one side of the Cube at d'Arenberg


Woodstock Wines

Woodstock wines in McLaren Vale is a family owned winery now managed by Scott Collett making a range of wines from Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, Montepulciano, Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. The name “Woodstock” originates from the English settlers who had come from Woodstock, near Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England.Wine tasting at Woodstock Wnes

Woodstock is a hidden gem in that it not only offers the recently renovated ‘The Stocks’ tasting room, there is also a separate restaurant plus playground with plenty of space for picnics dotted with a few benches. In addition to this there is the Woodstock Wildlife Sanctuary where is 3 hectares of natural scrub where there are now red-necked wallabies, brush-tailed bettongs, long-nosed potoroos, and red kangaroos. If you come with children who need entertaining, make sure you’re at Woodstock wines for the daily kangaroo feeding from 11.30am to 12pm.
The cellar door is just off the grassed area, in a bright open room. The wooden tasting bench and tables with soft lighting make it a cosy and warm feel.. The two big windows on either side of the front door let in additional sunlight.

When I was here last there was the McLaren Vale Vintage cars parked on the other side of the restaurant. Beautiful cars!

Enjoy tasting, cheers!