Walking through wineries in McLaren Vale, AB&D & Maxwell 호주, 맥라렌 베일을 걷다

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Photos by Bae Doo Hwan


Walking through wineries in McLaren Vale

Our third visit to McLaren Vale was so easy that I don’t even remember how we got there. All I remember is that I almost felt like a local who knew the way around town like water streaming through the city and how pleasant it felt. We have been visiting wineries we have found on the map we had picked it up at the information center then we came across a winery we didn’t quite expect to see.

We got off the bus at the familiar bus stop then walked along Chalk Hill road where most of McLaren’s main wineries are located. Both sides of the road are covered with endless grape wines. We enjoyed the little walk between vines, picking and tasting grapes as we made our way to a winery.

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AB&D winery in McLaren Vale

Then there was the winery sign written ‘Maxwell’. We were excited to head towards it when suddenly we saw another way into another winery on the way to the winery. So we made a little detour. It was called Alpha Box n Dice, AB&D in acronym. The name itself got us curious enough to postpone our visit to Maxwell a little.

The winery’s cellar door looked quite poor that it almost looked like they tried renovating an old door but failed. What made us more nervous was the two masculine men with tattoo-covered body were chowing down sandwiches as they glanced over at us. If it were in Korea, we would have automatically thought they were gang members.

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AB&D winery in McLaren Vale

It is really funny now I look back on that day. We were quite scared but still wondering if it would be smart to enter the place but then again we were too curious to let the fear kill our adventure. We made our way to the cellar door pretending to be innocent tourist who are amazed by the place and the pictures we were taking as we did our best not to make direct eye contact with them even though we were scared as little kittens inside.

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AB&D winery in McLaren Vale

We entered a warehouse that was disguised as cellar. The room struck me with its very unique decorations inside. What an interesting place it was! When you look at each and every item alone, they are rusty and old but when you put them all together, it creates such an old attic like atmosphere for nice little cellar. Their wines have all very different labels. Each label was designed by different artists and that was another charming part of this winery. The bottle itself was another design props for the room.

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AB&D winery in McLaren Vale

While I was taking pictures of amazing interior designs, one of the guys with tattoo walked in and called somewhere. He doesn’t seem to mind us at all. He asked us if we wanted to taste wines after he hung up the phone and our answer was “Yes, of course!” Now that we could see the tattoo guy number two up close and personal, he is a good-looking feller. As we got to know him later on, he was just a kind innocent guy who loves and knew so much about wine. http://www.alphaboxdice.com

You can find out more in the website but you can see how much they pay attention to their design and creating wine. The winery was established in 2008 and they hadn’t exported their wine to out side of Australia just yet so the name wasn’t known in Korea at all. However they said they have a plan to widen their market and Hong Kong was one of their target markets for them.

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AB&D winery in McLaren Vale

Their label is just as interesting as their interior design. When they make wine, they choose new designer to design unique label for the bottle each year. Which means newly blended wine will have its own unique label and it will be one of kind wine bottle to own with its label.

Their wine uses Barossa grapes and other McLaren grapes but its types are various. Not only do they have Shiraz, Australia’s prominent grape but they also blend with grapes I haven’t even heard of such as Temporanillo, Sangiovese, Aglianico and etc. I really liked the way they produce their wine purely out of their own passion for wine.

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Maxwell winery in McLaren Vale

We headed to Maxwell winery after the short visit to AB&D. The weather was as beautiful as the landscape. You couldn’t help but just smile. Compare to AB&D, Maxwell is more like a corporate. AB&D produces wine in smaller scale while Maxwell focuses on more popular wine in massive quantity for bigger market. Vineyards are bigger around the winery as well.

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Maxwell winery in McLaren Vale

Their facilities are in better condition as well. On Thursdays or at weekends, you can go to their restaurant for lovely dinner and wine. There is a round terrace in front of the cellar door where you can enjoy the view of McLaren Vale and take amazing pictures.

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Maxwell winery in McLaren Vale

Maxwell winery was established by Mark Maxwell and the winery has been very successful even after they moved to the downtown area of McLaren Vale in the 90s. When we had visited the winery, they were stirring grape sludge with Masera after grape crushing stage. We were able to see two healthy bulky guys pumping over and punching down the sludge.

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Maxwell winery in McLaren Vale

Maxwell winery is famous especially for one of their unique wine, which is honey wine. Ken who is the father of Mark created honey wine in the 1950s then they started selling honey wine since 1962. In fact Maxwell family has made more money by selling honey wine than other wine so I am assuming his son Mark might have started the winery with the “honey wine money”. The owner of the winery pour the honey wine for us, which was quite lucky experience for us, and it was genuinely delicious. It was better than wine. There are two ways to taste the mead, either you can try after chilling it or after boiling it a bit. http://ww.maxwellwines.com.au

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Maxwell winery in McLaren Vale

If you wish to try honey wine and the view of McLaren Vale, go to Maxwell. You can have meals there as well. If you have enough budget, you can make a reservation for dinner and wine. Speaking of catching three birds with a stone.

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Maxwell winery in McLaren Vale



4235431452435Contributor, Bae Doo Hwan
He was a cultural journalist who worked at the best Korean wine magazine, ‘Wine Review’. After the wine journey, he manages a small wine bar ‘Vino Anotonio’ in Seoul as a freelancer wine columnist. http://blog.naver.com/baedoobaedoo

배두환 기자는 대한민국 최고의 와인매거진에서 와인, 다이닝 등 다양한 문화 이야기를 조명해왔다. 와인산지로 떠난 1년간의 여행 후 현재 와인바, ‘비노 안토니오’를 운영하며 프리랜서로 활동하고 있다. http://blog.naver.com/baedoobaedoo

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