Chapel Hill Winery
International recognition for their premium wines
Restored in the early 1970’s by Adelaide professor Tom Nelson, Chapel Hill Winery was the original ironstone Christian Bible Church for McLaren Vale. The winery’s first releases were in 1973 and brought plaudits and high honors for its wines. After a series of ownership changes, The Swiss Family of Thomas Schmidheiny (Napa Valley’s Cuvaison Winery) currently owns Chapel Hill Winery.
The winery’s philosophy involves the continuation of its significant program of environmental and sustainability projects that involve organic and biodynamic farming. It owns almost 110 acres of vineyards that are considered among the finest in Australia's McLaren Vale area.
Michael Fragos - Winemaker
Chapel Hill Winery’s Chief Winemaker Michael Fragos is a home grown wine practitioner from a winegrowing family that was born on a vineyard in McLaren Vale, home to Chapel Hill Winery.
He possesses a keen knowledge of the terroir of McLaren Vale that has led him to a number of international awards. The prestigious International Wine & Spirits Competition named him the International Winemaker of the Year in 2007 and he has also been named Bushing King Winner three times. The award is part of the Amcor McLaren Vale Wine Show and designates the area’s top winemaker.
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Located some 25 miles south of Adelaide in South Australia is the top wine producing area known as McLaren Vale. It is blessed by a Mediterranean climate that allows for four distinct seasons and possesses long warm days and short cool nights. There is practically no rain between December and April, near perfect environment for growing and maturing grapes.
Geographically, McLaren Vale extends southward to the Sellicks Hill Range and to the west by the influential Gulf St. Vincent.
Soils are quite important in McLaren Vale. Fertile red-brown earths (terrra rossa, redzina) are combined with several soft sands and a mixture of darker, hard clays.
These soils are all free draining and hold little water. This combination allows for drip irrigation and complete watering control of the vineyards. Nearly 90 wineries are located in McLaren Vale, many of which are the boutique or small family-type. That fact offers a wide variety of distinctive wines from which to choose.
The region was first planted around 1840 and is host to the wonderful Shiraz varietal that amounts to almost 50% of the area’s total grape production. McLaren Vales wines are renowned for their elegance and complexity and are most often compared to France’s finest wines.