This was the second year we’ve been a part of the Cellar Door Fest at the Adelaide Convention Centre and we had a blast once again. The three day festival brought over 10,000 wine lovers from across South Australia and even international visitors, and we loved sharing our story with all of them.

On show across the weekend were the ever-popular ‘Honeypot’ Moscato, and the distinctive ‘Argento’ Pinot Grigio. Our new release of the ‘La Puttanesca’ Sangiovese Merlot was a popular choice as our guests imagined sitting down with a glass next to their favourite pasta dish. After a big order from one of our favourite clients in Denmark, the ‘Quarterback’ wasn’t available at the 2016 festival, but made up for that this year. One of the standouts for most popular wine, the branding draws in even Aussies who are following American Football more and more, while the seamless complexity of the blend keeps them hooked!

The 2010 ‘Coverts’ are drinking beautifully at the moment and were excellent examples of the straight varietals which have made McLaren Vale world-famous. Keep looking over your shoulder as there’s a 2014 release of ‘The Covert’ coming soon.

Grenache is still a very polarising variety, and has such huge variances between price points and winemakers. This is one of the reasons our Shiraz Grenache blend is called ‘Catalyst’ because we want it to ignite the debate around this intriguing and often misunderstood variety, as well as allow you to experience the best of wine blending. From our premium range the 2013 ‘Catalyst’ is an investment that will reward you in just a few years with a highly developed wine.

Speaking of Grenache, Assistant Winemaker Anthony De Lisio also snuck a few bottles of our yet to be released 2016 Grenache out of the winery for the weekend. If you’re a fan of Grenache you’re going to want to know when this one’s released, so make sure you’re part of our Wine Club.

One of the other reasons we visit Cellar Door Fest is to see what everyone else has been up to of course. It’s always a pleasure to be able to meet and share experiences with other producers, and take home just a taste of the best SA has to offer!

Come for the map, stay for the wine!

The McLaren Vale Visitor Centre is a real drawcard, especially in summer. There’s an ever-changing display in the Stump Hill Art Gallery, the always fresh and lovingly prepared meals and cakes from the café, then there are the cinemas, the markets and the vintage car meet-ups. I even took my nephews in for lunch during the school holidays, and they love it not only because of the chicken nuggets and the playground, but also because their mum was married on the lawns.

When I work our pop up cellar door at the Visitor Centre, I’m happy to be part of the steady stream of interesting and friendly locals, tourists, families and industry. Many people are just dropping in for a map, but even more are setting out with the Visitor Centre as their destination, and it’s the perfect base for me to showcase our wines.

Sometimes the first thing people will say to me is, ‘sooo…I’ve never heard of you before…’ and they seem slightly worried they’re going to offend me. That’s really alright, our marketing dollars aren’t going into making us a household name. It’s a conscious choice to stay genuinely boutique, not to sell into bottle shops and create a truly signature style of wines.

So, what is genuinely boutique? That means we really do produce only small amounts of our wines, with around 70 tonnes of fruit coming in, or 5,500 dozen bottles of wine going out of our winery each year.

So, what’s so good about being boutique? It means we can stay true to traditional methods of winemaking, use real French oak barrels, pump over by hand at vintage and bottle our premiums under cork for the journey they’re going to take in your cellar.

So, what does that all mean? Well, since you’re only reading this and I haven’t just poured you a glass of wine, it’s slightly harder to explain than if we were really having this conversation at cellar door. Basically it means that our style of wine is complex, it’s exciting and it’s sometimes controversial, but that’s exactly what the winemaker is going for; an interesting nose, a perfect palate and a structure that can back up your dinner choice, your wine club’s scrutiny, or truly develop after 10 or 15 years of cellaring.

Still have more questions? That’s great, because I’ll be at the Visitor Centre’s pop up cellar door from Monday 6 February where I’ll do my best to answer your questions, and I look forward to your company over the next two weeks!

Cheers, Vanessa De Lisio


De Lisio Wines Pop Up Cellar Door
Monday 6 to Sunday 19 February , 10 am – 5 pm daily (to 4 pm on weekends)
McLaren Vale Visitor Centre, Main Road, McLaren Vale

Cheers to a back to back evening of Tour Down Under Breakaway fun, with The Vale Market and Cinema Among the Vines on TONIGHT at the McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre.

The Vale Market features local food vans, arts, crafts, jewellery, homewares PLUS a free bouncy castle for the kids. On from 4 pm to 8 pm tonight.

Once you’ve shopped the best of the local stalls, pull up a patch of lawn for a screening of ‘Daddy’s Home’ starring Will Ferrell from 8.45 pm.

De Lisio Wines is serving throughout the Markets and the Movie so drop by for after work drinks, or a wine to match your movie snacks!

Gold coin entry.

TONIGHT! Friday 16 December

Cinema Among the Vines is McLaren Vale’s answer to pairing great De Lisio Wines and local beers with a classic family movie.

Relax on the lawns with a light meal, pre-movie entertainment, send the kids off to enjoy the playground and activities then from the comfort of your deck chair, picnic rug or bean bag enjoy a fantastic twilight movie featuring Will Ferrell – ELF.

Join with friends and family for an entertaining evening under the stars at Cinema Among the Vines!

Gold coin entry. Open from 6 pm, movie starts at sunset.

Monday 17 October – Sunday 30 October
10 am – 5 pm Daily
McLaren Vale Visitor Centre, Main Road

The De Lisio Wines cellar door emerges just a few times a year at the McLaren Vale Visitor Centre, so take the opportunity to taste through our range, discuss the wines, and pick up some stock for your wine rack, at great prices.

Enjoy the full De Lisio Wines range of boutique premium wines, packed with character, created from McLaren Vale’s flagship varieties. Wine available for purchase by the glass or by the bottle to be enjoyed with the full café menu and tasting plates. Tour the ever-changing display in the Stump Hill Gallery, nestle into the rustic, rammed-earth cellar door, or relax on the covered deck overlooking the sweeping manicured lawns and the rolling hills of The Vale.


(photo by Angela Lisman Photography)

Thank you to everyone who joined our Label Art Dinner last night, we hope you enjoyed the evening, and your six bottles of the newly named ‘Sensuale’ Sangiovese Merlot will be on their way to you soon. For those of you who weren’t there – this is just some of what you missed below!

Welcome, Creative Department!

That’s you! Tonight you’re joining the De Lisio Wines team as our Creative Department, to critique, criticise, challenge and create a new character in our story. Of course, you’re also welcome to sit back and enjoy the show, the art, the food and the wine!

At De Lisio Wines we think one of the most exciting parts of a wine’s journey is its label design. We knew the wine, back when it was just a twinkle in the vineyard manager’s eye. Now, after all the hard work to subtly guide it to be ready to enjoy, it’s time to crystallise the wine’s personality into a character.

Tonight you don’t need to worry about the intricacies of sizes, spacing, colours or compliance. Think rustic and raw, think a butcher’s paper sketch pad—draw out your most striking and organic ideas.

Our label artist John Draper has bravely agreed to create another character with you tonight, after bringing to life Briar Tuck at 12 Paces at our 2015 Label Art Dinner. We hope you have as much fun working with John as we do.

The stories of our wines and labels develop from some of the most unlikely places. The ‘Quarterback’ concept was dreamt up in an airport, the ‘Honeypot’ was originally a seductive addition to the ‘Covert’ range, and is now a sweet favourite catching the eye of the boys and the girls. While the ‘Covert’ itself started as a spirited discussion between father and son.

The wine we’re labelling tonight is a Sangiovese Merlot blend, and our winemaker Tony De Lisio has a special passion for blending:

“Blending allows me to create a style reflecting what De Lisio Wines is all about, delivering a wine with texture and structure, richness, weight and length and most of all, the genuine complexity that can be best achieved by blending the best. I always say you can buy the colour green but it is far more artistic to blend yellow and blue to create your own shade of green.”

So have a taste of our new release, discuss it with the people around you and think about the story it’s telling you.

Cheers, from De Lisio Wines


Label Art Dinner Wine List

CMC Sparkling NV Chardonnay Pinot Noir
Softly textured with good fruit weight, finishing medium dry with crisp acidity

‘Honeypot’ Sparkling Moscato
Tasting of passionfruit, meringue and melon, not just another Moscato

‘Argento’ 2014 Pinot Grigio
Bouquet of honeysuckle, honeydew melon and ripe pear with light lemon citrus

‘Argento’ 2013 Cabernet Merlot
A perfect partnership offering flavours laced with black cherries and mulberries

‘Cleanskin’ 2015 Sangiovese Merlot
A seamless blend of light floral and aromatic Sangiovese with a hint of the sensual dark side of the Merlot

‘Quarterback’ 2010 Red Blend
Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot and Grenache working together as an unbeatable team

‘Quarterback’ 2013 Red Blend
The signature ‘Quarterback’ flavours in a fruit-driven new release vintage

‘The Covert’ 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Rich in black cherry and mocha with a fragrance of earthy briary tones and a hint of cedar

‘The Covert’ 2010 Shiraz
Bulging with mocha and chocolate, melded with rich fruits, dark berries and earthy spices

‘Catalyst’ 2013 Shiraz Grenache
The intention of this wine is to engage debate and opinion; ignite your drinking pleasure

‘Krystina’ 2012 Shiraz
A velvet mouth-feel allows you to experience spice box, pepper and blueberry flavours


It was so lovely to meet journalist Katie Spain last week, and what a wonderful review of our upcoming Label Art Dinner – it sounds like Katie’s looking forward to it as much as we are!

Published on Broadsheet, 31 May 2016
By Katie Spain

The McLaren Vale Sea and Vines Festival’s Label Art Dinner is Mr Squiggle meets Art Attack with a dash of Mad Men and a lot of wine.

On June 10, a group of diners will front up to the Stump Hill Gallery for a three-course meal, as they eat, they’ll decide on a name and design a label for a De Lisio wine.

Fleurieu illustrator John Draper will sketch the ideas as they’re shouted across the room. He says it’s a whole lot of boozy fun. “People start out relatively quiet but by the time the main course arrives they’re pretty well up and running.”

Winemaker Tony De Lisio will guide the brainstorming process and talk increasingly enthusiastic “artists” through four premium wine-tastings. As the evening progresses, so too will the label concept.

“We try to plan what will happen, but when you’ve got a big group of people in front of you and they’re shouting ideas, you can’t predict what type of design will emerge,” he says. “No one really talks about the development of this part of the product. It can be a lot of fun coming up with ideas, [and having] arguments with the designer [about] whether it’ll work when it gets to the printing plates.”

The final design will be used on a new-release cleanskin. Last year’s inaugural event resulted in the label Briar Tuck and The Duellist.

“Tony is the client, I’m the art department,” says Draper. “The creative department is this hotbed of guests. It’s a bit like mustering cats, especially when they all start singing.”

The Label Art Dinner will be held at 7pm on June 10 at Stump Hill Gallery, McLaren Vale. Tickets are $150 and include a six-pack of wine.

Monday 30 May – Sunday 26 June, 10 am – 5 pm Daily
De Lisio Wines Cellar Door, McLaren Vale Visitor Centre, Main Road



Sunday 3 June, 12 noon – 3 pm
Musical entertainment by Chesterfield Brass

Preview our Sea & Vines Sunday Experience band for free, or just enjoy an afternoon on the deck listening to all of your favourite rock, jazz and acoustic hits.

Sunday 12 June, 9 am – 5 pm
Sea & Vines Sunday Experience $30 (+bf)

Enjoy the best our region has to offer in a fun festival atmosphere. Entertainment all day from eight piece band Chesterfield Brass, local organic catering by Garden 2 Kitchen and premium boutique De Lisio wines.

Join us for all three sessions – no traffic, no travel, no lost time on your valuable long weekend. Three is better than one!

Special from 4 pm: $10 pizza + glass of wine
Chilli Prawn OR Margarita Pizza
Pinot Grigio OR Cab Merlot

Monday 13 June, 10 am – 3 pm
The Vale Market FREE ENTRY

Family entertainment, free bouncy castle, over 50 market stalls and a range of food vans.

The perfect laid-back family day out to enjoy a picnic among the vines, with a bottle of premium De Lisio wine.