McLaren Vale Winery – Tinlins

This weeks review is a definate change of pace.  In today’s economic climate cost effective drinking is more sought after than for as long as I can remember.  So this week I though with this in mind we could review Tinlins.  Tinlins is a cost effective bulk wine supplier whose motto is “We fill your container”.  Tinlins is a bit of a McLaren Vale icon where locals have for many years bought their bulk wines (particularly fortifieds) for their every day drinking pleasure.  All wines are sold by the litre and they will fill any container you have that is 1 litre or larger (750ml bottles will not be filled).  Alternatively, they have all wines available in 750 ml or flagon glass bottles, 5 litre casks or 25 litre plastic containers.  Flagons, casks and 25 litre conatainers can refilled on subsequent visits.  For a budget wise wine tasting and purchase come on down to Tinlins of McLaren Vale.

As the photo below shows the road sign and cellar door is best described as rustic (they both look the same they did when I first visited Tinlins 25 years ago).

Tinlins Road Sign

Tinlins Road Sign

Tinlins Cellar Door

Tinlins Cellar Door

Tinlins can be found on the main road between McLaren Vale and McLaren Flat as shown on the cellar door location map.  Their contact details can be found on the Cellar Door Contact Details Page.

All wines are available for tasting, though some maybe put off the squat plastic cups that are supplied.  The lables on the bottles are generic – no mention of grape varieties (or proportions of varieties) or vintage – something I found very strange on my first couple of visits (many years apart).  Another tip so you don’t get caught is that this McLaren Vale cellar door does not accept credit cards or have Efpos facilities – they only deal with cash payments.  I normally do not have alot of cash on me and I use credit ot Efpos for most of my purchases – yes I was caught on my last visit.

I did not taste all the wines so I will only be commenting on some, however the wine list and prices can be found in Tinlins Price List

Reviewed Wines

Dry White

This is a blend of a number of grape varieties and I found the wine had a chemical aroma and after taste.  I could not determine what varieties were present.  The wine was very dry and if this was to your liking I would suggest this be drunk very cold (to help reduce the chemical aromas and flavours).  The wine was not unpleasent but neither was it pleasent and I would not be going back for more of this.


The Claret (as well as the “Burgandy”) is a Grenache / Shiraz blend.  This batch (as I cannot call it a vintage) was better than the last one I tasted about 18 months ago.  Typical generous fruit flavours but with a slightly bitter finish.  I was assured that this wine had a good following, but not quite to my liking.

Dry Red

This is a Shriaz based wine and the best table wine from Tinlins.  A little lighter than normally assocciated with McLaren Vale Shiraz and was a little short on the palate.  Pleasant to drink in a bulk wine sort of way.  I had a cask of this last winter as cooking wine – though I am not sure how much went into the cooking!

Cream Sherry

One of Tinlins best sellers and I can understand why.  This wine is smooth, not too sweet and easy to drink.  Last winter I had a cask of this and was my drink when I got home from the public transport commute from the city – I needed a drink after spending an hour with the “Great Un-washed” (thanks Neil for the quote).


The muscat is also popular as it is a sweet light style Muscat, with the typical rasin flavours that is also easy to drink.  I can imagine many a local drinking this one after dinner by the open fire.

Ginger Wine

This has a strong aroma of ginger – in fact that is all you can really smell and taste.  I bought some of this to help ward off the winter colds – did not work, but a good excuse.  The wine reminds me of my youth drinking Green Ginger Wine mixed with scotch – ouch I can still feel the hangover.

About Lonely Grape

Passionate about wine - particularly McLaren Vale wines. Check out my blog on different winery reviews and my wine sales web site
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2 Responses to McLaren Vale Winery – Tinlins

  1. bettiwettiwoo says:

    Interesting. Did you get any sense of whether they are doing better (as in more) business now than, say, 18 months ago?

    • barkersj says:

      They tend to be a bit shy so not alot of information from the cellar door – just try the wines and then buy – they only take cash and the volumes sold are recorded manually. They seem to do well with the fortifides and rely on local repeat business rather than an inflow of cellar door “visitors”.

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