2020 Penny's Hill Malpas Road McLaren Vale Merlot

  Situated in McLaren Vale which happens to be one of Australia's most exciting wine regions, here are things you would want to know about the Penny’s Hill Winery . History Established in 1988, this promising winery is named after the hill at the base of which it is located. Considering this winery has all the elements of a great vineyard in place, the vines were planted in 1991 at the property in a unique narrow-row configuration to amplify vineyard productivity along with grape and wine quality. In the year 1993, the newly-planted Malpas Road property was purchased, followed by an adjacent highly prized hay-producing paddock in 1996 that was planted to vines and named Goss Corner. After wo years, the original Goss family homestead, ‘Ingleburne’ was added to the Malpas and Goss properties to reconnect to make it an entire holding. Ownership & The Team Founder Tony Parkinson passed on the ownership and management of the business to his good friend and fellow Sou

Winery Adventure: Porter Family Vineyards


Porter Family Vineyards logo

Nestled 600 feet about the valley floor in the Coombsville Region of Napa Valley, you will find a winery that is off the beaten path.  This isn't just any winery.  It is a very special place with incredibly friendly people and delicious wines.  Porter Family Vineyards farms 14 acres of vineyards, concentrating primarily on Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  Here are some of the highlights of our recent visit to this magical place.

2020 Porter Family Vineyards Sandpiper Rosé

Our visit started with a semi-sweet and refreshing cool glass of 2020 Sandpiper Rosé.  We arrived at Porter Family Vineyards just before 1:30pm and the sun was in full force with a temperature reaching 90 degrees.  This wine was a welcome sight and very tasty!

Our Porter Family Vineyards Host, Luis

Our host for the tour and tasting was Luis.  He was super friendly, knowledgeable and has a true passion for the wines and the property.  A good winery host can make or break a tasting experience and we felt very lucky to have Luis show us around.  He told us that he is getting married later this year on the Porter property in the cave.  Lucky guy!

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at Porter Family Vineyards

Looking out at mature grapes never gets old.  The dark purple/deep blue color in the sun is stunning!

Tasting grapes at Porter Family Vineyards

We tasted both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes from the vines at Porter Family Vineyards.  Shhh!  Don't tell the owners.  Just add it to our wine shipment.  Actually, Luis encouraged us to taste the grapes and while we thought they were perfect, Luis said that they still had about 3 weeks on the vines before harvest.  The Syrah grapes were very sweet and juicy.

Wine barrels at Porter Family Vineyards

We will never tire of this view.  The way the barrels are marked shows not only the dedication to detail that this boutique family winery has, but it also makes for great pictures and a very welcoming presentation when you enter the winery cave.  We just need to figure how to get one of these barrels back home for our wine cellar project.  (Hint, hint Porter Family - empty is ok with us!)

Custom wine storage at Porter Family Vineyards

Now that we have seen this incredible wine rack, we are absolutely obsessed and need one.  Luis told us that everyone asks about these during their winery visit, but they aren't for sale.  This is one of the most beautiful and unique wine racks we have seen in recent years.

The cave at Porter Family Vineyards

This pictures will give you a little better perspective of what our intimate tasting experience was like.  You have to be a wine club member (family member the call it) in order to visit with Porter Family Vineyards.  We are blessed that our friends Sarah & Richard are members here, which is the only reason this experience was made possible.  It was absolutely lovely!

Tasting lineup at Porter Family Vineyards

While the wine tasting line up likely varies throughout the year, this was our offering during our visit:
  • 2020 Sandpiper Rosé
  • 2018 Beverly's Chardonnay
  • 2016 Sandpiper Red Blend
  • 2016 Cave Dwellers Blend
  • 2016 Barre Azure Blend
  • and a "bonus" pour of the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon
The toughest part of tasting these wines was deciding what to purchase.  Everyone in our party gladly purchased wines and we ended up with the 2016 Sandpiper Red and 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon.


As you know, the amount of food that is provided with each wine tasting (not all wineries offer charcuterie or light faire) varies greatly.  Since this was our second winery visit of the day and we had just eaten a tasty Mexican cuisine lunch, we didn't need much.  But the snacks that were served with the wines were perfectly paired.  They included:
  • Rosemary Marcona Almonds (2018 Beverly's Chardonnay)
  • Aged Gouda Cheese (2016 Sandpiper Red Blend)
  • Iberico Cheese (2016 Cave Dwellers Blend)
  • Porter Cabernet Chocolate Truffle (2016 Barre Azure Blend
Melissa at Porter Family Vineyards

Trying to decide which wines are your favorites can be a tough decision.  Luckily we agreed on just about everything.  I love this lady!

Porter Family Vineyards wine

Everyone of the red wines at Porter Family Vineyards was similar to this.  Gorgeous, opaque colors that went to the edge of the glass and boasted fragrant aromas.

Napa Scott enjoys Porter Family Vineyards

Wines, wines and more wines!  Thankfully Napa Scott kept detailed notes on what everyone ordered.  

Intimate tasting area at Porter Family Vineyards

All of the views in the cave are beautiful.  Here is another intimate area to taste the wines.  We felt very lucky to taste the main cave tasting area but this view is not bad either!

Four legged friends at Porter Family Vineyards

We met this four-legged cutie.  Winston belongs to one of the owners and he was quite happy to introduce himself to all of us on our way out.  Seeing this guy made all of us miss our pups back home.

Wine Tasting at Porter Family Vineyards

The team at Porter Family Vineyards knocked it out of the park for us.  Ken Bernards makes some amazing wines and the passion that the owners (and winemaker) have is evident in each bottle.  We couldn't ask for a better group of friends in which to experience wine country and make these memories.  We look forward to returning to this amazing gem during future Napa visits.  For more information on how to acquire wine or become a club member, please visit the Porter Family Vineyards web site.  You'll be glad you did!


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