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Settlers Gin at McLaren Vale Distilling Company

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by Karen Ross (subscribe)
I love slow travel, slow food and discovering new adventures and delicious regional food in new locations. I'm on an indulgent quest and I'd love you to follow at www.walkeatshare.wordpress.com
Published March 29th 2016
Muntrie berries, saltbush and lemon myrtle
I'm getting very serious about Gin research now, after visiting The Howling Owl and The Steam Exchange at Goolwa. So in everyone's best interests I took myself off to McLaren Vale Distilling Company recently to further my education and so that I could share my knowledge with my readers, of course.

Rowland and Shelley Short, of Maximus Wines, have won awards for their wines in recent years but Rowland, it seems, has been keen on the idea of making his own, home grown, gin. He achieved this dream one year ago by making gin from grapes grown on his property, distilling it on his property and then bottling it on his property. The result is Settlers Gin.

McLaren Vale Distilling Company
McLaren Vale Distilling Company at Maximus Wines


During my onerous research, I learned that most gin is made from grain. Settlers, however, is made from wine spirit. Rowland explains this results in gin that is 'softer on your mouth', in other words it doesn't burn.

He has developed four types of gin; There's a Rare Dry, which is driven by aromatics and an Oak Aged which is more complex. The Old Tom has flavours of sweetness and aniseed and then there's a Sloe Gin, made from sloe berries which grow on a box thorn bush. And Sloe Gin is red in colour. Another new gin fact I have learned.

One of the main ingredients in gin is the juniper berry, which grows on the conifer tree. Conifers are not found in Australia and therefore the little junipers have to be imported. Rowland was determined that most of the other botanicals in his South Australian gin, were to be sourced from South Australia.

He now uses muntrie berries and saltbush from the Coorong and lemon myrtle from the Adelaide Hills in his range of botanicals.

Four types of gin
Four types of gin


The name 'Settlers' refers to the settlers in South Australia's history. Lots of sailors who, I have no doubt, drank lots of gin.

Each bottle of Settlers Gin has a garnish label with at least one suggested garnish to complement the flavour of the gin.

Garnish label
Garnish label


It's a bit like different recipes for different gin drinks.



Rowland is a man of many talents and, as a consequence, makes vodka and liqueurs as well as gin and wine. You'll find him in the Cellar Door of Maximus Wines in McLaren Vale.

Other liqueurs
Other liqueurs


The cellar door is open from 11am until 4pm on weekends and public holidays. Gin tasting is not only a popular pastime, but also a great learning opportunity.
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Why? Gin tasting is not only a popular pastime but also a great learning opportunity.
When: 11am until 4pm weekends and public holidays.
Phone: 08 83238777
Where: 197 Foggo Rd, McLaren Vale South Australia
Cost: $5 for a gin tasting
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