Clare Valley Winemaking
With more than 150 years of winemaking history, the Clare Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Ngadjuri people, with Europeans arriving initially in Penwortham in 1839 with the first vines appearing in the early 1840’s. The Clare Valley is only 70kms north of the possibly more well known Barossa Valley, but certainly no less renowned for it’s wines. As Australian wine regions go, the Clare Valley is small, accounting for only 1.3 per cent of the nation’s crush; however, its reputation is known internationally.
Clare Valley Geography
The Clare Valley itself is 35kms in length and a slim 5-10kms in width, with vineyards lying between 320 and 570 meters above sea level, such height possibly explaining the vibrant personality of the white wines produced in this region, particularly the Riesling, with strong lemon and lime characteristics.
Anchored on the southern end by the historic town of Auburn, the Clare Valley has a unique beauty all its own. Rolling hills typical of wine regions, divided by the Horrocks Highway and peppered with historic buildings, a constant reminder of the beginning of life in this part of South Australia. The town of Clare itself is at the northern end of the Clare Valley, and is the main hub of activity in the region.
A growing gourmet scene is developing in the Clare Valley. The Rising Sun Hotel in Auburn has previously won the South Australian Bistro of the Year award, and more recently the relatively new SEED.Kitchen was awarded a Chef Hat in the highly regarded Australian Good Food & Travel Guide.
Clare Valley Events
The Clare Valley holds a number of major events throughout the year, with the largest being the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend (19-22 May in 2017). The Clare Valley Racecourse hosts three annual race days amongst the vineyards, the biggest being the Easter Saturday meet which is always a hearty affair.
If you’re looking for a travel experience that includes great food, world class wine, beautiful outback scenery with history and character, the Clare Valley is a must visit. Researching the area will assist your visit, and we recommend a visit to the South Australian Tourism website where a copy of the Clare Valley visitors guide is well worth downloading.
Clare Valley ‘Wines for the Boot’
As recommended by Gourmet Traveller Wine (2013):
- 2012 Jim Barry Riesling
- 2008 Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz
- 2012 Kilikanoon* Mort’s Block Riesling
- 2009 Kilikanoon* Prodigal Grenache
- 2012 Pauletts Riesling
- 2012 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling
- 2012 Mount Horrocks* Cordon Cut Riesling
- 2012 Skillogalee* Gewurztraminer
- 2009 Knappstein* Entreprise Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2008 Sevenhill* Brother John May Reserve Release Shiraz
*these cellar doors are visited on the Tour de South Australia Vineyards itinerary