Cellar Doors with Fires
On a winter's day, you'll probably want to snuggle up on the couch. We've got a much better idea - explore the Cellar Doors of the Clare valley with wicked red wine and fires!
Fires & Feeds
Your tummy's rumbling, time for a feed. Embrace the good food and wine culture at Paulett Wines Bush Devine Restaurant, where a modern take on Australian cuisine. Take a seat on their deck by overlooking the views of the Polish Hill River, there's plenty of heating to keep you warm. Heat up by the huge outdoor fire on the lawns at Mr Mick's Cellar Door and Kitchen, conveniently located just off the Riesling Trail and close to Clare Main Street. They also have a fire in the courtyard and in the indoor dining space, so you'll be kept toasty warm. Their tapas-style menu means if you want to try a bit of everything, you absolutely can and if you're not sure, just sit back and let the chef choose. A quaint cottage in the heritage-listed township of Mintaro houses Reillys Wines, their hearty-style menu reflects on the cosy cellar door, with the ambience of the wood fire keeping the chill at bay.
Taste first, eat second
Taste by the fire then move just next door to the restaurant, sounds like a perfect way to spend lunchtime. Pikes offers an experience for everyone, the Tasting Room (by appointment) is a great way to sample many varieties from the region, choose what you'd like and the staff will pour it at your table. Pikes Brewery offers craft beers and a beer garden menu for those up for a snack (or burger), or a fine-dining experience can be found at on-site Slate Restaurant. Dine under the olive tree or on the veranda at Skillogalee Wines, after first completing a tasting in their cellar door. You need to know what you like with lunch, right? This is an iconic spot in the Clare Valley for lunch, offering a picture-perfect setting with just as impressive food, enjoyed with wine as it's supposed to be.
A drive along Hughes Park Road
A must-do when visiting the Clare Valley is a scenic drive along Hughes Park Road. For many, this is incorporated with a stop into a cellar door or two, maybe even taste a craft beer paddle? The views along the drive are spectacular at any time, particularly in the cooler months when everything is green, so stop in and take the time to admire the surroundings. The Kilikanoon Wines Cellar Door is set in another old, stone cottage with the veranda leading views to the lawn, vineyards and beyond. Some days, you'll have to fight cellar door pup, Frankie, for the best spot by the fire, but we forgive him because he's just too cute! Around the corner sits Penna Lane Wines surrounded by even more vineyards and offering tastings of their Skilly Valley and Watervale rieslings side by side, or if it's that time of year where you just need a red by the fire, they've got you covered too. The Mitchell Wines family have a gorgeous courtyard area to enjoy their tasting flights in, or head inside and nestle in by the fire. The views are aplenty from the deck at Jeanneret Wines and Clare Valley Brewing Co are co-located, sharing a large open fireplace on the deck where you can enjoy a platter (or on Fridays a Fat Toastie) admiring the view. It's all undercover so no need to worry about the rain.
If you’ve hired bikes for the day and are hitting the trail (the Riesling Trail that is), chances are your first stop will be Tim Adams Wines. Here you can try their range or go one step further and taste your way through their Wine & Cheese flight, five perfect pairings made even better with the views & warmth of the fire. In Clare, you’ll find Knappstein Wines, one of the oldest wine names in the region. They know what they’re doing with wine, so much so that they’ll even show you their tricks with a Blending Session, or if you’re lucky, a visit to their cellars. If the suns out, head to the Blis Garden and if it’s not, snuggle up against one of the many comfy couches that make up Shut the Gate Wines cellar door. If you’re feeling peckish, they also host one of the largest providores in the area, so pick out your favourites and enjoy a platter. Just north of Spring Gully Conservation Park, you’ll find Eldredge Wines, and might even get to taste with Leigh Eldredge himself! Keeping you warm on the deck is a huge open fire, make yourself cosy on the chesterfields for the afternoon. Everybody knows a Good Catholic Girl, but have you tasted their wines? Julie Barry has set up The Vestry tasting room helping to make sure your hydration levels and spirits remain high. At the southern end of the region sits Wines by KT, open most days you can taste a range of classic and alternative styles to the Clare Valley on one of the cosy armchairs through the cellar door, she even has a gin made from one of the Rieslings. Last, but certainly not least, is Crabtree Wines in Watervale. A small but mighty brand, Crabtree is well known for its fortified, bold reds, handcrafted and very limited wines.
Now you've got a list to go by, time to start planning (and booking) your day, just don't forget your coat.