Experience 'A Little More' Clare Valley
The Clare Valley specialises in ‘bucket list’ experiences. Think an e-bike on the famous Riesling Trail, a tour (& tasting) of the historic Sevenhill Cellars & Monastery or a dining experience on the verandah at Skillogalee Wines. So, that’s one weekend in the Valley and below you will find a list of indulgences to plan another vacation away.
Pikes Wines is a household name throughout Australia, recognised through achieving the ‘People’s Choice’ awards for Best Winery Experience in the 2022 and 2023 Halliday Wine Companion Awards. Chances are that a glass of the Traditionale Riesling has made it to your glass before. A brand new, exclusive experience has landed at arguably the most picturesque location on their estate, the Pruner’s Hut. With a hilltop location, the stone cottage is surrounded by vineyards overlooking Pike’s cellar door and restaurant. Meeting at the cellar door, you’ll be driven to the location where a private guided tasting of 8 of Pikes estate-grown wines will be waiting for you. And if the gourmet platter that comes with this experience is not enough to satisfy your hunger, ask to finish with a tour of the estate and the Chef’s private three-course lunch. Your host for the tasting will likely be Pud, who’s been with Pikes for over 10 years, but rest assured you will be well taken care of by any member of the Pike’s team.
Paulett Wines Riesling Degustation
In response to the many challenges faced by tourism & hospitality businesses during the pandemic (think limited capacity and social distancing), local operators fired up their creativity to ensure they could still cater for guests to the Clare Valley. Hence, Paulett Wines launched their ‘Digital Riesling Degustation,’ where Winemaker Jarrad Steele, Head Chef Thomas ‘Erky’ Erkelenz and Wine Commentator Nick Ryan, combine their talents and knowledge to deliver a guided experience, virtually. ‘Look mum – no hands!’ The online tasting component of this experience enables you to choose any day that suits, for your 6-course lunch menu. It’s an online, visual, tasting masterclass that you can match to each course. Paulett's Cellar Door and Bush Devine restaurant overlook the stunning Polish Hill region which sits on the eastern side of the Clare Valley. Here they produce stunning rieslings grown on grey loam soil over sandstone interspersed with broken slate. This soil type causes the wines to take on a distinctive mineral note, which you will learn all about. (24 hours notice required)
Immerse yourself in a complete paddock-to-plate experience at Penobscot Farm and the Watervale Hotel. You’ll meet at the Hotel before heading to the organic, bio-dynamic Penobscot Farm that supplies the majority of the produce for the hotel kitchen, including fruits, nuts, leaves and vegetables. You will be encouraged to hear, see, smell, feel and taste your way through the garden as you learn about their farming practices. “But there are only five senses; what is the sixth?” you may ask. The sixth sense is energetic. Bio-dynamic farming requires an intuitive energetic connection with the earth and the unique environment that is the farm. Activity on the farm is dictated by the moon – both times of the day and times of the lunar month. After you’ve explored the farm, you’ll head back to the Hotel and sit down to enjoy a Six Course Degustation Dinner, each course paired with a wine from their extensive wine list (which has been crowned best in Australia), or matched mocktails for the designated driver.
Knappstein Wines is a name that has been around Clare Valley for a long time, and this experience will allow you to explore the region's unique terroir and ancient soils, on a Terroir to Table lunch. Learn about the history and taste their estate wines, including Riesling, Cabernet and Shiraz (the secret trilogy of the Clare Valley) at the site where the grapes were grown. Yep, your tasting is held in their vineyard which also offers incredible panoramic views, served alongside a seasonal grazing lunch. If that’s not enough, why not have a go at being a winemaker yourself and blend your own wine? Hosted by the winemaker in the original brewery (1878), learn the art of winemaking in this incredible setting. Best of all? The cellar door is just off Clare’s main street, very convenient. Check their calendar for dates.
Ever wondered what the best Shiraz in the world tastes like? Kilikanoon Wines happen to make two of them, both available to taste as part of the Revelation Tasting. Hosted in a private room with a dedicated member of the team, embark on a journey to better understand why the Clare Valley is so unique whilst tasting six of their best wines, including the pinnacle of their collection, the 2018 Revelation Shiraz (nowhere else can you try this outstanding wine). Also in the lineup, you’ll find the 2009 Mort's Reserve Riesling, 2020 Walton Grenache, 2018 Tregea Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 Oracle Shiraz (their flagship wine) and the 2018 Attunga 1865 Shiraz. A bucket list experience for those that seriously love good wine.
Go behind the scenes with the Mitchells at their family winery, established in 1975. The Mitchells sure do know how to entertain, (it was Matriarch Jane Mitchell herself who founded the idea of Gourmet Weekend back in the 80s), so rest assured you are guaranteed a memorable day. From soil to glass, a member of the Mitchell family will take you on a fully immersive tour of operations – starting in the vineyard, wandering through the winery and barrel hall before ending with a private tasting at the cellar door. Learn the entire process of how their wines are crafted and eventually end up in your glass, a fully immersive experience.
So, if you think you’ve seen all there is to see – think again, and we’ll see you in the Clare Valley soon!