Clare Valley Wineries: The Heart Of Australian Riesling

by Alexandra Matkowsky

The Clare Valley wine region is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, best known for Riesling wine. Its winemaking history dates back 150 years. The first Clare Valley Wineries vines were planted in the 1830s by European settlers.

It is just a one and a half hour drive, approximately 120km North of Adelaide, South Australia. Today, more the 5,000 hectares are under vine with around 50 cellar doors.

Immerse yourself in an adventure through the country roads. Alternatively, you can ride a bike and travel through the villages. Stopping at cellar doors, art galleries and cafes along the famous Riesling Trail.

How to get there

Fancy a road trip? The Clare Valley is a 9 and a half hour drive from Melbourne. And just a 1 and a half hour drive from Adelaide.

By Car:

The Clare Valley is only a 90-minute drive from Adelaide. Head North, leaving the city at Gepps Cross. The most direct route is to follow Port Wakefield Road onto the Northern Expressway. And then turn left onto Horrocks Highway, just after the bypass to Gawler. Alternatively, if driving from Port Augusta. Head South on the A1 Highway and take the turnoff from Crystal Brook to Horrocks Highway. Or for the scenic route, take Horrocks Pass to Wilmington, and then follow Horrocks Highway through the Southern Flinders Ranges.

By Bus:

Several coach services, such as Yorke Peninsula Coach Lines, operate between Adelaide and the Clare Valley.

By Air:

Private and charter aircrafts can utilise the Clare Aerodrome. Located 14 kilometres North of Clare, off Horrocks Highway and RM Williams Way. 

Alternatively, flights arrive daily at Adelaide Airport. Hire cars are available to drive 90 minutes to the Clare Valley vineyards.

Wineries

As the heart of Australian Riesling. The Clare Valley is home to some of the best Riesling wines in the country. As well as other wine varieties including Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Clare Valley is known for its moderate continental climate. With warm summer days with cooling afternoon and night breezes – slowly ripening the vines.

The cellar doors are within 40km of each other, many residing in close proximity.

The Clare Valley Wineries only produce 1.3 of Australian wine. However, the region’s wine is internationally acclaimed and appears in five-star restaurants and aircrafts around the world.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to the Clare Valley. Here are our top 6 wineries to indulge in…

1.Sevenhill Cellars

The first winery established amongst the Clare Valley Wineries in South Australia.

Amazing wine, informative staff and a memorable experience are what to expect when visiting this rich history winery.

Sevenhill was settled back in 1851 by the Society of Jesus to produce sacramental wine. This tradition is still continued through the winery today, but it is now also highly regarded for its premium wines. The historic winery and cellar door, St Aloysius’ Church, the College and surrounding vineyards and spiritual sites give visitors an opportunity to appreciate great wines. Whilst also understanding Sevenhill’s religious and historic significance.

2. Paulett Wines

An award-winning winery. Paulett Wines came about when the Paulett family relocated from the Hunter Valley in 1982, to the Clare Valley. Neil and Alison Paulette have created a family-orientated business which focuses on making high quality, consistent wine.

Very friendly staff with quick service is what you’ll receive when visiting Paulett Wines. They have a fantastic cellar door and restaurant with amazing wines to accompany. Grab a glass (or bottle) of reasonably priced wine and enjoy the stunning views overlooking the vineyards and beyond.

3. Crabtree Watervale Wines

The estate was founded in 1849 and was originally an orchard growing various seasonal fruits.
Robert Crabtree purchased the property in 1984. He built a small modern winery, renovated the historic homestead and upgraded the vineyard.

Crabtree Wines is a boutique small winery, meaning the wines produced become vintage and are very limited in production. Award-winning, hand-crafted wines are available to try at the cellar door, 7 days a week.

Crabtree Wines pride themselves on unique & delicious wine, friendly staff and intimate, memorable tasting experiences. Today, the winery is thriving and they are adamant on keeping Robert Crabtree’s initial vision alive.

4. Claymore Wines

Claymore wines began back in 1997. An Adelaide medical professional realising the opportunity to indulge his passions for great wine, music and Liverpool FC. What was once a passion has now grown into a boutique business. Claymore wines produce in excess of 10,000 cases of premium wine annually.

Friendly staff and great wine are what to expect when visiting this smaller winery.

If you’re a Liverpool FC fan, they have a whole range of wines inspired by the football.

5. Eldredge Wines

Eldredge’s Cellar Door opened in December 1994 with a beautifully restored cellar door cottage.

Eldredge wines are produced from 100% Clare Valley fruit. Their focus is to create high-quality, affordable wines. The aim is to represent the wineries character, but also the Clare Valley as a whole.

Eldredge Wines is a uniquely picturesque venue. It is perfect for weddings, functions, or just to enjoy a glass with a cheese plate to compliment. Enjoy the stunning views from their newly renovated deck overlooking the dam and more.

6. Jim Barry Wines

Jim Barry was full of drive and community spirit. This helped shape South Australia’s Clare Valley as a benchmark producer of world-class Riesling. It also cemented its place as one of Australia’s premier wine regions. Jim Barry was the first qualified winemaker in the Clare Valley in 1947.

He helped define the Clare Valley region as one of Australia’s best for Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. At the Clarevale Cooperative where he worked as a winemaker for 22 years.

In 1974, Jim Barry Wines was born. Today, two generations of the Barry family ensure the legacy will grow and continue into the future. Thus, ensuring Jim Barry’s dream is kept alive.

The Barry family name is well known amongst the Clare Valley Wineries. Their ties to the local community still continue today.

The distinguished history of quality and innovation that started in the 1970s. With a small production of home-made wines made by Jim Barry himself, will continue to grow for years to come.

Things to do

Get in the car and discover all the Clare Valley has to offer. Explore the region’s villages and wineries, nestled in the picturesque valley. Admire the stunning vineyards, enjoy the impeccable farmland and adore the overall beauty of the region. 

We recommend hiring a bike and exploring the famous Riesling Trail. The trail stretches 33km long and in total is a 4.5-hour bike ride but has numerous stops along the way. You can explore cellar doors, art galleries or quaint towns and so much more.

Throughout the year, the Clare Valley hosts a number of great events. From country shows to gourmet food and wine events and everything in between. There is also the great annual Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend. This is held each May and has been for over 30 years. There is also the annual Clare Valley Easter Races and the Burra Picnic Races to explore. 

We recommend making a holiday of your time in the Clare Valley and experiencing all it has to offer.

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