Cellars, Clare Valley, photography, Travel, Wine Cats, Wineries
I thought you might enjoy a look at the South Australian countryside (and weather!) via a trip to the Clare Valley. It was a day trip, and to be honest, five hours in the car for a three and a half hour look at some wineries and some lunch was a bit much, but that was the time we had, so we took it.
The weather was predicted to be four seasons in a day, and it didn’t disappoint, but it also didn’t keep us from having a good time! Having grown up in Southern Ohio, we know what comprehensive weather can be like. Undaunted, and well armed with umbrellas and warm clothing, we embarked.
Our first stop was Skillogalee. When we first visited this cellar door, about 28 years ago it was the tiniest, most rustic place you can imagine. Now, they serve lunches and have a separate, cosy tasting room. We often enjoy their Riesling and Ports. Our daughter chose a port to take home.
Our next stop was Sevenhill Cellars, a Jesuit monastery, which started by making sacramental wine back in 1851. The last time we stopped here, there was no visitors area, just a tiny cellar door and you pretty much had to know what you wanted to buy. Now they have opened up the actual cellar with huge kegs, and have a lovely tasting room. It is heartening to see these wineries being successful after so many years of hard work.
We were fortunate for a break in the weather at Sevenhill, so I indulged in a quick burst of photography. Just as well, my efforts were severely dampened the rest of the trip.
When I posted about our trip to Coonawarra last year, I showed you a book called ‘Wine Dogs’, and one of the lovely subjects of that book. Sevenhill had a book called ‘Wine Cats’. Their resident wine cat, looked up at me obligingly from its fresh hay bed in a half barrel, but not happily (as cats do), to allow me a photo.
All the while it was raining and growing colder. By the time we finished our pub lunch at the Middle Pub in Clare (roast lunch was fine, not remarkable), the rain had stopped momentarily. Little did we know it was gathering forces.
Our first stop after lunch was Tim Adams winery. The tasting room was nice enough but overall the setting and character were not as remarkable as our other stops; however my husband loves their big reds and especially one called ‘The Fergus’. The name alone is fabulous, and that’s before we’ve had one or two. Suddenly the Scottish accents come out and all bets are off! My favourite, though, is one called ‘Aberfeldy’, and at $65 a bottle, no wonder!! Delicious.
At this stage the temps were about 5.5C (about 43F) and the rain suddenly turned to hail. We had decided to take a slight detour a few kilometres out of our way to visit a well known landmark, Martindale Hall. We had to pull off to the side of the road in case the hail became any larger and damaged our daughter’s new car. After about 10 minutes we moved along. Martindale Hall was used for the interior scenes in the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock. The exterior location shots were done at the actual Hanging Rock, located in Victoria. This is a well known, classic Australian movie, but possibly not that well known internationally. (For a brilliant 3 minute video and history of the Hall, go here.)
It’s worth mentioning this series of photos of hail, daughter in rain, and rainbow after were taken within a 15 minute time frame! I know this is not remarkable for most of you living in temperate climates, but for us desert dwellers it is memorable!
Our final stop was Pike’s Winery. Lovely white wines though they have reds as well; I especially liked a Chardonnay, and I usually am not fond of Chardonnays as they are too heavily ‘oaked’. But this one was very light.
But, I’m afraid I reverted to character, in the end; lingering over capturing the amazing colours of the autumn in Clare, instead of tasting the fruit of the vine. To sip or snap… that is a very serious question.
I travelled through the Claire Valley many years ago, and it has stayed in my heart! So thanks for taking me on your virtual trip. That rain/hail sounded amazing. Do I remember rightly that the signature wine of the area is Riesling? The autumn colours of the vineyards, if you could have seen them (!), would have been spectacular.
Yes, you remember correctly the signature wine of Clare is Riesling, but they have some delicious reds now too. Oddly, the vines were not spectacularly coloured, they were a bit dull, possibly from the light, but also possibly from the recent wet weather.
Hmmm, maybe you need to bright sunlight to bring out the colours.
This post walks me down memeory lane. I have visited the Clare Valley twice, once was in winter on a day similar to what you have described. I loved the rows of stark leafless vine, the odd deciduous tree clinging to its colours and of course, the wine. We bought a wine dogs book brought it home and made an insert page for our own beloved pooch.
Haha, I love that you made an insert page for your own beloved doggie in the Wine Dogs book! Why not!
So glad you went for the snap option, Ardys. Wonderful photos, as always xx
Thank you Betty. I can’t help myself, nor should I!
I think your autumn shots are just lovely – not being a wine drinker (yes, I know, scandalous being a winemaker’s wife lol) I always pick snap….I’m glad you did too. Clare is well know as the coldest place in the state (and that coming from the folk down here in the South East!) so cloud cover saves you from the bone biting cold and provides that perfectly wet, grey tone to capture contrasting autumn (or wine) reds. Having to live with the weather every day one must come up with some sort of artistic angle on it LOL
I love the trips you take. And the snaps. The autumn colours are amazing. I said to the G.O. a week or so ago that in Sydney we don’t see much in the way wonderful autumn colours. Except for one cold snap weekend it almost looks and feels like [coolish] summer still in Sydney. I enjoy good riesling so am looking forward to including Clare Valley wineries on the planned trip with Mrs S. next year,
Thanks for the trip Ardys. You made it very interesting, so interesting in fact that I never once noticed the weather. I hope you bought enough bottles to cheer you through the Winter months.
xxx Massive Hugs xxx
Laurin Lindsey said:
Thank you for introducing yourself on my blog : ) I love Australia and this little trip you took is interesting. Have not seen much of the southern part. I love the last picture…the colors combination and contrasting leaf shapes are beautiful!
This was another of your movable feasts, Ardys, where all the components of a great story fall into place. The setting off on an adventure, the food, the wine, the flowers, the colors, the near downfall of our hero’s journey–all a tale of suspense and relief. And the added bonus of a few good names to seek out. A sprightly simple saga.