The endless wheat filled plains began to give way to rolling hills, gum trees and pines. The colour green reappeared in the landscape, a colour we had sorely missed since leaving the swamps of Kakadu.
Suddenly we were driving through vines, rows and terraces of vineyards appeared in glades within the gum trees and pines as we twisted and turned through the narrow Clare Valley. We spent a couple of nights camping in the Clare, hiring bikes and touring the dozens of vineyards that have sprung up in this lush valley over the past hundred or so years.
Most wineries have a “Cellar Door” where you can sample their wares for free. Reisling is a speciality of the Clare, but there are also Pinot Gris, Pinot Noirs, Temprinillos and plenty of full luscious Shirazes!! We sampled many, bought few and cycled even less by the afternoon!
Sevenhill Cellars is the oldest winery in the region. Jesuits built it in 1851 and started making sacramental wine. Now it also produces premium white, red and fortified wines. We found them a bit stuffy however and had much more fun with the smaller boutique style outlets like Jeanneret Wines, where the samples were bigger and the atmosphere much more fun.
The pick of the bunch was The Little Red Grape, a cellar door promoting 12 different wine producers and a bakery. Tony guided us through the fantastic wines and also sold us port straight from the barrel at $4 a litre – bargain!
The cellars of Sevenhill, the oldest winery in the Clare valley
Ready for more Sazzle?
The cosy boutiques Cellar Door of Jeanneret with Tim behind the bar, our gracious, generous host
Looks like even the Wesleyans made it this far - no winery though!