This South Australian region is a hive of activity
Forget what you think you know about Clare Valley in South Australia. Tradition is alive and well, but so is a spirit of innovation and experimentation.
WINEMAKER MARNIE Roberts surprised many – including herself – when she decided to leave the established Clare winery Claymore to launch her own family wine brand, Matriarch & Rogue. “Sure, it seems like not much changes in Clare,” Marnie says. “But new ideas and new opportunities are placing us on the nervy edge, where it feels like significant things are about to happen.”
Marnie is stretching far beyond the region’s historical output from a tight cluster of family-owned vineyards to present a more complex tapestry of styles and ideas about wine. Matriarch & Rogue has emerged because it gives Marnie the chance to explore a new crop of emerging grape varieties in her own way – saperavi, nero d’Avola, montepulciano and vermentino.
“I grew up in Mildura and the Alternative Varieties Wine Show really defined my interest in winemaking,” she says. “Now I have ideas about where I want to take these styles. Perhaps there’s a hint of madness about me doing this, but I don’t want to restrict myself. I want to give it 100 per cent.”
Having made her wine in sheds since 2014, Marnie took the decisive step this year of constructing her own winery and quitting her day job to make the new label her sole concern. The move has drawn support from winemaking peers, with many of them also dabbling