RIES­LING AND ROMANCE

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - DESTINATION SOUTH AUSTRALIA - ELISSA DO­HERTY

The life of a wine­maker con­jures up a raft of ro­man­tic images: toil­ing in the fresh air, shi­raz-soaked Sun­days by an open fire and sun­down­ers in the vines. Meet Peter Barry, head of the acclaimed Jim Barry Wines, and it ap­pears at first blush to be no fan­tasy.

By day, the Clare Val­ley vet­eran drives us to a se­cret look­out to watch the sun rise, re­gal­ing us with the his­tory of the third-gen­er­a­tion win­ery as kan­ga­roos hop by.

By night, he holds court at Clare’s lat­est din­ing hotspot, Seed Wine­house & Kitchen, se­lect­ing the finest red to de­canter and rat­tling off the menu by mem­ory.

He’s so en­am­oured with the rus­tic restau­rant, he jokes, that he even bought a mo­tel next door: “It’s stum­bling dis­tance away if I need it!”

The prom­i­nent wine­maker has turned the clutch of dated rooms into lux­ury suites called The Mill Apart­ments, with free­stand­ing bath­tubs, com­pli­men­tary bot­tles of Jim Barry wine and tree­top views of Hutt River. It’s just one ex­am­ple in a re­gion un­der­go­ing an evo­lu­tion, and mak­ing a name for it­self be­yond its famed ries­ling.

A week­end slosh­ing about the Clare Val­ley of­fers a tast­ing platter of ex­pe­ri­ences as fine din­ing restau­rants, ar­ti­san food out­lets and up-mar­ket lodg­ings pop up, and winer­ies stretch their legs and ap­peal to a new mar­ket.

The pocket-sized re­gion boasts about 30 cel­lar doors in many guises, from tra­di­tional stone cot­tages to farm sheds and mod­ern build­ings.

Shut the Gate win­ery, for ex­am­ple, is a mix of eclec­tic wares and comfy couches, hip wine la­bels dec­o­rated with art and fa­bles, and gourmet fare.

Up the road, work your way through the pres­ti­gious As­set Col­lec­tion in a so­phis­ti­cated tast­ing room at Ki­likanoon, and dis­cover why James Hal­l­i­day’s Aus­tralian Wine Com­pan­ion named the fam­ily busi­ness “Win­ery of the Year” in 2013.

In nearby Seven­hill, Pikes Wines is a mix of old and new. The stone cel­lar door harks back to its tra­di­tional roots, but a sleek, in­dus­trial-styled brew­ery next door built three years ago is spruik­ing its stouts, pil­sners and ales to a hip new clien­tele.

For a time­less clas­sic, vis­i­tors can’t go past the pic­turesque Skil­lo­galee Win­ery, the home of the area’s first win­ery restau­rant.

While away the hours on the ve­randa quaffing their cel­e­brated ries­ling or linger over blue­berry and rasp­berry Dutch baked pan­cakes with creme fraiche at brunch.

Add in an open fire­place and it will have you float­ing on cloud wine.

THE WRITER WAS A GUEST OF THE SOUTH AUS­TRALIAN TOURISM COM­MIS­SION AND AUDI.

PIC­TURE: SUPPLIED

Award-win­ning Ki­likanoon Win­ery.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.