Clare Valley Wine Tours
The Clare Valley, situated in rural South Australia, is an idyllic country community. The small townships are made up of beautiful heritage buildings and inhabited by warm people who love nothing better than sharing a drink and stories with visitors.
The region’s atmosphere is vibrant, with a festive feel all year round.
Clare Valley Wines
The most popular and abundant wines in the Clare Valley are reislings, with almost every local winery producing them. However, the region also produces some outstanding semillons, shirazes, and cabernet sauvignons. The area’s chilly winters and hot summers make the Clare Valley’s wines delicate, yet hardy.
The area is broken into five subregions: Sevenhill, Clare, Watervale, Polish Hill River, and Auburn. These distinct areas offer various soil types, altitudes, and climates, so the wines in one part of the Clare Valley are often vastly different from those at a neighboring vineyard.
Clare Valley Wineries
While the Clare Valley has a few large vineyards, most of the region’s wineries are smaller boutique cellars. This makes a trip to the valley a unique experience, as it offers many wines you’re unlikely to sample anywhere else. Many of the area’s wineries are located close together, which makes wine tasting excursions easy for tourists.
Taylors Road, Auburn
The Taylor family originally began making wine in Sydney, but relocated to the Clare Valley in the 60s. The winery has an international reputation for producing excellent cabernet sauvignons, rieslings, and shirazes, which are all available to taste daily at the cellar door.
Quelltaler Road, Watervale
Annie’s Lane is another major player in the Clare Valley wine scene. While wine buffs may have tasted their rieslings and shirazes in restaurants around the world, a trip to the winery is still worthwhile. Here the friendly staff enjoy showing off past vintages and special editions available nowhere else.
College Road, Sevenhill
Sevenhill Cellars is the oldest winery in the Clare Valley. A servant to local explorer John Horrocks planted the site’s first grapes in the 1840s. Sevenhill was later taken over by the Jesuit Brothers who used the vineyards to make sacramental wine. Today the monks of the St. Aloysius Church still run the winery, but they have expanded their range to include white, red, and fortified wines. Brother John May SJ conducts winery tours on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, which conclude with complimentary wine tastings. The tour costs $5, but proceeds go towards the church’s restoration.
Penna Lane, Penwortham
Kilikanoon may only be a small vineyard, but the boutique winery has gained global attention. Its 2006 Mort’s Block Riesling was named the best riesling in the world at the international wine and spirits competition. Travelers can taste this fantastic vintage and more at Kilikanoon’s cellar door. Kilikanoon is open to the public from Thursday to Sunday, but they accept appointments for wine tastings on the other days.
Polish Hill River Road, Sevenhill
Visitors are invited to sample Pikes Wines’ award-winning rieslings, sangioveses, and shirazes at their cellar door. Their gorgeous black labrador Bella is always happy to greet guests. The vineyard is open every day except Christmas and New Years Day. Pikes Wines also has a unique gift shop with original items like wine bottle pepper grinders and double-hinged corkscrews.
The Clare Valley is an easy ninety-minute drive north of the South Australian capital, Adelaide. This makes it a great destination for day trips. Travelers without car access can catch a bus from Adelaide, Australia to Clare, Burra, or one of the area’s surrounding towns.
Guided tours are also a popular option, with many transport companies offering half day and day trips to the region. You Toucan Tour offers personalized wine trips for small groups, but for a little luxury you can’t go past In Vogue Limousines.
However, due to its proximity to the Barossa, many wine buffs choose to base themselves in one of the valleys and take their time to explore the wine regions.
One of the most popular ways to see the Clare Valley is to take the Riesling Trail. The bike track starts at Auburn and extends 27 km to Clare. Along the way, visitors can stop at many wineries and restaurants. A range of bikes is available to rent from Clare Valley Cycle Hire and Cogwebs in Auburn.
The beautiful heritage towns of the Clare Valley offer some fantastic accommodation options.
The former mining town of Burra is a state heritage area, and it’s not hard to see why. This charming settlement is close to many wineries and other attractions. Burra’s Heritage Passport Trail will guide you around the township’s features including the Redruth Gaol, Monster Mine, and historic Creek Street. Burra Caravan and Camping Park offers camping sites and onsite caravans for families and travelers on a budget.
Kapunda is another local town steeped in history. To learn more about the former copper mining settlement’s history, tourists need look no further than the Visitor Information Centre. Here travelers can pick up a copy of the Kapunda Heritage Trail map, which will take visitors to the old mine area, miner’s cottages, and other historic sites. Kapunda Tourist Park is ideal for families seeking an affordable place to stay. Kids will love the park’s playground and wildlife, including kangaroos and Emma the Emu. Kapunda also features some gorgeous bed and breakfasts, such as Oldham House and the historic Anlaby Station.
Clare Valley Wine Events
May – The Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend is a chance to indulge in the finer things in life. The region comes alive during this annual event, which offers wine and food tastings and lots of live music.