The Clare Valley wine region is one of Australia's oldest, arguably best known for its Riesling wines, often being called the home of Australian Riesling. Its Mediterranean-style climate is ideal for the production of quality Riesling, Chardonnay and Semillon, along with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varietals.
The Clare Valley wine region has more than 40 wineries, most of which are small, boutique in size and style, located along a 40 kilometre corridor between the towns of Auburn to Clare - and passes through all the major towns of Leasingham, Watervale, Penwortham and Sevenhill. The Clare Valley wine area is situated approximately 120 kilometres north of Adelaide in South Australia.
The Clare Valley was settled by immigrants from England, Ireland and Poland, who first moved into the region during the 1840s and left a rich heritage and architecture which remains today. With many of these buildings being used today as guest houses, premium restaurants and art galleries.
The Clare Valley has a wine trail - which can be cycled in around three hours and connects many of the region's popular attractions, cellar doors and artisan food producers. Several cellar doors offer home-grown seasonal produce, tapas through to restaurant style dining.
English settler, John Horrocks (Horrocks Pass near Port Augusta was named by Horrocks while exploring the region) was the first to plant vines at Hope Farm. Fleeing religious persecution in the region of Silesia (which is now part of Poland); pioneering Jesuit priests followed, planting vines intended for sacramental use, at Sevenhill around 1852, and Springvale (near current day Watervale) in 1863.
Winemaking practices improved over time, and today the emphasis is on quality table wines, predominately Riesling white wine, along with Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon red wines, plus several other varieties are constantly being tested. Though the region has a substantial wine reputation around the world - the Clare Valley produces only 3% of Australia's total grape crush - yet wins approximately 20% of the wine awards available to Australian vineyards each year.
The Clare’s unique combination of geography, geology and climate results in terroir that is perfect for producing world-class vibrant wines. And it’s little wonder that the regions forefathers chose this little corner of South Australia to build a future. The Clare Valley has five separate sub-regions - with the Clare Valley being an expanse of sweeping gullies and rolling hills.
During the growing season, the days are warm and the nights are cool, and it's this diurnal temperature range - from as much as 40°C in the day, down to 5°C at night, along with the character-forming ‘terra rossa’ soil, makes the Clare Valley equally favourable for producing outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz and has also seen the region’s Riesling acclaimed as some of the best in the world.