Australia // South Australia //

The Clare Valley

In the cool uplands of the North Mount Lofty Ranges, the Clare Valley is really a series of gum-fringed ridges and valleys running roughly 30km north from Auburn to the main township of Clare, on either side of Main North Road. The wine industry in the valley was pioneered by Jesuit priests at Sevenhill in the 1850s. There’s no tourist overkill here: bus trips are not encouraged, and because it’s a small area with just over forty cellar doors, you can learn a lot about the local styles of wine (the valley is especially recognized for its fine Rieslings). You’ll often get personal treatment too, with the winemaker presiding. Several sheep stations can be visited among beautiful historic villages, well-preserved mansions, quaint old pubs, plenty of atmospheric accommodation, and superb restaurants attached to wineries. The region’s calendar is crammed for most of the year but the biggest event is the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend, held in May at local wineries.