Cheffing Arounds Client of the month for September 2018 is the fabulous boutique family owned Skillogalee Winery which is located in the picturesque Clare Valley. Only 135km from the heart of Adelaide, South Australia.
Renowned for their hand-crafted, world-class wines, quality restaurant and a range of comfortable, self-contained accommodation for visitors.
Skillogalee operates a wine tasting and sales area and a restaurant from an old stone cottage built in 1851 by a Cornish miner, John Trestrail, who settled here and operated the property, then called Trevarrick Farm, as a mixed home farm. He and his wife had 17 children of whom 13 survived – he was a religious man who, it is said, did not approve of drinking!
The property remained in the Trestrail family until the early 1900’s. It was then planted to stone fruit and vines for dried fruit, currants and sultanas. In the 1950’s and 60’s it became a grazing property until it was bought by Spencer and Margaret George in 1969. It was planted to wine grapes over the next 2 or 3 years – early varieties were Riesling, Shiraz, Grenache and Crouchen (formerly know as Clare Riesling) In the early 1980’s, most of the Grenache and all the Crouchen were grafted to Traminer and Cabernet Sauvignon and additional small areas were planted with new Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
Skillogalee was established in 1970 with the first wines released in 1976. The 1978 dry riesling won major trophies at the Adelaide Wine Show and the National Wine Show, putting Skillogalee firmly on the Australian winemaking map! The wines are produced exclusively from grapes grown on their own vineyards and styles include crisp dry whites (riesling, gewürztraminer and chardonnay), a full flavoured rosé, rich, full-bodied reds (shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and blends) and some luscious fortified wines.
The vineyards were planted in the early 1970s on what was then, at almost 500 metres above sea level, one of the highest vineyards in South Australia. The rows are planted on the contour in shallow stony soils mainly on steep eastern facing slopes
he vines are hand-pruned and the fruit is mainly hand-picked. Yields are extremely low but the vineyard produces intense flavours and aromas and deep, richly-coloured reds. Kangaroos are our major pests – significant numbers can be found around vintage time, when the hills are dry and brown, camping in the vineyards and feasting on the ripe fruit!
Skillogalee has a small modern, winery, crushing only around 250 tonnes, giving them the opportunity to hand-make individual wines in small batches. Fruit handling and vinification are undertaken using the best of traditional and modern technologies – modern wine making techniques for whites, to preserve the fruit aromas and flavours, and more traditional techniques for reds – the use of open fermenters and basket pressing to maximise flavour and colour without over-extraction. They focus heavily on gentle fruit handling throughout and our winery hygiene programs are meticulous. In this way, we use the minimum amount of sulphur to keep wines safe from spoilage.
Skillogalee is a vibrant, busy and cosy restaurant, where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon sampling some of the Clare Valleys best food. All the dishes have wine suggestions matched to them on the menu. So while they are preparing your entree head into the cellar door for a tasting.
The emphasis is on interesting dishes from around the world using the best ingredients, local if possible, well-presented and professionally served, but in a relatively informal atmosphere. The menu changes frequently according to the season and what ingredients are available and fresh. Morning and afternoon teas are also offered – the best scones in the Valley! – and gourmet picnic baskets are available by arrangement.
The restaurant was the first full-time, professional winery restaurant in the Clare Valley and is open 7 days a week, 364 days a year.They currently operate on a producers license – Skillogalee own wines are available by the bottle and by the glass, with a meal in the restaurant. A selection of beers are now available as well.
Also set amongst the wooded hills and vineyards, close to the Spring Gully Conservation Park in South Australia’s Clare Valley, Skillogalee now boasts a selection of well-appointed, self-catering accommodation available for visitors so why not stay the night and explore the amazing Clare valley!
Bookings advisable especially at weekends and on public and school holidays.
Tel: (08) 8843 4311
Fax: (08) 8843 4343