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Cycling the Clare Valley Riesling Trail

Discover the fun of cycling the Clare Valley Riesling Trail with Wine Selectors Membership Consultant, Elliot Watt, as he shares all his tips for touring through this spectacular wine region.

Exercise and wine don’t usually go together, but, when you think about it, it's actually a genius combination. You are essentially cancelling out the damage done by one with the other. Well, in theory, anyway.

Now a word of warning. We’re in no way suggesting you empty a bottle of wine into your drink bottle and hit the gym. There are far more attractive and much more appropriate places to achieve this symbiotic activity.

A leisurely two-hour drive north of Adelaide will see you in Australia’s epicentre for Riesling, the Clare Valley, where you’ll find the Riesling Trail. This 35-kilometre-long cycling and walking track follows the path of the old rail line that sliced through the hills before it was irreparably damaged by the 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires.

Today, the trail takes you past some of the region’s finest Riesling producers, so get ready to sip, sweat and cycle your way through the Clare Valley. 

Clare

It all begins with a visit to the Riesling Trail Bike Hire to collect your trusty steed. Kent will size you up with the perfect bike and give you the local lowdown on the trail.

Once in the saddle, an easy 12-minute ride north on the trail will take you to your first destination, Knappstein Enterprises Winery and Brewery. Originally established as the Enterprises Brewery in 1878, the current winery was installed by Clare Valley icon Tim Knappstein in the late 1960s. In 2006, 89 years after the original taps went dry, the brewing of beer started up once again in this heritage building.

For Riesling lovers, definitely look to the Single Vineyard range, which is a perfect expression of the diversity in Clare Riesling. However, if you prefer a beer, then the delicious Knappstein Reserve Larger will quench your thirst and replenish the tank for the next leg of the journey. 

Sevenhill and Penworth

Now you need to put in some hard yards and work off that wine and/or beer. Head south, 6km from Clare, and you’ll arrive in Sevenhill where it’s time to take a detour. John Horrocks Road is off the trail and runs through some seriously beautiful countryside, which will take your mind off the fact your legs are on fire. More importantly, it leads you to one of the jewels of the Clare Valley, Mitchell Wines.

Andrew and Jane Mitchell established their winery in 1975 and have created something really special, showcasing a true Australian family-owned and run winery. On arrival, Jane welcomes you like you’re one of the family and you can tell her and Andrew are proud of their wines and vineyards and so they should be. Within their quaint cellar door, they present stunning single vineyard Rieslings, as well as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Semillon.

Now, it’s awfully hard to transport wine on a bike, trust me, I ride to work at Wine Selectors and constantly attempt to juggle wines home. However, not to worry, Jane will personally deliver any purchases direct to your accommodation that very same day. 

Watervale

Departing Mitchell Wines, with a few more turns of the cog, you’ll be off the detour and back on the trail. This is where things start to go downhill, literally, not figuratively, as you’re now over the incline and can give the legs a rest as you glide through the rolling hills towards Watervale.

As soon as you arrive, it’s essential to restore your energy with some carb loading and there’s no better place to do so than the Watervale General Store. It’s one of those charming country icons that is part café, part grocery store, part post office. The food is simple and delicious, but heed my warning, it's not wise to consume a full pizza and then carry on the trail as if you are riding in Le Tour De France. That pizza will come back to haunt you.

Leasingham

With a full stomach and renewed energy, it shouldn’t take long to reach the next town of Leasingham and the home of Claymore Wines. Here you can wash down lunch with a glass of Dark Side of The Moon or Bittersweet Symphony. No idea what I’m talking about? Cleverly, the majority of their wines are labelled after hit songs from a bygone era. However, there are no gimmicks when it comes to the wines with some seriously good juice going on here. Sing your way through the range, find your favourite and sit down with a glass accompanied by a board of local South Australian Cheese. For a second in time, you will completely forget about your aching muscles and the fact you still have to ride home. 

The Riesling Trail comes to an end a further five clicks south at the town of Auburn. Unfortunately, I cannot tell the tale of Auburn as Leasingham is as far as my legs would carry me. Some say, namely my wife, it was the pizza that lead to my ultimate demise however that’s neither here nor there. 

Now begins the journey home, although it's not over yet. As any good bicycle wine tour strategist knows, you’re going to get thirsty, so Stone Bridge in Sevenhill is the perfect rehydration stop. Crafting not only exceptional Riesling but another 14 wines from 7 different grape varieties, Stone Bridge has something to quench any thirst.

The aftermath

Once off the bike if you stop moving things begin to hurt, the wine wears off and the lactic acid sets in. The only solution is to manoeuvre yourself directly to Seed Winehouse and Kitchen in Clare. Immersed in the simplistic stone and natural timber of the old chaff mill, you begin to imagine you are somewhere in rural Italy about to dine on local rustic cuisine. However, Head Chef Guy Parkinson is no Nonna, he may be better. Offering sophisticated A la Carte and degustation options, the menu highlights local produce with a wine list to reflect. Nearly 200 local and international wines will make the decision hard, add in 47 Gin choices and the mind begins to boggle.

Whatever your decision there is no doubt any indulgence is guilt free. You have literally burned off three Big Macs during the ride so sit back, reward yourself and reflect on the beauty of the Clare Valley and the amazing wines it has to offer.

Your Quick Guide to the Clare Valley Riesling Trail

Wineries

Restaurant

Bike Hire

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Meet Carissa Major and Marnie Roberts of Claymore Wines
Get to know the ladies behind Claymore Wines -General Manager Carissa Major and Winemaker, Marnie Roberts Carrisa, you say you “had the good fortune to fall into” the wine industry days after your 18 th birthday – what’s the story behind that good fortune?  As in real estate – location location location! I grew up at the southern end of the Clare Valley, had travelled throughout my 17 th year (thanks to the possibly misguided generosity of my parents) then landed back into the Clare Valley …a little bit jobless and without a sense of purpose. The idea of university for uni’s sake was less than appealing so my one year gap turned into two and through friends of the family I wound up with a position at Knappstein Wines Cellar Door. Tim was still on site then and I found the whole staff tastings both inspirational and intimidating but got enough out of them to want to learn more. Andrew Hardy had a similar approach to staff engagement so what started off as a spark became something a little more…so basically, I had the right door open at the right time. Got sucked in and found this amazing industry that brings people together while opening up the world. Given the quirky nature of the brand, do you have to bring out your inner quirks too? Well it’s not hard really…they are never too far from the surface! The best thing about the brand is that link to music informs so much of the fun every day and provides a motivating backdrop to the workplace. There is nothing better than an impromptu Friday afternoon singalong with customers as Meatloaf cranks out of the sound system (and yes that really did and does happen!)  Are you a Voodoo Child, or do you like a splash of Purple Rain, or do you hear London calling? (i.e. what’s your favourite Claymore wine and does your love of the wine match your fondness for its namesake?) 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There is an easy intimacy to the Clare Valley that you don’t see in many other regions; intimate without being aloof or removed. From a wine perspective there is an underlying elegance to the wines we produce here – even those 15.8% brooding monsters carry an underpinning structure that balances that intensity. Any region that can pull off our delicately structured Rieslings that defy expectation with just how powerful they can be and at the same time produce complex, finely drawn cabernet and nuanced yet flavour busting shiraz has to be special. It’s a multi-faceted little dynamo that continues to surprise and delight..and the locals aren’t a bad lot either! Do you have a favourite holiday destination/memory? We spent many early years holidaying at Elliston on the West Coast in the family shack – total beachfront, tumble down tiny fibro thing that we’d have to drive seemingly endless distances to get to while listening to the Australia Open on the radio (?). 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Nirvana is a Reserve Shiraz and drinking it you hope to reach a state of Nirvana. Dark Side of the Moon is our Clare Shiraz and it has the elegance and dark seductive fruit layered over oak. Do you get to name any of the wines? We all have input and suggestions which can be quite amusing. I got Skinny Love across the line which came to me in the car while singing it at the top of my lungs….the Claymore version of 'Car Pool Karaoke'. Was it your dream of being a rock star that drew you to Claymore? The Rockstar dream is still my back up occupation if the winemaking thing falls through. So far, the music world is safe. I do love the idea of the music and wine. I think to make good wine you have to have an element of love for the arts and the creation of things. Wine and Music just make sense  - both are so evocative and amazing for setting a sense of  place and time. 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Following the Prosecco Road - Your Guide to Australian Prosecco
Words by Ben Hallinan on 17 Dec 2016
Australian Prosecco   is a vibrant sparkling wine style taking over Australia from the Prosecco Road in Victoria’s King Valley to the Adelaide Hills . Internationally, it is now the world's most popular Sparkling wine, overtaking Champagne in sales. Learn more about its long history, how it’s made and where to find the best Australian Prosecco with this helpful guide and infographic.   Firstly, what is Prosecco? Prosecco is a style of Sparkling wine made from the Glera grape variety. This historic variety is believed to hail from the ancient Slovenian village of Prosek, now part of Italy. There are records of  Julia Augusta drinking wine from the Prosek region as early as 79 AD . But, what we now know as Prosecco hails from the North-east Italian province of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia near Treviso enshrined in the Prosecco DOC, or the designated production zone. The characteristic ‘fizz’ of Prosecco is classed as either Spumante, the most exuberant, as a more moderate Frizzante or with no fizz at all as a Tranquillo. Prosecco is a late-ripening variety and is harvested once the varietal flavours of white peach, white pear and lemon peak and the acidity has softened. Cool climate and high altitude regions like  King Valley     or the  Adelaide Hills  are well suited to this variety. Prosecco vs Champagne and Sparkling Wines  Apart from featuring different grapes, it’s the way Prosecco is made that plays a large role in the difference between Prosecco,  Champagne  and  Sparkling Wine s . Whereas Champagne is fermented in its bottle using Methode Champenoise, Prosecco is fermented pressurised steel tanks in a process known by much of the world as the “Charmat” method. However, mention the word Charmat to an Italian winemaker and there might be trouble. In Italy, it’s known as the “Martinotti Method”, invented and patented in 1885 by Fedricco Martinotti, seven years before the French winemaker Eugène Charmat filed for his take on the method. The Martinotti method involves conducting the second fermentation in large autoclave steel tanks before clarification and cooling. This forgoes the need for fermentation, riddling and disgorgement inside individual bottles required in the Champagne method. This method is a very efficient process lowering the resources required by the winemaker. However, it shouldn’t be viewed as an inferior process, as it allows for increased control, scale, filtration and the ability to lower the required yeast lees contact during the winemaking process. This is the key difference. Methode Champenoise wines have complex and rich autolytic textures from this process with restrained fruits. Martinotti method Prosecco wines are all about lightness, freshness and fruit, designed to be enjoyed at any occasion. Joy in a bottle. A further, often neglected fact is that  we owe the Bellini cocktail to Prosecco , invented by Giuseppe Cipriani when he combined white peach puree with Prosecco in Harry’s Bar Venice close to the Prosecco DOC, or designated production zone. Dal Zotto brings Prosecco to Australia Victoria’s King Valley can lay claim to planting the first Glera vines in Australia.  The wine history of the King Valley  starts in the 1880s in the regions’ tobacco plantations, established by Chinese settlers seeking new opportunities as the Victorian gold rush stagnated. By the 1940s Italian migrants had arrived to the region working on the tobacco farms. Yet, in the 1960s, the local tobacco industry was starting to decline. Otto Dal Zotto, born in the Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOCG region, where Prosecco vines carpet the hillsides, came to Australia in the late 1960s. Like many Italian migrants before him, Otto was drawn to the region to work in the tobacco fields. But, as the work dried up he moved into the region's emerging wine industry planting Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Gradually, the region began to plant classic Italian varieties, expressing the passion of the winemaker’s collective Italian heritage. Then, in 2000 Otto planted the first Glera grapes and the rest, as they say, is history. The Rise of King Valley and the Prosecco Road
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The Best Margaret River Wineries and Cellar Doors
Words by Ben Hallinan on 29 Mar 2017
Celebrated British wine critic, Jancis Robinson once remarked that " Margaret River  is the closest thing to paradise of any wine region I have visited in my extensive search for knowledge." Not only does it combine all the best qualities for viticulture and produce sublime  Chardonnay  and  Cabernet Sauvignon , but it's also downright beautiful! To help plan your trip to this internationally renowned wine region, we've selected a collection of Margaret River wineries that provide the best cellar door experience, plus we've included a handy interactive map down below. Wine Selectors Tasting Panellist, winemaker, and wine show judge,  Dave Mavor , is certainly a fan of the region, "Margaret River blows me away every time with the incredible quality of its wines."  "One of the reasons for its success is the Mediterranean-style climate, which means it doesn't experience extremes in summer and winter, ensuring superb growing conditions. With the addition of thorough viticulture and winemaking practices, you have what it takes to produce consistently high-quality fruit, resulting in many award-winning wines," Dave explains. Margaret River Wineries List Arima
Located down a dirt road in the northwest of Margaret River's famed Wilyabrup sub-region, Arimia is home to a small organically farmed vineyard, kitchen garden, and a cellar door restaurant. There's a great range of wines available on their tasting menu that encompass both Margaret River classics and emerging alternative styles to enjoy while you learn more about organic farming and winemaking practices. The excellent restaurant has a fantastic menu with ingredients sourced and produced on the property for a complete estate experience. 242 Quininup Road, Yallingup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm www.arimia.com.au Swings & Roundabouts Cellar Door and Taphouse
Swings & Roundabouts is arguably the hippest winery in W.A. with a great restaurant, blaring music, cosy open fires, and an expansive lawn to spend an afternoon in the Sun. The wood fired pizza and rustic Mediterranean-inspired restaurant menu matches perfectly with the excellent range of wines available to sample. And, if you're based in the township of Margaret River during your stay, then make sure you also visit the Swings & Roundabouts Taphouse. This funky restaurant and bar is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day visiting the Margaret River wineries with a spectacular range of wines available to sample on tap. Yes, you read that correctly. You can learn more about some of the  benefits of keg wine here  . 2807 Caves Rd, Yallingup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Tap House 85 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River Open Daily 12 pm to late Visit the Swings & Roundabouts website Hay Shed Hill
Located in the picturesque Willyabrup Valley, Hay Shed Hill produces single vineyard wines that express the character of this outstanding Margaret River site. There are over 25 wines available to sample, from classic Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay through to emerging alternate varieties such as Malbec and  Tempranillo   - all are perfectly matched to the Mediterranean tapas available in the Rustico at Hay Shed Hill restaurant. And, if you're a cheese lover then you're in luck, as Rustico have what might be the largest selection of European cheeses in the South West! 511 Harmans Mill Rd, Wilyabrup  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Hay Shed Hill website Howard Park
Less than five minutes drive from Margaret River's famous beaches, the Howard Park cellar is the perfect place to unwind after an early morning surf or swim. This striking modern cellar door is set on 138 hectares of native bushland, surrounded by the region's iconic marri and karri trees and spacious lawns where you are able to borrow a blanket or bocce set and enjoy a glass or bottle of wine under the West Australian sun. You'll have the unique opportunity to sample and compare wines from both Margaret River and  Great Southern  wine regions, with excellent wines featuring grapes sourced from Howard Park's four individual estate vineyards. 543 Miamup Rd, Cowaramup  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Howard Park website Killerby Wines
Nestled on the ridge of Yallingup and only 10 minutes from Dunsborough, the Killerby Wines cellar door is home to picturesque views over the Wildwood Valley on Caves Road. A visit here will allow you the chance to immerse yourself in the history of the family in the region over the past 90 years and an opportunity to taste the premium range of award winning wines. With sweeping views across the vineyards and Wildwood Valley, the Tuscan style Cellar door and terrace is the perfect setting to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy our wines on the large lawn area. 2715 Caves Rd, Wilyabrup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Killerby website Hamelin Bay Wines
Nestled on a hilltop amongst a beautiful vineyard with views over an idyllic lake, sits the Hamelin Bay winery and cellar door. Hamelin Bay 's wines are estate grown and, with 11 Royal Show Trophies and medals too numerous to count, they have built a reputation for producing wines of distinction. Sample their spectacular wines accompanied by a platter of local produce, while you relax outdoors on the verandah. McDonald Rd, Karridale -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 4:45 pm Visit the Hamelin Bay website Redgate Wines
Bill Ullinger, an ex-Lancaster Bomber pilot, established Redgate in 1977. As for the name Redgate, in keeping with Bill's character, there was once a property close by that had a reputation for producing very good moonshine. In recognition of the service that this farmer offered the community, Bill named his property and wines after the infamous red gate at the entry of that property. This picturesque cellar door is the perfect place to sample the exquisite (and highly awarded) Cabernet Sauvignon and oaked Chardonnay. 659 Boodjidup Rd, Margaret River -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 4:30 pm Visit the Redgate Wines website Credaro
Cesar Credaro's first foray into winemaking was to provide wines for the family table and those of his friends family's after arriving in Margaret River in 1922. 90 years later, Cesar's legacy of sharing excellent wines with friends and family, lives on at the charming Credaro Family Estate . With sweeping views across the vineyards and Wildwood Valley, this Tuscan style cellar door and terrace is the perfect setting to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy our wines on the large lawn area. 2715 Caves Rd, Yallingup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10:30 am to 5 pm Visit the Credaro website Vasse Felix
When Dr. Tom Cullity planted the first Cabernet vines in 1967 at Vasse Felix, Margaret River arguably got its start as a premium wine region. Today, this extraordinary estate and architectural marvel of a winery is a must visit during any trip to the region. With a famed restaurant, cellar door, wine lounge and a gallery brimming with one of the nation's largest private art collections, Vasse Felix is a destination in and of itself. Make sure to book one of the behind the scenes winery tours, that operate during the week, to learn more about how premium Australian wines are crafted. 2715 Caves Rd, Yallingup -  View on our Margaret River Map Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the V asse Felix website Margaret River Winery Map Planning a trip to Margaret River? Download our interactive Margaret River winery map. To save on your browser or device,  click here. For more information on visiting Margaret River, be sure to visit the official  Margaret River region website  or stop by the Margaret River Information Centre in the centre of town. But, if you'd like to sample some of the wineries listed in this guide before you visit, explore our wide selection of Margaret River wines and find out more about the wineries listed here in our  Meet the Makers section  . And, with the Wine Selectors Regional Release program   , you'll experience a different wine region each release with all wines expertly selected by our Tasting Panel, plus you'll receive comprehensive tasting notes and fascinating insights into each region. Visit our  Regular Deliveries  page to find out more!
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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