To celebrate the beginning of Summer, Clare Country Club has launched an amazingly indulgent VIP package with the help of some of their friends around the Clare Valley region. In addition to staying at the recently renovated property, guests are offered a range of add-ons to choose from to enhance the Clare Valley VIP Experience and can decide which are best suited to their individual taste. For those of you who haven’t spent time on the ‘Riesling Trail’, you’re missing out on not only some beautiful scenery, delicious gourmet food, and splendid, world-class wines but on some genuinely down to earth hospitality. Glam Adelaide features writer Darren Hassan spent a recent weekend in Clare to ‘test-drive’ the experience, and was pleasantly surprised by the offerings included in the VIP Experience.The first of this 2-part feature is here
Awaking to the sound of birds and the unmistakeable absence of suburbia, a long, hot shower is a perfect wakeup for the well rested. Heading back to Conner’s for a delicious buffet breakfast, strangers exchange smiles and pleasantries as they pass each other, another confirmation that relaxation is a priority. After an easy checkout where I’m taken care of once again by thoughtful staff, it’s time to get some more VIP Treatment Clare Valley Style.
The first of the VIP Experience for today is Pikes Wines and Beer Company at Sevenhill, where I meet with the owner Andrew Pike and discuss their produce and the new brewing facility under construction and which will be ready before Christmas. I’m given a driven tour of the vineyards and enjoy a friendly, informative chat with Andrew who insists that the edition of a brewery isn’t so much a new innovation, but a return to the family’s roots as brewers before becoming winemakers. Like many others in the area, Pikes are a family owned winery and therefore everyone needs to multitask to get things done. Andrew’s son Alistair, who handles marketing and the social media aspect of the business, is also joining as a brewer once the new facility is up and running.Their crafted beers are hearty, and their wines are equally as robust. Do try their stout if you can.
Pikes Wines and Beer Company are at 233 Polish Hill River Rd, Sevenhill. You can reach them at 08 88434370 or online here.
Only 15 minutes away at Watervale, I head to Shut The Gate Wines and meet with the owners Rasa and Richard, an incredibly friendly, hospitable couple who love what they do. After a chat about their groovy wine label artwork, we get down to tasting and Richard offers me a taste of ‘Riesling or Riesling’? Quite amused by the burden of choice, I opt for the Riesling. It’s delicate, fresh and fizzy as a young 2014 would be, and the flight travels through his range nicely, arriving at the reds. They have a decent selection but it’s the 2012 Ripple Iron Sangiovese catches my eye and my palate. Smooth, and berry laden, it’s my pick so far and I’m offered a glass to enjoy with the picnic lunch Rasa has planned. This is where they really excel at Shut The Gate! Rather than a pre determined gourmet platter, they have a extensive larder with a vast range of delicatessen goodies that you get to choose yourself. There are assorted sardines and herrings, cold meats, cheeses, olives, dips- it’s heaven! Once you’ve selected your picnic basket of goodies, the hosts will prepare an assortment of bread to accompany it and I must confess, it is seriously scrumptious and made even more enjoyable by the company and rustic open-area specially designed for guests to indulge in. This is a great concept and the range of delicacies on offer is generous. Shut The Gate Wines are at 2 Main North Road water vale. You can reach them at 08 88430111 or online here.
Next on the itinerary is just a hop, skip, and a vine away from my previous destination and where a range of craft beers await. Clare Valley Brewing Co- Hop And Vine offer a half dozen brews ranging from a delicate Grape Cider to a full on Stout.I start with the Fuzz Mid Strength Ale, a nice drop but not as appealing to one’s tastes as the Bullseye APA Pale. The Monkey’s Uncle Red Ale is more like a traditional brewed bitter ,as is the yummy King Kong Stout in terms of being true to form as an authentic drop. The Bring Out The Gimp Mocha Stout was unusual but the standout for this aficionado of brewed beverages was the Miss Molly Malone Grape Cider. It’s part moscato, part sensational, and a perfect summer drink for both ladies and gents. Clare Valley Brewing Co- Hop And Vine are located at 20 Main North Road, Auburn. You can reach them at 0448079406 or online here.
Just before heading back to Adelaide, I quickly grab a tray of truffles by Sugar Rush Truffles and Chocolates directly across the road. They’re hand made and simply irresistible, but fearing the wrath of the family should they not have made the journey home, they were placed well away from arms reach to avoid temptation.
Sugar Rush Truffles and Chocolates are located at 17 Main North Road, Auburn. You can reach them at 08 88492328 or online here.
The Clare Valley VIP Experience is an affordable, family-friendly option only 2 hours drive from the City of Adelaide and can be the perfect mini-vacation or weekend getaway either as a single, couple, or indeed family. There are many things to choose from as part of the package, or you may wish to develop your own itinerary. One thing’s for sure though, the Clare Valley holds its own as a remarkable piece of what our brilliant State has to offer. Add to that the warmth and charm of the genuine Valley style hospitality, you should have no trouble choosing the Clare Valley VIP as your next getaway.
Full details can be found here.
* VIP bookings can be made online from Monday 24 November or over the phone on 08 8842 1060, quoting ‘Summer VIP’. The VIP offer is valid for travel until 28 February 2015. Guests with existing reservations during this period will also be offered the option to upgrade their current booking to the VIP experience upon their arrival at the resort.
Story by Darren Hassan