Fitting that Aunt Alice, a shacky, almost thrown together cellar door in Robe’s sleepy backstreets, would be run by reformed loose cannon Tom Davidson and wife Alice; a woman who describes herself as, “that loopy, left-of-field aunt who always just wants to have a good time.”
A three month old in tow, Tom is a high school biology teacher these days, and Alice a serious winemaker in her own right, but the couple’s wild-child roots are referenced in their hodgepodge winery set-up.
Wetsuits lie strewn over fences, and Dire Straits pumps from Tom’s Dad’s old wooden record player. The lax, beachy vibe is palpable.
Alice and Tom met in 2014 in Robe, Alice moving there from Adelaide a year later so they could combine her winemaking and his “party space” to create Aunt Alice.
It’s a cellar door first, producing small batch wines named after powerhouse women, like Alice. Only more famous.
Aunt Alice is also an art and music space, a Fringe Festival venue, a wedding setting – anything you want, really.
“We do all kinds of events,” says Alice.
“Some planned, and some not so planned.”
They also, somewhat incongruously, sell fresh eggs and homemade chilli sauce.
On public holidays, long weekends and during the school holidays you can find Alice slinging vino from 11am-4pm. The rest of the year, you can contact the venue via email, Instagram or phone to arrange an appointment.
“We’re trying to do something a bit different, to keep our tastings mostly really intimate,” explains Alice.
Seated underneath the shady canopies of the venue’s many trees, snack on local cheese platters featuring Robe Dairy labneh, locally made lavosh and briny olives. Then, taste your way through Alice’s low-fi wines.
On the current pouring list are a chardy, a pinot noir and “a crazy red and white blend.” December will see the launch of a new release Shiraz, named for the late songwriter and civil rights activist, Aretha Franklin.
To celebrate the new Shiraz, Aunt Alice will be hosting an exhibition showcasing Tom’s predictably quirky side hobby, Gyotaku, a Japanese printing technique which uses rice paper to take rubbings from fish scales.
Just like the venue, the event will be a random combination of bits put together by two big hearts, to form something we’re sure will be difficult not to love.
Aunt Alice, 35 Evans Cave Rd, Robe SA.