The milestone 30-year anniversary of the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend will come next year, but in 2013 the food and wine event will be nonetheless special as it celebrates its 29th birthday with award winning wines, culinary delights, markets, art exhibitions, live music and celebratory tastings.
The oldest food and wine event in Australia featuring some of the best wineries in the country, the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend needs no big-time celebrity appearances to ensure attendance numbers – the region’s local characters and quality produce speak for themselves.
“What makes us unique is that we’re the oldest event of its kind in Australia, and we’re definitely one of the first food and wine events in the whole of South Australia,” says Clare Valley Winemakers Incorporated Admin and Events Coordinator, Tania Matz. “Located only 90 minutes from Adelaide, it’s the perfect opportunity for visitors to explore the Clare Valley during one of its major events for the year. There’s plenty to see and do throughout the weekend, including some new additions to the program, so we aim to attract more than 5000 or more people this year. Rather than using the big names and the famous chefs and celebrities that you get at other events, we thought, ‘Well, why don’t we showcase what we have here in Clare Valley and just use our very own characters who live here, as our ambassadors.”
Clare Valley’s own “ambassadors” at the event include cook/chef Louise Haines, cook and accommodation provider David Hay-Cook, Sevenhill’s Jesuit winemaker Brother John May, Kilikanoon winemaker Kevin Mitchell, accommodation provider Michael Speers, and 2012 Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year (Supporters’ Choice), Steve Baraglia. Baraglia says that this year, together with Andrew and Neil Pike, he will be conducting a current vintage sub region Riesling tasting to showcase the differences from sites around the Clare Valley at Pike Wines on Saturday and Sunday.
“Gourmet weekend falls at the end of vintage, so it’s always good to unwind after all the long days processing this year’s fruit,” Baraglia explains. “Autumn in Clare is wonderful, the change of the seasons brings about all the vine leaves changing colour. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to be a finalist in the top 10 for the Wine Society Young Winemaker of the Year Awards and ended up winning the Supporters Choice Award. The dinner each year is held in Sydney with 2012 held at Matt Moran’s restaurant, Aria. I have also been a finalist in 2010 and 2011, also winning the Sommeliers Choice Award in 2010. Around 50 young winemakers enter each year, so to make the top 10 finalist list is great to start with. I enter wines for Naked Run Wines, a small brand that I started with two university mates. Naked Run allows us to have total control over wines that we make.”
Neil Paulett, Chair of the Clare Valley Winemakers Incorporated, said that the event makes for the perfect opportunity to celebrate the Clare Valley’s finest food, entertainment, and of course, wines.
“The festival offers visitors the chance to meet the winemakers and learn first-hand what makes their wines and the region so special,” Paulett points out. “This unique experience is enhanced by the enjoyment of superior local produce and the tune of live music. The natural beauty of an authentic, relaxed wine country setting provides the backdrop to this enchanting weekend adventure. The Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend was the first food and wine festival in Australia. The event was originally created to celebrate the end of vintage each year. From our award-winning wines to the regional gourmet food offerings, local art and heritage charm, we can’t wait to show off what we have to offer for the 2013 Gourmet Weekend.”
Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend
Saturday, May 18 to Sunday, May 19
Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend Top Picks
Saturday May 18 and Sunday May 19, 1.30pm to 2.30pm
Join Neil Pike and Steve Baraglia for an intimate insight into Pikes Wines, including a cellar tasting of the new 2013 Rieslings, highlighting the sub-regional differences between Polish Hill River, Watervale and Sevenhill, a barrel room tasting of Shiraz from current vintages still in the barrel and finishing with a museum tasting of a selection of back vintages Riesling and Shiraz, accompanied by a stunning range of vintage cheeses.
Limited to 25 people per session. Bookings essential. Cost $25 per person.
Clare Rotary Club Art Show
Clare Town Hall
Friday, May 17, 7pm
Come and view the biggest and best exhibition in the Mid North of SA.
Entry $15. Tickets available from Clare Valley Visitor Centre.
Regional Food Group Clare Valley Cuisine Inc Presents the Annual Gourmet Market
Saturday, May 18, 9am – 2pm
Ennes Park (next to the Clare Town Hall)
Cooking demonstrations by guest chefs featuring regional produce with a fantastic variety of local produce. Come along and meet the producer while sampling Clare Valley’s delights.
Annie’s Lane @ Quelltaler with Salter’s Restaurant
Sunday, May 19, 10am – 4.30pm
Head Chef Scott Liddell and his team from Salter’s Restaurant will satisfy the senses. Rustic flavours and contemporary creations are matched with Annie’s Lane quality premium wines for a food and wine experience like no other.