Clare Valley Riesling: Wines of brilliance and innovation

Thursday 1 July 11:00am - 12:00pm (BST)
01 Jul 2021 Online
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01 Jul 2021
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Nestled high in South Australia’s northern Mt Lofty Ranges, Clare Valley is a small region with a reputation for world-class Riesling and a history of innovation.

While summer in the Clare Valley is technically warm, the region’s surprising elevation causes a wide diurnal variation in daily temperature, allowing the fruit to ripen evenly and slowly.

Its unique climate, coupled with a diverse collection of ancient sedimentary soils, makes Clare Valley home to some of the most expressive styles of Riesling in the country, and arguably the world.

Join us to discover the distinct character of Clare Valley Riesling as six winemakers and owners from some of the most revered wineries in the region talk guests through their selected wines, in a discussion hosted by Justin Knock MW.


Steve Baraglia

Chief Winemaker, Pikes Wines

Born and raised in the Barossa Valley, Steve was always going to be involved in the wine industry.

From an early age Steve was with working in the family’s small vineyard at Williamstown, which ultimately lead to a career in the wine industry. After finishing an Oenology degree and a Viticultural diploma at the University of Adelaide he took up a position at Pikes in 2003, where he is now Chief Winemaker.

He is passionate about making wine and loves working with Riesling, a variety well suited to the Clare Valley. In late 2005 Steve and his wife Laura purchased as small vineyard at Sevenhill which is planted to Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet. They live on the property with their three children Mason, Buddy and Evie.

Following Neil Pike’s departure from the Pike family business in January 2020, Steve has recently been promoted to the position of Chief Winemaker.

Stephanie Toole

Owner/Winemaker, Mount Horrocks Wines

Born in New Zealand, Stephanie developed a passion for fine wine while working in London. After moving to Perth in the 1980’s, this fascination became the focus of her work, starting her own wine business.

In 1992 Stephanie moved to South Australia and within months, had purchased a tiny winery operation. Originally with real ‘cottage industry’ feel, Mount Horrocks Wines has remained tiny in production, yet bold in its approach, with all wines produced from her ACO certified Organic and Biodynamic vineyard in Watervale.

Typical of so many Australians, Stephanie started life somewhere else, was inspired by the produce of other countries, but now makes wines that she believes are worthy and true expressions of the place where she lives.

Hilary Mitchell


Hilary grew up in the winery, but studied Visual Arts and moved to Barcelona. There she worked for 12 years in Fashion, specialising in Pattern Design. Hilary returned to Mitchell Wines in 2014, and since studied Oenology and Business Administration, although she continued to travel back to Europe every winter, working vintages in France and Penedès and visiting trade in the UK and Ireland.

For Hilary, winemaking is another form of creativity, on one hand by capturing the time and place of vintage and vineyard through a gentle interventional approach, but also the moment it becomes a shared experience with the consumer.

Matt Paulett

Owner/Winemaker, Paulett Wines

Matt is the proud custodian of the 66ha Pauletts has under vine, including 100-year-old Shiraz vines planted by the early Polish Hill River settlers.

Matt has a real passion for the land and he makes it his responsibility to look after the natural ecosystem. He’s always looking for ways to innovate, and he’s proud to be continuing and developing the sustainable practices implemented by his dad, Neil. Pauletts hasn’t irrigated since the 1990s and Matt manages the vines so they thrive on regular rainfall.

And instead of using synthetic fertilisers, Matt plants clover and medic under the vines, which act as a natural mulch and feed the soil.

The love and sweat Matt and his team put into looking after the vineyard are reflected in the quality of the fruit they produce.

Pauletts’ small batch philosophy is underpinned by sustainable practice at every stage of the winemaking process. As Matt explains, “We have tight control over the vineyards and the winemaking process, so we can retain that freshness from the vineyard and the very expressive juices that follow through into the finished product of the glasses around the table.”


Jeffrey Grosset

Owner/Winemaker, Grosset Wines

Jeffrey Grosset is founder and owner of Grosset Wines in the Clare Valley, South Australia. After graduating in Oenology and Agriculture, Grosset held winemaking positions in Australia and Europe before establishing his own winery and vineyards in 1981.

 Grosset has a reputation as a no-compromise innovator focussed on wine quality and authenticity. He led the successful introduction of screwcaps to premium wine in 2000 and was instrumental in having riesling acknowledged as a grape variety in Australia’s Label Integrity laws. His latest initiative involves authentication of wine utilizing blockchain-style immutability linked to a newly designed wine closure. Grosset was voted inaugural Australian Winemaker of the Year (GT Wine) in 1998, is internationally recognised as one of Decanter UK’s ‘Top 10 White Winemakers’ and one of the ‘50 Most Influential Winemakers’ (Wine & Spirits, USA) in the world today.

Grosset Wines is a small, highly specialised winery operation concentrating on the production of eight wines. All four of its Clare Valley vineyards, site selected and planted by Grosset, are ACO certified A-grade organic and biodynamic, as is the Winery and its on-premise bottling facility.

 The aim is to make pure, pristine and delicious examples of variety and place. Of the four Grosset vineyards, three are dedicated, at least in part, to production of the riesling grape. Grosset selected each of the sites through a painstaking and rigorous process, resulting in four very different terrains. By strictly following soil and rock structures, all plantings are irregular in shape and by pursuing an ideal climate, all are in high-altitude country of the region to benefit from cooler ripening conditions. The contrasting impact of site, through vastly differing geological profiles remains a highlighted attraction particularly of Grosset Rieslings, as has been the case since the first vintage 41 years ago, when ‘terroir’ was an almost unheard expression in Australia.

In pursuit of the ultimate in vineyard and varietal expression, Grosset goes beyond organic in winemaking, avoiding all fining agents through careful hand picking and selection, and precise timing of harvest. A side benefit of this strict approach is that all wines are vegan and vegetarian friendly. Combined with Grosset Wines’ carbon-neutral status, through solar power, ongoing tree planting and land regeneration, Grosset Wines aims for the highest level of sustainability while pursuing the ultimate in wine: pure expression of variety and place.

Adam Eggins

Chief Winemaker, Wakefield Wines

Adam's innovative approach, renowned skill and expertise in the craft of winemaking consistently earns critical acclaim for the wines produced at Wakefield.

When Adam Eggins moved to Oberon in NSW some time ago, it was the beginning of a wine odyssey that would culminate in him joining Wakefield Wines in 1999. His first vintage with Wakefield in 2000 was a baptism of fire, with drought conditions seriously affecting yields. But with the 2001 vintage, he demonstrated his skills as a great winemaker, crafting wines that drew accolades from around the world.

Adam's dedication to the craft, and passion for truly great wines was duly credited in 2006, when he was awarded Australian Winemaker of the Year by Winestate Magazine and was a finalist again in 2007 and 2010.

Justin Knock MW


Justin Knock is an MW with many hats. Owner of Purple Hand Wine Company - a freelance consultancy business, Chief Wine Analyst at Oenogroup and Head of Fine Wine at Philglas & Swiggot, Justin has had experience in numerous Australian wine industry roles, from winemaker, education manager and wine buyer to consultant on bulk shipping and UK market packaging.

Justin has made wine with Treasury Wine Estates in McLaren Vale, the Hunter, Margaret River and the Yarra Valley as well as in France and Spain, and has been UK-based since 2004, becoming a Master of Wine in 2010. His dissertation was on ‘How important is the concept of regionality to the sales and marketing of Australian wine in the UK?’ This experience and understanding of the Australian wine scene secured him a role as the Regional Chair for Australia for the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 and 2021, where he has been a judge for more than a decade.

He is also a contributor to the IMW Education Program, and a former Director of the California Wine Institute UK and Ireland.



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