The Clare Valley has some exceptional wineries. My favourite ones those that are boutique and cosy with incredible wines and fabulous staff.
That’s why there’s no ifs or buts that Shut The Gate is my new favourite in the valley.
Located in the gardens of a old nursery and nestled in a cottage that was built in the 1850’s, this eccentric, eclectic and inviting cellar door will suck you in making it very difficult to leave. It has recently been award one of the Top 10 Best New Wineries 2015 – 5 Stars by the James Halliday Australian Wine Companion and when you come here you will know why.
Outside you will find built up gardens filled with lemon trees, succulents and a little river home to a family of ducks. Inside is very different to your standard cellar door and reminds me of a cool homewares store turned winery. Items like cowhide rugs, lightboxes and vintage chairs surround a small tasting bar where you can have a tipple of their wines and a chat in the warmth of a open fire.
In a adjoining room you will find their take on a providore where a selection of small goods, cheeses and locally made produce are available for purchase for their DIY picnics. Grab what you want to snack on out of the fridge and off of the shelves, pass it to the lovely staff and they will bring to you with some deliciously warm and tasty bread. It’s best enjoyed in the garden on one of their many deck chairs and long tables in the sunshine with a glass or two. As the weather was cold on our visit I opted for some local pasta to take home and got comfortable on their sofa for a tasting.
We tasted their range of reds and whites and we were very impressed. The lovely soul at the cellar door was very friendly and chatted with us about all things wine- speaking in a language that I could understand which was very refreshing. She told me about their beautiful labeling on the Tatouage range, and that the images were designed by Iain MacArthur, a young London based cult artist known for incredible artwork that appears on Burton Snow Boards, MTV and several popular album covers. Iain was commissioned to provide Shut The Gate with several of his drawings based on stories about shutting gates and why it’s a good idea at times. As you cast your eyes over the labels you will see these stories or fables detailed on the side, with themes of For Love, For Freedom and For Hunger.
I was also shown their The Beaute` Animale range of wines which also have incredible artwork on the labels. They feature very finely detailed etchings originally sourced from a catalogue from the grand exhibitions of 19th century Paris and London. Shut the Gate are movers and shakers in the wine industry- their labeling may be fun and expressive, but they are very serious about what goes into their bottles. In James Halliday’s words- it’s where the expected meets the unexpected united by their quality.
Our favourite drinks from the day were the “for hunger”- 2010 single site shiraz: a incredibly smooth red with a hint of spice (I don’t drink red and loved this) and the “for freedom”- 2014 barrel fermented sauvignon blanc: flavours of pear with a nice crisp finish.
I can’t wait to come back to this gem in the warmer months so I can sit outside in the sunshine and snack on a delicious platter with a wine in hand. if you have kids in tow then this place is still for you- plenty of room for exploring in the garden and even a train ride for them to play on.
You can find Shut The Gate cellar door at 2 Main North Road, Watervale.