Why Visit Pikes Wines?
- You’re looking to taste premium cool climate wines in Clare Valley
- You want to experience the epitome of Clare Valley Riesling and some other fun whites like Savignan and Fiano
- You’ve been working up an appetite while wine tasting in Clare Valley or after biking the Riesling trail
- You’d love to taste wine amongst some of the most gorgeous scenery Clare Valley has to offer
The Story of Pikes
Pikes Wines is a charming family winery founded on the concept of making exceptional Clare Valley Riesling. Brothers Neil and Andrew Pike released their first vintage in 1985 following the purchase of what is now known as Pikes Polish Hill River Estate in 1984, a premium site for Riesling. Their father, Edgar Pike, had vineyards of his own in Langhorne Creek and Padthaway, so both were introduced to wine and destined for the wine industry at a young age.
Neil decided to study wine production and marketing at Roseworthy College after completing a vintage at Wynns Coonawarra in 1978. He went on to work at several wineries throughout Clare Valley before starting Pikes with his brother in 1984. Andrew also attended Roseworthy College, graduating two years prior to his brother with a degree in Agriculture. Andrew began his career with four years at Wynns Coonawarra before joining Penfolds wines in 1979. While with Penfolds, Andrew established a vineyard project in Clare Valley and recognized the potential of the region early on. Andrew then became General Manager of Vineyard Operations for the Southcorp Wine Group. He was responsible for 6,000ha of corporate vineyards and all global grape supply for the company. Andrew helped his brother establish the flagship Polish Hill River Estate vineyards and Pikes Wines while still with Southcorp. He later left his corporate gig in 1998 to help his brother run the Pikes family business.
Who knows if any of this would have been possible if the patriarch of the family, Henry Pike, hadn’t emigrated to South Australia from Dorset, England in 1878. Thankfully for us Pikes lovers, he did! Henry even established his own brewery in 1885 called Pikes Dorset Brewery. The brewery was later renamed H. Pike & Son when his son Walter Henry became involved in the business. Later in the 1940s, H. Pike & Son also began producing soft drinks, cordials, and tonic water. So it seems beverage production, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, has always run in the family!
Tastings & Experiences
Wine tasting at Pikes is definitely a treat. First, the estate is absolutely gorgeous. The cellar door and restaurant are encompassed by Pikes’ beautiful vineyards. Today, the estate comprises almost 100 hectares of vineyards and is home to 20 different grape varieties. We were visiting just after harvest in early autumn, so the vineyard canopies were completely breathtaking with all the changing colors of fall. Slate Restaurant is attached to the cellar door and offers a dining experience with the most spectacular view of the vineyards. Beer drinkers are also welcome as there is a brewery on site just outside of the cellar door.
In addition to an incredible estate, be prepared to be impressed by the quality and sheer variety of Pikes Wines. The tasting list is expansive and you are invited to taste as many wines as you like in Pikes sleek yet cozy cellar door. No tasting fee makes the experience that much sweeter. You’re bound to find a wine you love with 9 whites and 8 reds to choose from. I enjoyed all of the wines, but my favorites included:
- 2018 ‘Traditionale’ Riesling – Clean and crisp with notes of lemon, lime, and green apple. Some minerality from the limestone based soils. Clare Valley’s trademark bright acidity.
- 2018 ‘Valleys End’ Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – Exploding with tropical fruits and citrus. A touch of minerality. Would be perfect with Thai green curry!
- 2018 ‘Luccio’ Fiano – Floral and delicate with notes of honeysuckle, peach, and tropical fruit. Needs time to open up.