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Sunday 19 September 2021

Celebrating 170 years of winemaking in style

Sevenhill Cellars, the founding winery of the Clare Valley, celebrated its 170th birthday this weekend with a party, a new-look label, a new range and a new direction.

Established in 1851 by Jesuits escaping persecution in Europe, Sevenhill has for decades been a quiet achiever in the Clare region. 

It has a fascinating history, compelling cellar door experiences and maintains its Jesuit links. The first seven winemakers at Sevenhill were all Jesuits. 

With a dynamic new general manager in Jonathan O’Neill, and experienced winemaker Will Shield on board - joining a team including two decades plus of viticultural experience in Craig Richards - Sevenhill is being propelled into the modern era. 

Religious labels and some old-fashioned styles are standing aside for exciting new modern branding.

The Sevenhill fruit has always been high quality - with grapes sold to Penfolds for wines including Grange and St Henri - and now there is a look to match. 

The entry level Inigo range and the premium new Sevenhill range feature a journey line over 170 years to the current vintage, linked by what appears to be a vine tendril. The designs are by Scott Carsdale and his team at Voice Design in Adelaide. 

The Inigo range ($25-$28, above) comprises a vibrant 2021 Riesling; a 2021 Pinot Gris; savoury 2019 Barbera; smooth and stylish 2019 Merlot; 2019 Shiraz and 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The riesling, barbera and merlot all offer excellent value, and all but the pinot gris are estate grown. 

The new Sevenhill range (below) consists of a 2021 27 Miles Riesling, 2020 Spire’s Lament Viognier, 2020 Open Range Grenache, 2020 Thatch and Clay Touriga and the 2019 Quarry Road Cabernet Malbec: all retail for $45-$50 except the greanche - made from 100-year-old vines - which comes in at $80 but offers a special experience. 

The grenache and the touriga were my standouts with the riesling potentially very long lived. 

Birthday party guests also got to try gems including the 2005 St Aloysius Riesling, a Classic Topaque and a Fine Old Tawny. 

Readers of this blog can sample the new releases with a very generous 20% discount by using the code 170Years with their online or cellar door orders before the end of the month. 

“It is a very exciting time for Sevenhill,” says GM O’Neill. “We’ve been a sleeper but are ready to move into the future. The fruit is on our doorstep and we are ready to spread the word about the strides we have made. 

“We hope the new Sevenhill range will change perceptions about our wines. We have small parcels of premium fruit, new labels, and are showcasing some different varieties.”

Experienced winemaker Shields (above) echoes those thoughts. 

“We are now making small-batch contemporary styles along with the more traditional styles or which Sevenhill is best known,” he says. 

To find more details, or order with the discount, visit But be quick. 

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