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Clare Valley History

With a history that dates back to the early 1840’s, Clare Valley is steeped in heritage, culture and it is here that you will learn the art of wine making, hear the stories of old farmers and learn about how the Clare Valley became such a world known destination. The area now known as Clare Valley was once called the Gawler Plains and it was around the mid 1800’s that the first settlers came to these lands to stake their claim on promising lands. The fertile soils were ideal for farming of crops and live stock and settlers from all around came from Ireland and England and soon formed the now known town of Clare.

The town Clare was first settled by a man named Edmund Gleeson who name the town after his home town County Clare in Ireland. From 1840 to the early 1850’s Clare and its surrounding region quickly became highly known for its fertile soil as well as its mining capabilities for copper and iron ore. Throughout the early 1800’s wheat boomed in Clare Valley and towns such as Auburn sprang up along with many other towns and settlements. Auburn developed quickly as it was based along the Gulf Copper Trail where men could stop over enroute between Burra and the ships that were waiting for their copper in the Spenser Gulf.

It was soon realised that the Clare Valley was ideal for wine making with the richest of soils present here, they soon planted the first vines 1852 by The Jesuits also known as the Society of Jesus. They had left their home country afraid of persecution for the religious beliefs and soon settled in what is now called Sevenhill and quickly developed the Sevenhill Cellars which is still today the oldest winery located within the Clare Valley. They had first planted their vine to create sacramental wine but over the years many more wineries popped up throughout the region to become household names and famous tabletop wines. Sevenhill wines still produces communion wines to this very day.

Through the years more than 50 wineries were created in the Clare Valley, being awarded many different titles, winnings and international recognition. You will find the world’s finest Riesling right here in Clare Valley as well as full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines that are constantly exported to different locations around the world. In 1990 the winemakers of Clare Valley decided to introduce a new idea to the wine bottle when they created the screw cap lid to replace the existing cork screw. Many winemakers didn’t agree with this idea at first but slowly more and more wine producers are likening to the idea.

Much of the history of the Clare Valley can be seen in a number of museums and galleries in the region or you can pull up a chair and listen to a few stories and tales from the locals at one of the pubs or taverns. See old standing buildings, heritage listed and historical buildings and learn about a region that is steeped in history. You can take a tour with a knowledgable tour guide for a day of sightseeing or you can make your own tracks along the winding roads and scenic drives in the Clare Valley to learn about the many different milestones in the history of Clare Valley.