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The build up was intense. The anticipation was high. Not only was there cracking great Australian live music on offer but Friday April 29 was Greg Cooley’s 55th birthday (I still don’t believe that. Surely 45ish…?).
This was no ordinary show. It was the very last show for Greg Cooley Wines at their Main North Road address. A place where many great shows have been held and hosted hundreds of musicians. All planned and put together by the crazy duo simply known as; Greg & Kel. These two have big dreams and thankfully, they pull them off with what seems like very little effort.
The entertainment for this show? Harry Hookey, Ciaram Granger and, Mane. Three amazingly talented musicians in their own right who also collaborate extremely well. I can see an EP there, guys! Just saying…
The crowd was at full capacity at an early hour and it didn’t take long before the atmosphere was electric.
Despite holding his own and headlining many of his own shows, (the next being Brewhouse Blues at Pikes in a fortnight), Ciaram Granger opened the show and I know a lot of you would probably draw parallels between him and Xavier Rudd but for me I likened him to another Aussie whose sound I was introduced to several years ago, Dave Cooke. Ciaram has carved his own path and earned his own respect though, no doubt about that.
Based out of Adelaide, this isn’t Ciaram’s first Greg Cooley Wines rodeo, it’s a scene he’s very familiar with and definitely has a large Clare Valley following, me included. His aura is alluring. His music is captivating. And it gets you moving in your seat when all you really want do is stand up the back and get your groove on. When the musician is that good, there is no room for dancing down the front, everyone deserves a great view!
Mane was next, an act I have not seen before. Formerly, Paige Renae Court, but due to a steep climb in popularity and exposure from a little thing known as, Triple J unearthed, a stage name has been created. A rather clever one it would seem and it’s so new it still gets her stage colleagues tongue-tied. Paige…Mmm…Pai…Mane!
Also hailing from Adelaide, Mane’s style is indie folk, roots & blues. Don’t be fooled by this young lady’s petite stature, she can belt out a note as good as Kate Ceberano or, Adele, and holds the audience captive as she ebbs and weaves through the delicate notes of the beautiful lyrics she has penned herself.
I love it when the musician is clearly into what they are performing. Eyes wide shut as they feel every note and soak up the energy in the room. Mane is for sure a musician you won’t forget in a hurry and despite not having heard her music before, I personally loved the originals but the couple of covers she stamped with her own Mane were equally as great!
And then came Harry Hookey. The boy from Gippsland who has also become a firm Clare Valley favourite thanks to Greg Cooley Wines.
There’s two Harry’s actually. There’s the cheeky young lad who giggles as he addresses the crowd and laughs at the hecklers giving the impression he’d much rather be down amongst it, just for a little while. And then there’s the talented musician whose on-stage energy is infectious and he works the crowd beautifully. The Bob Dylan similarities were obvious. The harmonica, the story telling. But it’s clear Harry has enjoyed many different musical influences and has carved out his own style throughout his journey to date, giving a fresh new feel to a sound that was born from a generation of boomers who wore flowers in their hair and smoked a little weed.
Even though Hookey’s talent Is clear, his comfort for being on stage by himself didn’t last long, inviting Mane back to sing a duo with him twice before getting Ciaram and drummer, Shannon, back on stage for one hell of a closing collab.
Crowd on their feet & table dancing sure is one hell of way to end the parties of all parties. Happy birthday, Greg!
And as quick as it started it came to an end. The show that is and yes, Greg Cooley Wines is on the move. Where to? We’re not sure right now but one thing we do know is, Greg & Kel will be back and they will still bring amazing music to the Clare Valley. Never fear, that 55-year-old brain is ticking over like a teenager’s thinking about the future and how he can reinvigorate the Clare Valley entertainment scene. And for that, Greg Cooley, we salute you!
So before they embark on some interstate commitments, we’ll see Greg & Kel at The Hub in a fortnight for the Clare Valley Gourmet weekend (at the Tourism Centre), so if you missed them last night, go and see them there and say g’day.
For now though, I’ll give the last word to Greg Cooley Wines…..
May 1 -8 each year sees the celebration of TASTING AUSTRALIA and this year on May 5th, Pangkarra Foods has invited celebrated author of Lentil Underground and Fellow at Berkeley Food Institute, Liz Carlisle, to their farm.
Lunch in the Company of Liz Carlisle at Pangkarra Foods is on Thursday May 5 at Anama Park, home of Pangkarra Foods, and is an exciting opportunity to hear Liz speak passionately about farmers in the US developing new farming methods and new ways to connect with consumers.
Pangkarra Foods has been a paddock-to-plate leader in the Mid North and indeed, throughout Australia, for sometime and this event will further stamp their excellence in this market. With so many of us now taking an extra interest in where our food comes from, how it’s grown and processed, opportunities like this are not to be missed.
Liz is extremely passionate about this topic so to get an up-close and personal experience is well worth the effort. You will also hear from Jim and Katherine Maitland as well as have a guided tour of the farm.
Tickets for this Tasting Australia event are just $110 which includes a sumptuous lunch prepared by Clare Valley renowned chef, Louise Haines using Pangkarra Food’s own products as well as other locally sourced produce. Clare Valley wines and Pikes beer will be matched with lunch.
For bookings CLICK HERE
This is it, folks, the time has come for one of the biggest events on our calendar. This Saturday you’ll see Chris Isaak to do his bad, bad, (ClareValley) thing, Aussie rocker, James Reyne, get Reckless, Aussie icon, Richard Clapton, get into some Deep Water and, Thirsty Merc…well…I doubt they’ll be as Thirsty as the crowd getting down and getting groovy at Annie’s Lane. That’s right, this Saturday, April 16, is Clare Valley’s, A Day On The Green!
But first, on Friday night, another great local tasting event at the Clare Valley Wine Food & Tourism Centre featuring Mitchell Wines & Clare Valley Cuisine. Have you been to one of these nights? It’s a lot of fun, you never know who you’ll meet! The cuisine platters will showcase an array of local produce and are available for purchase so, give Angela a call and order yours ahead of time.
Now the gates for ADOTG do open at 2pm Saturday but if you’re looking for a great meal to fill the tank before all that delicious wine & brilliant live music, put the Sevenhill Hotel on your list. It’s on the way and all…..and they do a cracking chicken or beef schnitter….so i’ve heard 😉 If you’re coming up from Adelaide, I’d call in at the Rising Sun Hotel or the Watervale Hotel. All three have fabulous meals if a pub meal is what you’re after.
Ok, so it’s Sunday morning and most of you are hungover. But for those who aren’t, or even if you are, the Auburn Markets are on from 10am – 2pm at the Auburn Institute which would be a good little distraction before you check in and make yourself comfortable at the Sevenhill Hotel for their Blazeaid event to raise funds for the Pinery Fire victims.
After taking a drive through the Barossa last weekend, i got a real perspective of just how far that bloody fire travelled. I can remember like it was yesterday, sitting at work listening to the CFS units roar out of Clare’s main street while i listened to the ABC and being gobsmacked at just how far that raging fire was going and the speed at which it was. And with each unit that went out of town, my heart sank just a little bit more for the hundreds of people who would be feeling desitute and homeless that night while i went home to the comfort of my own house still standing perfectly still.
Blazeaid is a volunteer organisation that helps fire victims living on the land rebuild their fences and rebuild their lives. Have you seen the fences destroyed along the 9 mile at Mallala? Many have been rebuilt and Blazeaid is the reason for this.
Get down to the Sevenhill this Sunday and listen to some great live music from Trent Bell and support Blazeaid….and of course, Longy & Kate!
Three years ago this August a couple of relative new comers to the Clare Valley decided they’d embark on a new venture. One totally removed from the wine industry they’d both been involved with for several years but, a familiar one nonetheless.
Enter, Chris (Harry) & Amanda Harris, and the making of Clare Rise Bakery 1895. I sat down with this unassuming couple for a quiet chat on their front verandah after a busy Easter weekend, over a glass of wine funnily enough, and talked all things baking and where to from here. Here’s what they had to say about the rise and rise of the Clare Rise Bakery 1895
SCV – Thanks guys for letting me barge on in and intrude on your downtime, I’ve just got a few questions so let’s start with the most obvious; What made you decide to open a bakery in Clare?
CRB – We saw a need in Clare for an authentic bakery, one that baked on site and used local produce where possible. After much consideration and deliberation we decided to take the plunge from the (relative) security of working for someone else and establish our own business.
SCV – You both worked in a bakery some years ago, was that the inspiration for your decision?
CRB – Yes, there seemed to be a gap in the market and with our experience from both working in a bakery at Bordertown, we were confident we could provide fresh-baked goods and establish our own business. Myself (Harry) as the baker and, Amanda running front of shop.
SCV – Did you envisage it would be this successful so quickly?
CRB – We were hopeful but it has really taken off and we are supplying so much wholesale now as well as the shop, we really are pleased at just how popular our product has become in such a short time.
SCV – It’s not quite 3 years since you opened the doors, what have you learned the most since being back in the bakery business?
CRB – Baking and, providing food for public consumption, has changed significantly. People’s dietary requirements and expectations about the food they consume has changed quite a bit. Gluten free products certainly play a major part in today’s food supply. Consumer’s eating habits have changed whereby a lot of people want to sit and eat good quality food instead of [the] ‘good old days’ of grabbing a pie in a bag with sauce. Don’t get me wrong, people still love a pie in a bag, especially the tradies, but people are more educated about food and how it’s prepared and cooked these days, so they know what they can expect. And that’s great because it keeps you on your toes about what you’re putting out there.
SCV – So has your style of baking changed?
CRB – Yes, definitely. We were advised to have a set menu and not deviate from that but you can’t go into business without being open to being flexible. The days of the french stick and basic dinner roll have well and truly gone. We now have local caterers advising us of their menu for a function and asking us for suggestions as to what we can provide that will suit. Slider rolls for example have been very popular of late, particularly at events like Clare Gourmet. And back when i was baking before just about everything that came out of the oven was given a brush of vegetable oil. You can’t do that now. The need to diversify is really important now and we need to listen to our customers. Whether they are an individual consumer walking through the door for the first time or a caterer wanting 500+ units for a wedding, our ability to listen and be flexible is certainly going in our favour.
SCV – Do you have a favourite thing to bake, Harry?
CRB – Umm, oh gee. (Ponders) I guess it would have to be the Plugger Pie.
SCV – Why’s that?
CRB – Well, it ticks all the boxes for flavours and it’s the pie of pies for the “blokey bloke”. I reckon it’s great.
SCV – You’ve got me intrigued now, i might have to try one.
CRB – Yep, they’re great, you’d enjoy it. I also enjoy cooking with seasonal produce like the quandong or sour cherry. I’ve been approached by local growers with unique produce which is great, it gives me ideas for different things to try. The thing with seasonal produce is, you can try something new but because they aren’t on the menu all the time it’s not a huge burden to the workload.
SCV – We had some of your delicious hot cross buns at work, just how many did you make this year?
CRB – From the few weeks leading up to Easter and including Easter weekend, I made more than 400 dozen. It was absolutely crazy this year, to keep up the supply for demand was a big challenge.
SCV – Is it just you baking?
CRB – No, I have myself and a fulltime baker and an apprentice baker and we are supported by four staff managing shop front.
SCV – The wholesale side of things is really taking off. I mean, that’s the side of the business people don’t see but it’s grown a fair bit, hasn’t it?
CRB – Wholesale really is growing at a rapid rate. We supply to caterers for weddings & functions, and to restaurants and events like Blenheim & Clare Gourmet. We are now supplying 3 days a week to the Emporium Bakehouse at Riverton who are selling out before we get back there. That’s like operating a second bakery, the demand is that huge. We also supply the Brinkworth store and have a lot of people from further North like, Jamestown who come in on a regular basis. We’re at the point now where we have to make some careful decisions about keeping up the quality and supply for the demand but it’s an exciting time and we are loving it.
SCV – So you’re still enjoying it? Running your own business, I mean?
CRB – (Resounding) Yes!
SCV – Ok, one last question; When the (flour) dust has settled and years from now when you’re looking to retire, what would you want your legacy to be?
CRB – For Clare to always have a bakery that bakes on site and is fresh daily using local produce. That’s what I want for myself while it’s my business but also for many years to come for Clare and the Clare Valley region.
SCV – Good call. Thanks, ‘Harrys’. See you soon for a plugger pie 🙂
Clare Rise Bakery 1895 is located at 12 Main North Road, Clare, just South of the Clare township adjacent the caravan park. They are open 5&1/2 days a week during normal trading times can be contacted on 8842 1805 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
2011 Vintage might have been a bit suss but A P Birks always has it sussed! Great blog about one of our most notable wines from a fellow blogger.
Established in 1895, Wendouree is heralded in Australia, their wines avidly sought after and collected. With very old vineyards comprising shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, malbec, mataro and muscat of alexandria, the wines have incredible age-ability. Even the 100 year old stone winery remains the same since the day it was built.
I haven’t tried many young Wendourees. Actually, I haven’t tried many old Wendourees either.
With that in mind, I have to admit to deliberating picking this 2011 vintage to open. The decision was, quite honestly, because of the wines from this vintage (apparently) being a bit ‘sus’, not up to the normal standard. This was a very pleasant surprise package.
It is a lightish colour, lighter than I expected, but this is not an indication of what is to follow. Ripe raspberries and spicy cherries say hello immediately with youthful exuberance.
Tasting this wine, again I had certain expectations that were…
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Exciting news came across my desk today in the form of a message from one of my biggest supporters, Good Catholic Girl Wines.
The GCG has been a supporter of Spruiking #ClareValley since its inception. The cheering from the sidelines of all that i do to promote the place we both love has been so appreciated so it’s absolutely no effort on my part to reciprocate the love and share their news with my loyal followers. I feel truly blessed to have my work appreciated by someone who has a lifelong connection to the area when me, just a ‘blow in’, has decided she’d like to spruik it.
You may recall recently Clare Valley Brewing shifted house from the shop in Auburn to the Jeanneret Wines Cellar Door at 22 Jeanneret Road, Sevenhill? So the exciting news from that is, Good Catholic Girl Wines now has a new cellar door home base at the Sevenhill Hotel.
Now, i don’t need many reasons to visit Longy and his awesome team at Sevenhill Hotel but to know that i can go there and buy one of my favourite wines, well….game over!
You can find the entire range of the GCG label at the Sevenhill Hotel. Applause to Longy & Kate for their continued support of local producers. You do it so well.
Whether you’ve tried a GCG wine before or not, either way, having this amazing Clare Valley wine available at one of our most recently celebrated hotels is just the best news, and the timing is just perfect with Easter, A Day On The Green and then, Gourmet, coming up on our tourist calendar. If you are in the “have nots” of trying GCG, put it on your radar, you will not be disappointed with anything from this label.
Last week i mentioned taking the James Brazill (Jimmy) Shiraz to Adelaide with us for our little getaway. When i revisited the GCG website today i was reminded of why this wine is so very special. Not only does it taste amazing but, the back story to it and the way it’s written is just divine and takes you to another place and time. Hats off to the Head Girl, not only does she make a cracking good wine but, she can also write a darn good story!
To think i should end up living just around the corner from this beautiful vineyard is a message in disguise, i’m sure.
Thank you to the Good Catholic Girl’s Head Girl for allowing me in to her wine world and, to Lieutenant James Brazill, we salute you, may you forever rest in peace.
Good Catholic Girl wines can be ordered via
M: 0419 822 909
P.S. For those interested, the GCG has 2014 Riesling & Malbec available at a very respectable price. Contact her today for more details!
Yeee Haaaaa it’s the Clare Rodeo this Saturday March 5 starting at 5.30 (gates open at 2.30pm). Saddle up and gallop in early so you’re nice and comfy by the time the first one comes barrelling through the gates. See what i did there 😉
$20 Adults, $10 Under 18, Under 8 Free, $50 Family (2 adults 2 children)
Free camping available
Full bar and catering facilities
Jumping castle and fairy floss for the kids….young or old!
Dance the night away and sing a long with live Music by the #EthnicCowboys when all the dust has settled (after the rodeo has finished). Just don’t sing too much you don’t want to end up a little hoarse….
And then on Sunday from 10am – 2pm you can get your car washed by some very keen and willing Clare High year 9 students so they can raise money for their Ski Trip.
Coffee & food from and there’s a trading table available also.
It’s going to be hot this weekend so you definitely want someone else to wash your wheels while you chow down on an egg & bacon roll, right? Right? A perfect way to wash down the dust from rodeo the night before!
I reckon there’s going to be a lot of clean cars driving around Clare next week.
Have a good one. Toot, Toot!
After being tagged on Instagram earlier this week by someone who was enjoying a Kilikanoon Prodigal Grenache, i promised myself i’d open a bottle this week from the same winery.
It was a toss up between Killerman’s Run or the Covenant and tonight the 2012 Killerman’s Run won out. Probably because i still have one of those left…..
One of my favourite things is to see the gorgeous plum colours spill from the bottle to the glass and this Shiraz did not disappoint. Lush, deep, plum with a fragrance you’d expect from fruit of those colours.
The first taste of this wine is like liquid gold. I immediately get a sense of Alan Webster sitting back after a day of trapping rabbits & tending to his garden enjoying his most favourite beverage in total bliss because, that’s exactly the state i am in right now. Alan possessed great bush skills and his “kill em & eat em” catch cry soon earned him the nickname, Mr Killerman, by Mort Mitchell when the lads were a couple of young knock-abouts.
This wine is nothing short of rich, lush and, creamy and would be a great wine for those advancing their red wine journey from a Merlot to a Shiraz.
It’s a very easy drinking red and even though it would be perfect in winter with a slow cooked shank & mash, it goes very well during any season on any day of the week.
At $20 a bottle, this is a great value red to take to your next dinner party.
Here’s cheers to Alan Webster, Mort Mitchell and, rabbits!