While the annual Halliday Wine Companion Awards recognise the best of the best from across Australia's wine industry, our People's Choice Award honours the Best Winery Experience from around the country – as voted by thousands of wine lovers.
Our 2023 winner for the second consecutive year is Pikes Wines from South Australia's Clare Valley. After 5000 votes across almost 700 wineries, Pikes were nominated for its tasting room experience, expressive wines and standout service. A top 5-star Halliday-rated winery, Pikes score consistently in the exceptional or outstanding bracket for their Clare Valley riesling and shiraz wines.
The Pikes C1 Riesling Block – the source of The Merle reserve riesling.
Jamie Pike, second generation owner and sales and marketing director, says the win is a reflection of the Pikes team. "More than anything I’m just really proud of the whole team. It truly is a team win, as there are just so many elements that contribute to the overall experience when you visit Pikes. Wine critics and wine shows are very important for the industry and driving the continual pursuit of quality, but ultimately, it’s the wine drinking public who we're judged by – so this award is very meaningful."
The Pikes tasting room is located on the Polish Hill River Estate, between Sevenhill and Mintaro, in the Clare Valley. After outgrowing the previous cellar door of 20 years, Pikes opened the tasting room at the end of 2018.
Jamie says if you're visiting the winery, allow an hour to experience the wines. "We also have our hatted Slate Restaurant alongside tasting room. Stay for a lazy long lunch on the deck overlooking the vineyard. Pikes Beer Co. is also located onsite, so you can cleanse the palate with a freshly brewed pilsener. We have also started taking bookings for private tastings and lunches in our Pruner's Hut – there's so much to explore at Pikes."
Inside the Pikes tasting room.
Hosted by a member of the Pikes team, guests can book into a private wine tasting, at the unique Pruner's Hut hill-top location. The tasting will cover eight of the estate grown wines, and a cheeseboard including three chef-selected cheeses, house made lavosh, quince and honeycomb.
"Pikes was founded in 1984 by my parents, Andrew and Cathy Pike, and my uncle Neil Pike. There has always been a clear focus on the region’s hero varieties of riesling, shiraz and cabernet, but equally we haven't been afraid to try new things. Sangiovese was first planted in 1993, and we have numerous plantings of varieties like malbec, grenache, fiano, pinot grigio, tempranillo, and more recently nero d’Avola and montepulciano."
The Pruner's Hut tasting experience at Pikes.
Neil Pike retired as chief winemaker at the end of 2019, making way for senior winemaker Steve Baraglia to step into the role. In 2023 Steve will celebrate his 20th vintage at Pikes. "Steve has played a huge role in shaping our style of winemaking. Our approach to winemaking is influenced by the characteristics of the fruit from our Polish Hill River Estate with naturally high acids, vibrant fruit profiles, minerality and balance. We do our best in the winery to support and enhance those characters," Jamie says.
Jamie says the most exciting part about making wine in the Clare Valley is the authenticity. "It’s the first region outside Adelaide that’s not really a ‘day trip’, and as a result you tend to find more intimate cellar door experiences and warm, relaxed, country hospitality. And the diversity and quality wines of wines on offer is really impressive."
For more information visit pikeswines.com.au | 233 Polish Hill River Road, Polish Hill SA
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