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Pikes

The Pike family have a long history in the drinks business: first selling their beer in 1986, followed by cordials and soft drinks in 1940, then in 1985 they began wine production. It all started in 1878 when Henry Pike emigrated to South Australia with his family from the English county of Dorset. They settled in the Adelaide Hills and Henry, a carpenter by trade, found work. But he had a passion for brewing, a skill taught to him by his mother, and he began to produce beers and ales which quickly made a name for himself. As well as being his surname, Henry had loved catching the Pike fish back home in Dorset; so he adopted this as his logo, and it still remains on all their bottle labels today, instantly recognisable. Pikes Dorset Brewery flourished under a succession of Henry's descendants until the 1940's, when the outbreak of WWII and a calamitous yeast infection in the brewery ended brewing operations. Pikes diversified into soft drinks, and managed the chain of hotels they had built up in the Adelaide area. At this time Henry's grandson Edgar Walter Pike was seeking a future in the family business. Due to the economic climate there was no opening, so he became a farm manager instead, ultimately managing large corporate vineyards and his own vineyards which he had acquired. By the mid-1960's the hotel business had deteriorated to such a state that operations ceased, and all remaining assets were sold off in 1971. But Edgar's wine business had flourished and his sons followed in their father's footsteps with Andrew in charge of the vineyards and management, and Neil wine production and marketing. In 1984 the family acquired 27 hectares in the Polish Hill subregion of the Clare Valley, and the following year Pikes Wines “ Polish Hill River Estate” was established with the production of their first Polish Hill River Riesling. Initially wine production was outsourced to local wineries, but in 1988 the dream of having their own fully operational winery started to be realised with the building of the first stage of Pikes Winery, and was gradually upgraded to allow for all stages of wine production to be produced under one roof. In 1996 they came full circle with the re-establishment of Pikes Beer. Today Pike's have 100 hectares under vine farmed sustainably, and cultivate 20 different grape varieties. They also buy some fruit from a few small Clare Valley growers with whom they have been working for over 20 years, allowing for more blending options which adds to the complexity of their wines. Pikes are known for their Riesling but they also craft superb Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, and are developing alternative varieties with Savagnin, Albariño, Nero d'Avola, Montepulciano and Tempranillo also under vine. The estate is planted at 450 metres above sea level on soils of red brown clay loam with predominately slate subsoil. The Polish Hill region is the only part of the Clare Valley to have uniformly slate subsoil, and it is this that contributes to the minerality of Pike's wines. Polish Hill has a unique geographic feature - it is surrounded by hills on three sides, forming a bowl which traps the cool night air, keeping the daytime temperatures slightly lower and helps to create the structure, elegance and varietal definition for which Pikes wines are renowned.

pikeswines.com.au