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Skillogalee

A Cornish miner called John Trestrail originally settled the farm and called it Trevarrick in the mid 1800's, and the property remained in the Trestrail family until the early 1900's. Through the 1950's and 60's it became a grazing property until it was acquired by Spencer and Margaret George in 1969. It was the George's who established it as a small family vineyard in the heart of the Sevenhill subregion of South Australia's Clare Valley. They planted vines on shallow stony dolomite soils, at almost 500 metres above sea level - one of the highest vineyards in South Australia at the time. Their first vintage in 1976 gained rapid acclaim and their 1978 Dry Riesling won major trophies at the Adelaide Wine Show, promptly putting Skillogalee on the Australian wine map. Recognising its potential to produce world class wines, Skillogalee was bought by current owners David and Diana Palmer from the George family in 1989. And so we come to the unusual name of the estate; in the early 1940's the pioneer explorer John Horrocks settled a town in the Clare Valley which he called Pentwortham after his home in Lancashire back in England, and from there pushed north to explore the Flinders ranges, looking for land that was suitable to settle. But his party was hindered by illness and bad weather. The beleaguered band ran short of provisions, and only survived by making a “skillogalee” or “skilly”, a kind of thin gruel, most probably made from grass seeds and water. The word is originally of Celtic origin: it was a dish often served to prisoners in Ireland at this time, and when Horrocks eventually made it back to Pentwortham, he gave the nearby creek the name of Skillogalee in memory of the trip. The vineyard takes its name from this creek which runs through its eastern lower end. Today, having purchased the neighbouring Waninga Vineyard with 30-year-old vines in 2002, over 125 acres are under vine cultivating a range of grapes, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Sustainability is a top priority for the Palmers, and they have twice been awarded the winner of the Primary Industries and Regions of South Australia Regional Wine Award for Sustainability. The vineyard is primarily dry-grown and they recycle all their organic waste. Yields are kept extremely low; the grapes are mainly hand-picked and they take a minimalist approach in the cellar, handcrafting wines in small batches. They use modern winemaking techniques to vinify their white wines to preserve the fruit aromas and flavours, and traditional open fermenters and basket presses for the red wines to maximise flavour and colour without over-extraction. Skillogalee is recognised as one of the Clare Valley's top estates. This boutique winery meticulously craft generous award-winning full-bodied wines with intense aromas and flavours and an exceptional expression of place.

www.skillogalee.com.au