At the heart of Watervale, in the Clare Valley’s south, the home of Annie’s Lane is the heritage listed Quelltaler Estate dating back to 1863. Annie’s Lane Cellar Door is cast in solid timber and surrounded by beautiful on-site picnic grounds so visitors can spend a day enjoying the delightful range of Clare Valley wines and fine foods. The Annie’s Lane portfolio encompasses a versatile selection of wines with elegant fresh whites and generous fruit flavoured reds. Our staff are always ready to show you both current and past vintages and special editions exclusive to cellar door - so it's worth the visit! The cellar door itself is cast in solid timber with an inviting open fire for those crisp Clare Valley winter days. Staff are always ready to show you both current and past vintages and special editions exclusive to cellar door - so it's worth the visit!
Located in the Watervale area at the entrance of the Clare Valley about 135km north of Adelaide in South Australia.
- A delightful range of Clare Valley wines and fine foods.
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Returning to Australia, Alex decided in 1996 to pursue a course in Viticulture at University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus. During this time, Alex worked in the cellar at Tintara, McLaren Vale.
Completing the course in 2000, he returned to France to work a vintage at Maison M. Chapoutier, one of France’s most respected producers and a pioneer of the region. During this vintage, Alex was exposed to bio-dynamic and organic viticultural practices and the role they take in handling super-premium fruit, inspiring Alex to apply alternative and sustainable viticultural practices and minimal handling techniques in the vineyard, preferring instead to let nature take its course.
On return to Australia and under the guidance of many noted winemaking mentors, Alex completed the 2001 vintage in the Clare Valley. From 2002-04, while still working with Annie’s Lane, Alex worked vintages and completed trial work within the Coonawarra and Barossa wine regions. He also gained exposure to the wine show circuit as a wine show judge and via tastings with the Australian Wine Research Industry. During this period Alex also completed a Post Graduate in Wine Making at Waite Campus. These experiences provided Alex with an exceptional insight into regional wine styles plus a broader scope into various winemaking and viticultural techniques.
Eager to explore and employ new styles during his winemaking career with Annie’s Lane, Alex has spent vintages in Piedmont & Chianti. Today, Alex is keen to bring new ideas to the Annie’s Lane portfolio and is particularly interested in exploring Italian and Spanish varietals.
Alex remains heavily involved in all facets of the vineyard and its influence on winemaking styles. Working with different varieties, climates and subregions of the Clare Valley ensure Alex is extremely enthusiastic about the quality of Clare Valley wines.
Alex now lives on the coast of South Australia with his wife, his son Pascal, and his antique 1948 Italian coffee machine. In addition to his passion for wine Alex is a keen lover of photography and jazz. He also has a fond interest in food and wine integration, establishing the ‘Taste (sans frontieres)’, which involves a series of wine discussions with local winemakers.
The green oasis-like quality of the valley impressed and attracted the early pioneers who came from England, Ireland and Poland; the first agricultural ventures were wheat growing and sheep - the Hawker family settled at "Bungaree" in 1839 and their direct descendants still live and farm there today.
As the Burra mines developed and wheat farming spread north, Clare grew as a hub and service centre for the region. Wine or beer included in the scale of wages for agricultural workers in the district from an early date. This need for "harvest wine" was a stimulus for winemaking in the region.
Waves of settlers drawn to the area included an influx of Irish Catholics who gave the region "Armagh"; Polish immigrants settled in the valley at the head of Hill River which then became Polish Hill River and German Catholics founded the Sevenhill College and Winery.
By 1860 land use around Clare was changing from wheat growing to vineyards and orchard and within a couple of years the landscape was dotted with vines. Many of these table/drying varieties but wine grapes also began to take hold.
As well as the producers of harvest wine, the Jesuit priests at Sevenhill were amongst the pioneering winemakers in the district. At first they made only sacramental wines but as early as 1858 some of the wines they fermented and stored in casks and vats made from Mintaro slate may have been sold. Their proud heritage continues to this day. Wendouree winery, which was founded as a hobby in 1895, also survives in almost traditional form.
Today the Valley is home to numerous wineries, most of which are small and produce only bottled wine. It continues to be a premium wine region and tourist destination with a reputation for beautiful vistas and excellent wines.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
The Clare Valley poses a mystery in terms of viticulture; it has the ability to produce full-bodied red wines but can equally produce floral Rieslings that are surprisingly delicate and elegant. The Annie's Lane Rosé is a perfect example of the two styles combining together in a perfect union; produced from the full flavoured Shiraz varietal, the Rosé still maintains a light, feminine character.
140km from Adelaide, the Clare Valley forms part of the northern Mount Lofty Ranges. The soils are quite variable ranging from red and yellow podsolic soils found on the hillsides, to red brown soils on the valley floors which possess good water-holding capacity. There are also areas of deep black soil in which merlots are said to thrive. Subsoils also vary from clay through limestone to slate and shale type rock.
High altitude, southerly latitude and varying topographies mean that the climate of the Clare Valley is actually hard to define as it can be fairly paradoxical. Some areas of the Clare Valley show signs of being warm viticultural areas whilst others suggest that it is a cooler region. Quelltaler Winery sways towards the cooler end of the spectrum as highlighted by its ability to produce fine red wines and Rieslings.
The Clare Valley is an area of South Australia that is rich in heritage and culture. From the national parks, the old mining sites, the plentiful vineyards to the little art galleries that adorn region, there is something for all. As well as the events taking place at Annie' Lane, there are a number of regional events taking place throughout the year to give you all the more reason to come to the Clare Valley for a taste of Clare culture.
Fruit for the Annie's Lane Quelltaler wines is sourced from Watervale, a unique area within the Clare Valley. Selecting distinctive vineyard parcels and utilising traditional winemaking techniques has created a range of wines that are fine, elegant, and flavoursome.
Soils of the Clare Valley range from classic terra rossa red topsoil over limestone in the Watervale district to the broken slate of Polish Hill River. Typically the soils from most areas of the valley are free-draining and hold enough water to only require the smallest quantities of supplementary irrigation during the hottest months.
The weather data for the region points to a far warmer climate than is the case - cool afternoon breezes are the key and play a major role in slowing down the ripening process. Furthermore, altitude and position within the Valley, as well as aspect, lead to considerable variations in individual site climate. Overall, however, the climate is moderately Continental, with cool to cold nights and warm to hot summer days. The rainfall is winter-spring dominant, while relatively low humidity (and summer rainfall) means a low incidence of fungal disease.