Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sevenhill Cellar Door

As we walked along the Riesling trail, we decided to take a detour up to visit the Sevenhill Cellars.  A short path led us up a small hill through their vineyards, and at the crest we were surprised to find the majestic St. Aloysius Church nestled among the trellised vines.  The church, with its gothic architecture and stained glass windows, is very uncharacteristic of Australia.  We couldn't help but feel that we had somehow been transported to the vineyards of Southern France.

After a quick look around the Church (1875) and its crypt (only one below a parish church in Australia), we headed over to the Cellar door.  It turns out that Sevenhill Cellars is the oldest wineries in the Clare Valley, and it was established in 1851 by Jesuit Priests who had fled their home country to escape religious persecution.  The name Sevenhill was given to the area because of its resemblance to the Seven Hills of Rome.   The same year that they arrived, the Jesuit Priests planted vines, because they wanted a local supply for Sacramental Wine--at the time overseas sources were unreliable.  Today the Jesuit Manresa Society continues to produce Altar Wines, as well as Table and Fortified Wines.

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