About Skillogalee

The Skillogalee vineyards and winery are situated in the charming Sevenhill subregion, right in the heart of the South Australian Clare Valley wine region. Our journey began in 1970, and for over 50 years, we have been crafting award-winning wines from the fruit of our stunning vineyards
Our Story

The Skillogalee Journey

Nestled in the heart of a timeless landscape, our property is part of a rich history. The Ngadjuri and Kaurna people, as the Traditional Owners of these lands, have nurtured them for thousands of years, a legacy of stewardship we deeply respect. Since being settled by the Trestrail family in 1850 and named Trevarrick Farm, the property has undergone various agricultural evolutions, leading to its transformation into Skillogalee over fifty years ago. What once was a diverse patchwork of grazing, farm, and natural bush land has been reunified into a 170-hectare (420-acre) estate, with 55 hectares of vineyards. Cradled by rolling hills and vast stretches of pristine bushland brimming with native wildlife, this picturesque estate provides more than just a backdrop—it establishes a deep, living connection with these lands, a bond that is vividly reflected in every wine we craft.

Our meticulous cultivation of a diverse range of grape varieties, including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Muscat, underscores our commitment to the art of hand-crafted, boutique winemaking, ensuring each bottle uniquely captures the essence of our terroir. With a focus on sustainable practices and meticulous stewardship, our land ensures that every glass serves as a window to our world, offering a taste of the authentic character of our home. This dedication has not only earned us the admiration of our most important critics—our customers—but also results in consistent national and international acclaim for our wines.

In every facet—from the uninterrupted landscape of our single-estate vineyards, through our meticulous, hands-on vineyard management, to our commitment to sustainable farming—we are focused on the spirit of authenticity. Our unwavering dedication to producing wines of exceptional quality that truly reflect the distinctiveness of our terroir is paramount. As custodians of this remarkable place, we are honoured to present wines that are celebrated not only for their robust regional flavours but also for the genuine stories they tell of their origin.

The Unique Terroir Of

Our Vineyards

Our vineyards were established in the early 1970s at nearly 500 metres above sea level, making them some of the highest vineyards in South Australia at the time. The rows are strategically positioned on contour lines within shallow, stony dolomite soils, primarily on the steep eastern-facing slopes.

Our vines are hand-pruned, and the majority of the fruit is hand-picked. Despite extremely low yields, the vineyard produces intensely flavoured and aromatic wines, as well as deeply coloured reds. Kangaroos are frequent visitors, especially during the vintage season when the hills are dry and brown. They can often be found camping in the vineyards and feasting on the juicy fruit.

“The wine is made in the vineyard and it’s our goal to allow each variety to shine through and express the unique place they were grown with minimal winemaking intervention.”

The vineyards at Skillogalee Estate were established with a deep respect for traditional farming practices, with the majority of our plantings dating back to the 1970s. We selected grape varieties that are well-suited to our terroir, aiming for a yield of high-quality, concentrated fruit. Our approach to vineyard management emphasises sustainability and includes dry-grown farming to ensure the health and longevity of our vines.

Soil types across the Clare Valley are diverse, but Skillogalee Estate primarily features sandy loam over red and brown clay, with a foundation of dolomite rock. The mix of sand, silt, and clay varies considerably across the estate, creating unique soil conditions that contribute to the distinct character of our wines. These well-drained soils allow our vines to develop deep roots, accessing stored winter water. This results in less canopy and fruit, but with enhanced complexity and flavour.

Riesling is the most celebrated grape variety in the Clare Valley, recognised globally as the pinnacle of Australian Riesling. In addition to Riesling, the region is renowned for producing outstanding Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. At Skillogalee, we cultivate these classic Clare Valley varieties along with other traditional grapes such as Gewürztraminer, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Muscat, and some venerable old Grenache vines. Our diverse vineyard portfolio showcases the best of what the Clare Valley has to offer, presenting a wide array of flavours and wine styles.

Dry-grown, old vines, planted in 1970s
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Skillogalee in Autumn
Skillogalee in Winter
Our Home In

The Skilly Valley

Surrounded by serene, rolling hills lies the picturesque Skilly Valley, our cherished abode and the home to the Skillogalee estate. This enchanting region, rich in history predating European settlement, has become synonymous with the acclaimed Skillogalee name, and is affectionately known as the “Skilly Valley.”

The captivating natural beauty and distinctive terroir of the Skilly Valley offer an idyllic setting for our estate vineyards. Rolling hills, lush vineyards, and scenic landscapes converge to provide the perfect backdrop for our vines. Here, amidst natural splendour, our grapes thrive, enjoying the gentle warmth of the sun and the cool nights that grace the valley, leading to grapes of exceptional quality.

Defined by its cool, crisp climate, the Skilly Valley fosters an ideal environment for grape cultivation. The grapes grown here possess remarkable character and innate vibrancy, contributing to the distinct identity of Skillogalee wines. With a harmonious balance of sunshine, rainfall, and the influence of the surrounding hills, this region nurtures the grapes to develop their unique expressions, culminating in exceptional wines that have gained widespread acclaim.

The Region

The Clare Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, with over 160 years of winemaking history. It is located in the beautiful Mid North region of South Australia, approximately 140 km north of Adelaide. The area boasts a vibrant, diverse rural community, with rolling hills and natural vegetation that create stunning landscapes steeped in South Australia’s early history.

Although the Clare Valley produces less than 5% of Australia’s wine, it is renowned for premium wines of exceptional quality and consistency.

The Climate

The Clare Valley has a moderate continental climate, with an altitude ranging from 400 to 500 metres. The temperature is characterized by cool to cold nights and warm to hot summer days, resulting in large diurnal temperature ranges.

The altitude, combined with the climate, allows wine grapes to ripen evenly and slowly, without producing excessively high sugar levels or losing natural acidity. The region experiences rainfall mainly during winter and spring, with relatively dry summers that require only occasional rain events, reducing the need for frequent fungal sprays.

Sustainability And

The Environment

At Skillogalee, sustainability and environmental stewardship are the cornerstone of our philosophy. Twice honoured with the Primary Industries and Regions South Australia Regional Wine Award for Sustainability, our dedication to environmental well-being reflects our commitment to producing exceptional wines.

Early in our journey, we partnered with the EcoVineyards Program, initiating comprehensive measures to enhance biodiversity and sustainability. This involved planting thousands of native species to create habitats for native insects and bats, utilising native grasses as cover crops, and revitalising our land through the regeneration of native ecosystems and the removal of invasive species. These actions significantly contribute to the ecological balance and health of our vineyard.

Practising biodynamic and organic principles, we nurture our vineyards in harmony with nature, ensuring every aspect of our operation promotes a healthy and sustainable ecosystem. Our commitment includes dry-farming, recycling organic waste, and adopting minimal intervention in winemaking, all aimed at crafting wines that authentically express our fruit and terroir.

We are dedicated to not only preserving but actively improving the land for future generations. This commitment underpins our belief in leaving the land in a better state than when we found it, guiding every decision we make at Skillogalee.

Skillogalee in Spring
Boutique winery producing hand-crafted wines
Boutique Hand-Crafted

Winemaking

At Skillogalee, our winemaking philosophy is rooted in a harmonious blend of artisanal tradition and modern innovation. Operating on a boutique scale, our modern winery processes approximately 250 tonnes of grapes each vintage, enabling us to meticulously handcraft wines in small, carefully managed batches.

For our white wines, we embrace contemporary winemaking techniques designed to capture and enhance the intricate fruit aromas and flavours. This approach ensures that each bottle reflects the pure essence of its varietal character.

In crafting our red wines, we lean towards time-honoured methods, employing open fermenters and a traditional basket press. These techniques allow us to extract maximum flavour and colour, achieving a balance that avoids over-extraction, and preserves the integrity of the fruit.

Central to our winemaking is the principle of gentle fruit handling, complemented by stringent winery hygiene practices. This careful management permits us to minimise sulphur usage, safeguarding our wines from spoilage while maintaining their natural vibrancy and complexity. The result is a collection of truly exceptional wines, each expressing the unique terroir of Skillogalee with clarity and elegance.

The Heart of Skillogalee

Our People

At the core of everything we accomplish are our people—a diverse and skilled team dedicated to excellence across the estate.

From the nurturing hands in our vineyards to the artistic and innovative minds in our winery, to the friendly faces and creative talents in our restaurant and kitchen, the welcoming and knowledgable presence at our cellar door, and the diligent efforts of those ensuring our accommodation and grounds are impeccably maintained. Not to forget the invaluable people behind the scenes, working tirelessly in the office and beyond to weave the fabric of our daily operations.

Each team member plays a vital role. Together, we’re dedicated to crafting memorable stories and unforgettable experiences, not just for those guests who visit Skillogalee but also for every person who enjoys our wine, wherever they may be.

From left to right: Brendan Pudney (Vineyard & Production Manager), Kerri "KT" Thompson (Winemaker), Simon Clausen (Owner), Adrian Emeny (General Manager)