Celebrating a decade this year is Kerri Thompson’s acclaimed boutique label Wines by KT, which champions the terroir of Watervale with the label’s single-site drops.
Though Clare Valley hasn’t the hype of some other regions in this state, Kerri Thompson believes the valley’s wine scene continues to evolve with “greater diversity of people and producers, alternative varieties as well as wine styles of different shapes and sizes”. “Certainly what is of importance for the Clare Valley is the consistent high level of quality that we have enjoyed over this 10-year period,” she says. For the upcoming Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend, Wines by KT will collaborate with eatery Terroir Auburn for an event – which will be held at Watervale Bowls Club on Saturday, May 14 – that will be a true celebration of contemporary “Clare Valley gourmet”. “[It will highlight] great seasonal produce from the district, shared with a glass of my single vineyard wines from the region and served by the locals that made it all. “[It will be a] fun, relaxed day for all of the family to enjoy,” she says of their event at Watervale Bowls Club that will include lawn games and a quiz. “Partnering with the Moss brothers from [Terroir Auburn] has been super exciting. Dan [Moss] was a finalist recently for the 2015 Young Restaurateur of the Year in the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence program and to have a chef of his calibre in the district is such a great thing for the Clare Valley food and wine scene. Of course, I wanted to be a part of that; his food is a great complement to my wines.” It wasn’t just a love of Riesling that saw Thompson move from Sydney to the Clare Valley in the late 90s to work at Leasingham Wines before establishing Wines by KT in 2006. “I have extended family in the Clare Valley district and spent plenty of time in the area with my grandparents when growing up, so the attraction to the Clare Valley was more than just a love of Riesling. The landscape is something that sweeps me away. The way the light falls on the hills. And the smell of autumn in the Clare Valley should be bottled. The place is full of character and characters.” Thompson lives and works in Watervale, which is just 15km south of Clare. The vineyards she uses for her wines are located there as well. She says the wines from Watervale have a “punchy vitality” and she loves their balance of “finesse and concentration”. “There is a real tension in the wines from this part of the world which excites me,” she says. “The rolling hills are a beautiful landscape and my two favourite vineyards – Peglidis and Churinga – have great dirt full of limestone and slate respectively.” Wines by KT celebrates 10 years this year with the release of their 2016 Rieslings in September as well as a series of anniversary tastings in Clare, Adelaide and across the country. Thompson believes that the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend, which runs from Friday, May 13 to Monday, May 16, is “part of the cultural history of this region”. “[It] was the first event of its kind, championed at the time by Jane Mitchell of Mitchell Wines. Wines by KT is proud to be a member and part of this landscape, and [we are] using it as an opportunity to showcase my wine partnered with great food, and shared with family and friends.” Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend Friday, May 13 to Monday, May 16 clarevalley.com.au winesbykt.com terroirauburn.com.au