By Gabrielle Hall
There’s a new kid in town for the 33rd Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend (May 19-22). Set in a quaint little cottage that has seen many lives, Velvet & Willow Wines brings with it a beautiful blend of old and new.
From a fruit and vegetable store to a bakery to a lolly shop, the little heritage 1850s building on Auburn’s main street is bursting with history, enhanced by its new custodians the Miller family who have put their mark on it as a cellar door and pantry.
Maintaining its old-world charm and transforming an overgrown adjoining yard into an 1850s-style heritage garden, the little cottage today is a place to visit and taste the local fare at the gateway to the Clare Valley. The venue is also available to hire for outdoor functions.
Relative newcomers to the Clare Valley, Velvet & Willow set up shop in 2015. The day-to-day operations are kept on track by Hamish Miller, whose father Andrew – a Darwin-based obstetrician/gynaecologist – had been operating a vineyard in nearby Leasingham since the late ‘90s.
The offering includes riesling, shiraz, cabernet, grenache shiraz from the Clare Valley, chardonnay sourced from the Adelaide Hills, white Frontignac grapes from McLaren Vale, and a soon-to-be-released sparkling pinot chardonnay from Tasmanian grown grapes.
Velvet & Willow’s pantry features produce from around the region. Hamish, who relocated from Melbourne before making the move to the Clare Valley, prides himself on offering great coffee.
Auburn is thriving with new ventures – with new publicans, a new pharmacy and art gallery to name a few – and has a real buzz about it that Hamish found made it an ideal location for a new cellar door.
“Being right in the centre of Auburn it was the perfect site for functions and events,” he says. “It’s definitely a great hub. It’s either the first stop or the last stop to the Clare Valley, and we’re excited for the opportunity that our first Gourmet Weekend will bring for us.”
Velvet & Willow’s new garden will come alive for Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend. “It will be good beats and pizza, and fine wine,” Hamish says. Locals Ash Catering will serve wood-fired pizzas on Saturday and Sunday with coffee will available in the morning, plus an old-school vinyl DJ to add to the atmosphere.
Velvet & Willow joins more than 35 other wineries and three breweries throughout the Clare Valley for the 33rd Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend. Organise a designated driver, grab a wrist band from the tourism centre for special offers, or book a spot on a shuttle bus. You can check out the full program here – if you need help deciding, take a look at our top 5 picks.
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